Diocese of Knoxville
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral
|Area||14,242 sq mi (36,890 km2)|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2011)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||May 27, 1988 (32 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus|
|Bishop||Richard Stika Bishop of Knoxville|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Joseph Edward Kurtz Archbishop of Louisville|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville (Latin: Dioecesis Knoxvillensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in Tennessee. It was founded on May 27, 1988 from the eastern counties of the Diocese of Nashville. This diocese covers most of East Tennessee; in addition to the see city of Knoxville, it includes Chattanooga and Johnson City. The Mother Church is the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, located on Northshore Drive in Knoxville. The two oldest churches are Saints Peter and Paul Basilica Parish of Chattanooga and Church of the Immaculate Conception Parish of Knoxville, both founded in 1852.
As of 2007, there were an estimated 52,000 Catholics within the diocese, which covers approximately 14,000 square miles (36,000 km2). The percentage of Catholic adherents within the diocese's borders constitutes the lowest among American dioceses.
With a population of 60,000 Catholics, the diocese makes up about two percent of East Tennessee's total population. The diocese is currently home to 47 parishes and four missions. These parishes are served by 54 diocesan priests, 16 religious priests, 8 extern priests, 24 deacons, 10 brothers, and 33 sisters. Eleven Religious Institutes are represented in the diocese.
Perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is available at many of the parishes and Masses are celebrated in a wide array of languages. This is chosen so that the spiritual needs of all parishioners are met. These languages include English, Spanish, Vietnamese, American Sign Language, Polish, and Latin.
With the influx of large numbers of Hispanic Catholics looking for work, the diocese faces many new challenges. If the estimates are correct and there are about 50,000 new Hispanic immigrants in the area, their number nearly doubles the area's current official Catholic population. The clergy and laity of the diocese are working to welcome these new neighbors.
While the Catholic Church has been a part of life in East Tennessee for over 166 years, the Diocese of Knoxville was founded in 1988. Before the creation, the area was part of the Diocese of Nashville.
Sexual abuse cases
On January 1, 2020, the Diocese settled a sex abuse lawsuit involving a man who claimed two priests in the Diocese sexually abused him as a child in the 1990s. Those accused were Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel and the Diocese of Knoxville's first Bishop Anthony O'Connell; O'Connell previously confessed in 2002 to committing acts of sex abuse before he joined the Diocese of Knoxville as well. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Originally filed in the Knox County Circuit Court, both parties involved in the lawsuit agreed to instead settle the lawsuit out of court. Despite denying any wrongdoing concerning the two accused priests, who are both dead, the Diocese agreed to settle due to the financial burden which would have grown by continuing the lawsuit.
Coat of Arms
Bishops of Knoxville
The following is a list of bishops along with their dates of service:
- Anthony Joseph O'Connell (1988–1998), appointed Bishop of Palm Beach
- Joseph Edward Kurtz (1999–2007), appointed Archbishop of Louisville
- Richard Stika (2009–present)
Other priest of this diocese who became bishop
- James Vann Johnston, Jr. appointed Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and later Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph
- Catholic Church by country
- Catholic Church hierarchy
- List of the Catholic dioceses of the United States
- "Diocese of Knoxville". DioceseofKnoxville.org. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- "USA, Statistics by Diocese, by Percentage Catholic [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org.
- "Diocese of Knoxville History". DioceseofKnoxville.org. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- "Diocese of Knoxville History". DioceseofKnoxville.org. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "Diocese of Knoxville History 1987-1999". DioceseofKnoxville.org. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonsa; Schecter, Anna (15 April 2008). "Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops". ABC News. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Bishop Stika issues directives for resumption of public Masses". Diocese of Knoxville. 2020-05-06. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville Official Site
- The East Tennessee Catholic Online
- Archdiocese of Louisville