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Scranton: Bishop Martino’s successor named

Catholic World News - February 24, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Joseph Bambera, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, as the successor of Bishop Joseph Martino.

Bishop Martino, who resigned in August at the age of 63, had won national praise for his stalwart defense of human life, but his decision to close 91 of his diocese’s 209 parishes led to increasing local opposition. His abrupt resignation had led many observers to the conclusion that the Vatican disapproved of his confrontational governing style. It was recently announced that the diocese ran a $15-million budget deficit in 2009.

Bishop Martino’s successor, Msgr. Joseph Bambera, has administered the diocese on a day-to-day basis under the authority of Cardinal Justin Rigali, the apostolic administrator after Bishop Martino’s resignation.

Msgr. Bambera’s appointment was welcomed by area clergy.

“What is important to him is his priesthood, especially in an era where there are a lot of problems in the priesthood, to have a role model of a faith priest who values his priesthood, who is not only saying his Mass and his prayers, but also in fidelity to the church, the teachings of the Church and the needs of the people,” said one area priest. “He is a very easygoing, very compassionate,” added another. “He listens to people. He is willing to dialogue. He has a good ability to focus. He is just a very normal human being. He is not pretentious.”

“I have no doubt he will be a great bishop, one who knows well our area and our people,” said retired Bishop James Timlin.

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