MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -

A canon lawyer who became a whistleblower against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says church officials considered silencing a critic by declaring him to be disabled.

In a sworn statement released Tuesday, Jennifer Haselberger alleges a former top deputy to Archbishop John Nienstedt proposed declaring the Rev. Michael Tegeder disabled to silence his opposition to the archbishop's efforts to promote a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

Tegeder calls the idea laughable and the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard.

Tegeder, who serves as pastor at St. Francis Cabrini Church in Minneapolis, has been calling for Nienstedt to step down for some time.

He says the archdiocese needs to go without a bishop for a year or two so laypeople and credible clergy can put things right.