Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Housekeeping Notes

Yesterday's double retirement-appointment of the bishops of Philadelphia and Savannah prompted at least one person following USCCB on Facebook to ask why these two bishops -- Philadelphia's Cardinal Rigali and Savannah's Bishop Boland -- resigned. The answer is pretty simple: both had reached, or rather passed, the mandatory retirement age for bishops, 75. Both men are 76 years old and were the senior active bishops heading U.S. dioceses.

USCCB offers a resource on the process of naming a successor to a retiring bishop here.

The moves yesterday in Philadelphia and Savannah (and Denver) certainly impacted the national list of dioceses with bishops serving past the retirement age (reducing it from
9 to 7) and, thanks to Archbishop Chaput being pulled out of Denver, increased the number of U.S. dioceses currently vacant -- that is, not headed by a bishop-ordinary -- from 7 to 8.

For a snapshot of where this stands, the dioceses with bishops serving past the retirement age are currently (from oldest to youngest):
  • Manchester, New Hampshire -- Bishop John McCormack turns 76 next month
  • Lincoln, Nebraska -- Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz turns 76 in September
  • Bismark, North Dakota -- Bishop Paul Zipfel also turns 76 in September
  • Rockford, Illionois -- Bishop Thomas Doran turned 75 in February
  • Buffalo, New York -- Bishop Edward Kmiec turned 75 in June
  • San Francisco -- Archbishop George Niederauer turned 75 in June
  • Erie, Pennsylvania -- Bishop Donald Trautman turned 75 in June
Vacant dioceses -- from longest vacancy to most recent -- are:
  • Pittsburgh (Byzantine) -- since June 10, 2010 death of Archbishop Basil Schott, OFM
  • Fresno, California -- since December 5, 2010 death of Bishop John Steinbock
  • Salina, Kansas -- since December 16, 2010 appointment of Bishop Paul Coakley as archbishop of Oklahoma City
  • Baker, Oregon -- since January 24 appointment of Bishop Robert Vasa to Santa Rosa, California
  • Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida -- since March 11 retirement of Bishop John Ricard, SSJ
  • Steubenville, Ohio -- since May 17 appointment of Bishop Robert Conlon to Joliet, Illinois
  • Tyler, Texas -- since July 6 appointment of Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, SJ to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  • Denver -- since July 19 appointment of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. to Philadelphia
As always, hat tip to David Cheney.


Bern said...

I am curious...and believe I know the goes. As soon as moves like this occur, rumors start in our Diocese about what might happen to our Bishop. Does anyone really have a sense of who might be being looked at to move to these open Sees or is it still (as I suspect) a pretty closely kept secret and rumors should be totally disregarded?

Don Clemmer said...

@Bern, I encourage you to read the information sheet linked to above on the process of appointing bishops. It's a highly confidential process, and rumors typically abound in the absence of information.