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Archbishop Hebda on gratitude, bankruptcy and restoring trust

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Archbishop Bernard Hebda was greeted by faithful at the conclusion of a Mass of Installation at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, May 13, 2016.
Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune via AP File

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in 2017 while continuing to rebuild trust with Catholics dismayed by the priest sex abuse scandal.

In an interview with MPR News host Tom Weber, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said the work to gain trust will never truly end. However, he was pleased with recent statements from the judge in the case and the Ramsey County Attorney's office that the archdiocese is making progress.

Last weekend, Hebda delivered his first Christmas Mass since becoming the archbishop for the Twin Cities. 

He spent a year as a temporary administrator, which many, including Hebda, assumed would last a short time. Then Pope Francis surprised everyone by assigning Hebda to the Twin Cities Archdiocese permanently. 

His Mass of Instillation was on May 13, 2015. Then in July Hebda gave a formal apology and admitted wrongdoing in the case of  Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest accused of molesting three boys. 

That apology ended the criminal charges against the archdiocese. They settled civil charges a few months prior. They also set up a child-protection system.

Leading up to Christmas, the archdiocese was in court on another pressing matter — its bankruptcy. The settlement of which will result in payments to hundreds of survivors of child sexual abuse by priests. 

Hebda is constantly at work regarding the bankruptcy and rebuilding trust in the community, but he told Tom he went into this season thinking mainly about gratitude.

 To hear the full interview with Archbishop Bernard Hebda use the audio player above.