Statement Regarding Peter Laird

From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda

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 That means that Peter, who had withdrawn from public priestly ministry in 2013, will live as a lay person and will not be able to return to ordinary public ministry without permission of the Holy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.