MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Archdiocese of Mobile released a statement on Friday afternoon in response to a change.org petition to remove Archbishop Thomas Rodi, the Rev. Bry Shields and McGill-Toolen Catholic High School Principal Michelle Haas from their posts.
The Catholic Warrior Initiative, a group of frustrated Catholics, listed these allegations among its concerns:
- Dismissal of sex abuse claims without proper investigation
- Reluctance or refusal to believe victims
- Lack of action to address and rectify the reported issues
Just a week ago, the petition had reached 1,000 signatures. As of Friday, the petition stands at more than 14,000 signatures after being posted Sept. 24.
Although the group aimed to rally the Mobile community, the Archdiocese now questions supporters’ locality.
“As stated on its own website, change.org is an ‘open platform’ that ‘represents the many opinions of millions of people,’ that may be national or global in scope,” a news release states. “In other words, reaction to a ‘local’ petition is not necessarily restricted to local response and is quite likely to elicit response from those nationally, and even globally, that may have other unrelated grievances.”
Rodi responded to criticism last week in a video statement where he discussed the ongoing Alex Crow case and his zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.
The statement released Friday echoed these sentiments.
“Under the leadership of Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi since 2008, school and parish officials have responded to every complaint of misconduct with the full force of the office within — and with respect for — canon and civil laws,” the statement reads, in part.
“Archbishop Rodi has said before, and reiterates again, that when he came to Mobile 15 years ago, he could not guarantee there would be no cases of sexual misconduct, but he did guarantee that it would not be tolerated.”