Pope Francis has removed Bishop Martin Holley of Memphis, Tennessee in the United States, following an Apostolic Visitation in June, and has appointed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville and former leader of US bishops, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. The removal of Bishop Holley by the Pontiff follow’s Holley’s refusal to resign earlier following a diocesan investigation led by Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, canon lawyer, and Archbishop Wilton Gregory, expert liturgist.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke commented on the Pope’s removal of the bishop to press present in the Holy See Press Office: “That an apostolic visit was initiated is well known,” he said, noting “administrative reasons” were at play.
Here is the Vatican-provided text regarding the announcement of the removal:
The Holy Father Francis has removed from the pastoral care of the diocese of Memphis, United States of America, H.E. Msgr. Martin D. Holley, and has appointed as apostolic administrator “sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of the same diocese H.E. Msgr. Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville.
In a statement, found on the Archdiocese of Memphis website, Archbishop Kurtz said:
I humbly accept the appointment of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to serve as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Memphis, while remaining Archbishop of Louisville.
I am eager to work with the priests, curia, and faithful of the Diocese of Memphis to promote stability, peace, and healing until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop. I have admired the Church in Memphis for many years, particularly from my time as Bishop of Knoxville.
I ask for prayers for Bishop Martin Holley as he departs from this local church and for the entire Church of Memphis. Let us pray for one another during this time of transition.
The appointment is effective immediately.