Several hundred people have signed an online petition that calls for a papal investigation into the behavior of Bishop Michael Olson of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.
The petition accuses Bishop Olson of violating Canon Law, describes his actions as “abusive,” “divisive” and “vindictive,” and cites multiple examples where petitioners believe the Bishop has overstepped his bounds.
“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a bishop is meant to lead by example and ‘not as domineering over those in your charge…’ the petition notes.
Among the specific examples cited in the petition include 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.
“The Catholic faithful are hereby requesting an apostolic visitation and full investigation into Bishop Olson's actions and behaviors and plead that he be held fully accountable for what we believe to be the misuse of his ordained office,” the petition notes.
In response to the petition, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth released a statement late Thursday:
Since he was appointed as the Bishop of Fort Worth five years ago by Pope Francis, Bishop Michael F. Olson has faithfully executed the duties of the Bishop as set out by the Holy See in Rome and in accord with Canon and civil law. From time to time, Bishop Olson has made decisions after appropriate consultation during his tenure that have upset some people and that have been directed for the care and protection of the vulnerable. Bishop Olson understands this reality and respects those who do not always agree with him. Bishop Olson will continue to provide the spiritual leadership and guidance to the people of The Diocese of Fort Worth for which he was ordained to do and for which he was assigned to do by Pope Francis.