This morning's appointment of Louisville pastor Father William F. Medley as the next bishop of Owensboro, Kentucky fills what had been the longest-vacant diocese in the U.S. Church. Owensboro has been without a bishop since Bishop John McRaith retired on January 5.
This leaves six Latin rite dioceses currently without an ordinary:
Ogdensburg, New York -- since Bishop Robert Cunningham's April 21 appointment to Syracuse, New York
Springfield, Illinois -- since Archbishop George Lucas' June 3 appointment to Omaha, Nebraska
Austin, Texas -- since Archbishop Gregory Aymond's June 12 appointment to New Orleans
Scranton, Pennsylvania -- since Bishop Joseph Martino's August 31 resignation
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- since Bishop Kevin Rhoades' November 14 appointment to Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana
LaCrosse, Wisconsin -- since Archbishop Jerome Listecki's November 14 appointment to Milwaukee
As the oldest of these vacancies is barely eight months old, and a third of them are barely a month old, it's no surprise that Rome hasn't gotten around to filling them yet, as the appointment of a new bishop is a long and involved process.
Also on a waiting list are six other dioceses, whose bishops are serving past the retirement age of 75. They are:
Lafayette, Indiana -- Bishop William Higi turned 76 in August
Corpus Christi, Texas -- Bishop Edmind Carmody turns 76 in January
Seattle -- Archbishop Alexander Brunett turns 76 in January
Spokane, Washington -- Bishop William Skylstad turns 76 in March
Cincinnati -- Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk turned 75 in August
Oklahoma City -- Archbishop Eusebius Beltran turned 75 in August
Of these six dioceses, however, only five are waiting for a new bishop, as the pope named coadjutor Archbishop Dennis Schnurr to Cincinnati back in October of 2008. When Archbishop Pilarczyk retires, Schnurr will automatically succeed him.
And again, as appointing a new bishop is a lengthy process, to have only five bishops awaiting successors and only one of those bishops over the age of 76 means the Congregation for Bishops Rome is pretty well caught up on its business. As no other ordinaries turn 75 until April of 2010 (Cardinal Justin Rigali in Philadelphia and Bishop Kevin Boland in Savannah, Georgia), this list could really shrink in the meantime.
Hat tip David Cheney.