“Bishop Olson denied Mother Superior’s right to independent canonical (Church law) representation with three different canon lawyers (advocates) and one procurator,” Bobo said in a statement. “Mother Superior rejects any and all representation by her current canon lawyer, appointed by the bishop without her consent, who is not independent nor representing her canonical or natural law rights.”
Bobo told CNA that the bishop-appointed canon lawyer, Michael J. Podhajsky, is already filing documents on behalf of Gerlach, despite her protest. Bobo said the canon lawyer does not represent the nun and does not have the authority to represent the nun.
“He has never had a conversation with my clients,” Bobo said. “He’s never talked to them.”
Bobo added that the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity is challenging the bishop’s rejection of Gerlach’s canon lawyer requests and “filed certain documents with the Vatican to address the actions of the bishop.”
A spokesperson for the diocese declined to comment on the matter.
Podhajsky, who was appointed by the bishop, told CNA that he is aware that Gerlach did not agree with him being appointed to represent her. He said he has tried to work with Gerlach, but it is up to her whether she wants to work with him.
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