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Bishop Pelotte resigns; erratic behavior raised questions April 30, 2008

Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup, New Mexico, has resigned, several months after his erratic behavior raised questions about his ability to maintain his episcopal duties.

The Vatican announced on April 30 that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the resignation of Bishop Pelotte-- who at 63 is well short of retirement age-- under the provisions of #401-2 of the Code of Canon Law, which provides for the early resignation of a bishop "because of illness or other grave reason."

Last July, Bishop Pelotte was hospitalized with serious injuries that he sustained his home. Police indicated that the injuries appeared to be the result of a beating, but the bishop insisted that he had fallen down a flight of stairs. Several weeks later, with questions still circulating about the first incident, the bishop drew attention again with a confused call for emergency help, in which he claimed that four small masked intruders were in his house. In October the bishop wrote to the people of the Gallup diocese, indicating that he was consulting with doctors about his condition-- although he did not disclose the nature of his problem.

In January of this year Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix took on additional duties as the apostolic administrator of the Gallup diocese while Bishop Pelotte was on leave. Bishop Olmsted will remain in that post until a new bishop is appointed.

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