Apropos of the Commonweal Magazine article on sexual formation at Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Saint Paul, it should be noted that the formation program at the Saint Paul Seminary (also in Saint Paul) has also been called into question at least in part because of the ongoing legal troubles of Reverend Xiu Hui 'Joseph' Jiang.

Father Jiang attended the Saint Paul Seminary prior to his 2010 ordination as a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. During his seminary formation Jiang (a native of Hong Kong) was under the sponsorship of (Arch)bishop Robert Carlson, first as Bishop of Saginaw and then as Archbishop of Saint Louis, an unusual relationship that raised concern at the seminary at the time. While a student Father Jiang completed parish internships in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis including, if I remember correctly, at Saint John the Baptist Church and School in New Brighton.

Father Jiang's legal troubles began very shortly after his ordination. Within three years he was charged with child endangerment and witness tampering in connection with inappropriate contact with a teenage girl. The criminal charges in that matter were dismissed when prosecutors could not establish that Father Jiang had been alone with the girl, but the civil case continues. Then, in May of 2014, Father Jiang was indicted by a Missouri grand jury and charged with sexual contact with a minor male under the age of 14. The sexual contact is alleged to have occurred in 2011-2012 at the parish school where Father Jiang was assigned.

The criminal and civil cases are still pending, so there has been no determination of guilt and it may prove that Father Jiang is not guilty of the charges. Father Jiang has been on leave since the first accusations were made. He has many supporters who avow his innocence, including Archbishop Carlson and a group called 'Friends of Father Joseph Jiang'. However, the circumstances surrounding the accusations raise questions about the formation provided to Father Jiang during his time at SPS, especially regarding establishing and maintaining proper boundaries.



 


Comments

Bill deHaas
02/24/2015 12:01pm

Keep in mind that it is very possible that the staff and formation deans at the seminary did raise these issues; may have even red flagged this as an issue but then Carlson went right ahead and ordained him despite any recommendations or lack of recommendations. Happens all the time. And keep in mind that this guy has been living with Carlson in STL - not at this assignments.

Nathan Tucker
02/25/2015 2:15pm

I attended seminary with Joseph Jiang. I truly hope he is innocent, and I will be praying for the truth to come out and for justice to be done.

However, I have to bring up the fact that Joseph was an absolute favorite and "golden boy" of the priests/formation advisors at the seminary while I was there. He was held up on a pedestal and was often asked to give his testimony, publicly within the diocese. I heard from many seminarians (on multiple occasions) that he was "bishop material."

Again, I hope to God that Joseph is innocent of these crime. However, it is hard not to make a correlation between these "brightest and best" at the seminary and their tragic downfalls.

The work of the devil? I don't know, but we should all be praying that the truth comes out.


Comments are closed.

    Author

    Jennifer Haselberger is a canon lawyer who served as the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until April of 2013, when she resigned in protest of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy.

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