Editor’s note: The following is a letter personally addressed to each of the 2,300 registered households of Holy Trinity Parish, Webster County, dated Nov. 10, 2018.
I want to send a personal letter of apology for the way that we handled the placement of Jerry Coyle, a priest whose faculties to be involved in any priestly ministry were removed in 1986, at Marian Home in Fort Dodge. Hopefully, you have seen the messages that have been sent out regarding this.
First, I want to say very clearly, I am sorry. We should have handled this better than we did. I have received many phone calls and messages expressing outrage and disappointment regarding how we handled this. I should have made sure that the Holy Trinity Parish community and the St. Edmond’s School community knew Jerry Coyle’s past history. You are right to challenge me as to why I did not reveal the background regarding his past inappropriate sexual behavior.
Secondly, I could have, and should have, been more open at the listening session that was held at Corpus Christi Center on the night of Oct. 30. Again, I’m sorry. Your trust and confidence in me and my staff are clearly shaken.
There are some explanations that I could offer, but I know that none of them are acceptable or adequate. I fully realize that what you want and deserve is reform, not words. I promise this reform. We have learned from our mistakes. I am sorry for the pain, the lack of trust and the anger that you feel.
I beg you not to lose faith in our beloved Catholic Church and in the many good priests and deacons who minister to you every day, especially at Holy Trinity Parish.
I hope that you find in your heart a willingness to pray for me, my fellow Bishops and the Holy Father as we continue to deal with this sexual abuse crisis in the Church.
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City