From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis:
I am sorry that you caught me at a moment when I am tied up with a gathering of all my priests. I offer the following as some background that might be helpful to you.
This instance highlights the challenges of receiving an anonymous letter. There’s no opportunity to engage in the type of dialogue that could lead to a better appreciation of the facts and a deeper understanding of the situation in question. One wishes, for example, that Bishop Swain would have had an opportunity to explain to the author the process followed in his diocese when he receives complaints about a priest, deacon or employee. That is not possible with an anonymous complaint.
Likewise, I would have loved to have been able to explain to the writer that the Church isn’t organized like a corporation in which there’s a chain of command back to Headquarters. The eight bishops in the province of Saint Paul and Minneapolis don’t answer to the Archbishop. He’s supposed to be “vigilant” but doesn’t ordinarily have the power to intervene directly in another diocese. Had the letter been signed, I would have been happy to explain this, and would have suggested that the matter be taken up directly with Bishop Swain and his staff.