Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth is responding to allegations made in an online petition that calls for a papal investigation into his behavior and accuses him of overstepping his boundaries.
In a video published on YouTube, Olson said it's all but impossible to please everyone in a diocese with such a large population, and it's inevitable that his decisions may not be fully understood.
Olson's address comes as an online petition describes his actions as being "abusive," "divisive" and "vindictive," and cites multiple examples where petitioners believe the Bishop has overstepped his bounds. The petition has more than 1,300 signatures as of this writing.
"This group has undertaken a destructive social media and political campaign in an attempt to discredit and disrupt my ministry and leadership as your bishop," Olson wrote in a letter addressing specific examples outlined in the petition, which included the closing San Mateo Catholic Church in Fort Worth and the removal of priests from Holy Family Catholic Church in Fort Worth and St. Martin de Porres parish in Prosper.
Olson said some parishioners had questioned the removal of a Fort Worth priest who Olson says had been accused of grabbing a man's genitals at a park. Olsen said proper procedures were followed and found it "concerning" that some would call for the return of the accused priest to his ministry.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Olson also defended what some online posts called a "heavy-handed" management style that tolerates no dissension. Olson told the newspaper that he's not a dictator and those allegations are "unfair."
Olson's full letter will appear below, or click here to open it in a new page.