October 04, 2005

Superior bishop notes shock, shame and sadness in Hudson priest case

Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press

Acknowledging the shame Monday's court ruling brings upon the church, the Roman Catholic bishop of Superior, Wis., nonetheless insisted he had believed statements by the Rev. Ryan Erickson that the priest was not responsible for the murders of two men in Hudson three years ago.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Bishop Raphael Fliss said he was "shocked and greatly saddened" by Monday's court finding of overwhelming evidence that Erickson killed the men in a Hudson funeral home.

"As bishop,'' said Fliss, who oversaw the three parishes where Erickson served, "I recognize and acknowledge the shame this decision brings upon the church. In the name of the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Superior, I express the embarrassment and sadness that all of us rightly feel.''

But Fliss said he had no reason to doubt a statement made by Erickson two days before the priest committed suicide last December, in which Erickson reportedly said, "I have peace of mind because I know I had nothing to do with those murders in Hudson. God knows I'm telling the truth.''

Posted by kshaw at October 4, 2005 04:53 PM