(KMSP) - The Pope has granted a former high ranking official with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to leave the priesthood.
In 2014, Peter Laird, the former vicar general at the Archdiocese, petitioned to the Vatican for a "request for laicization," according to a statement from Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda. The Pope recently granted Laird's request, which means he will no longer be able to return to public ministry.
Laird worked alongside Archbishop John Nienstedt, who resigned in 2015 amidst criminal charges against the Archdiocese for failing to protect children against sexual abuse.
Laird resigned from his position with the Archdiocese and stepped away from priestly ministry in 2013.
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda's full statement:
"In January of 2014, before I arrived in the Archdiocese, Rev. Peter Laird petitioned Pope Francis for a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, commonly referred to as a “request for laicization.” I have recently been informed that the Holy Father has granted Peter’s request, dispensing him from all the obligations of the clerical state, including that of clerical celibacy. That means that Peter, who had withdrawn from public priestly ministry in 2013, will live as a lay person and will not be able to return to ordinary public ministry without permission of the Holy Father. I am frequently reminded that Peter served this Archdiocese generously from the date of his ordination, May 31, 1997, until his withdrawal from ministry, including as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. While his priestly ministry will be missed by many, I am hopeful that Pope Francis’ decision will allow Peter to serve out his baptismal calling in new ways."