Pope Francis has gathered Catholic church leaders in Rome for a three-day conference on sexual misconduct in the church, particularly involving children. The summit is aimed at what one church historian has called the biggest challenge to the church since the Protestant Reformation.
The issue of sexual abuse of children by clergy is not new in Minnesota. An investigation by MPR News into the moving of credibly accused priests, among other allegations, was followed by the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt in 2015. Last June, the archdiocese agreed to a $210 million settlement with abuse victims.
The Twin Cities archdiocese has instituted a long list of changes since the scandal fully broke into the public eye in 2012, with charges against St. Paul priest Curtis Wehmeyer. Church officials brought in the former superintendent of the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Tim O'Malley, to lead the Office of Ministerial Standards and appointed a new archbishop, Hebda. He has led the archdiocese through criminal charges and a bankruptcy, and held listening sessions with laypeople. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office also required the archdiocese to change protocols for reporting and response to allegations of sexual abuse.
Reporter Tim Nelson spoke with Hebda Thursday. Click the audio players above for a five-minute excerpt of the conversation, which aired on MPR News' All Things Considered, and the full 15-minute interview, recorded Thursday at the archdiocese offices on St. Paul's east side.
Correction (Feb. 22, 2019): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated when Tim O'Malley when to work for the archdiocese.