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Pope appoints San Diego auxiliary to replace Bishop Olmsted in Phoenix, in significant shift

June 13, 2022

» Continue to this story on National Catholic Reporter

CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix for reasons of age and has appointed Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan of San Diego as his successor. The see of Phoenix is an increasingly significant one, as Phoenix is now the nation’s fifth-largest city; the National Catholic Reporter contrasted Bishop Dolan (“known for his pastoral work with LGBTQ Catholics”) with Bishop Olmsted (“a theological and political conservative”).

Bishop Olmsted inherited a troubled diocese in 2003. His predecessor, Bishop Thomas O’Brien (bishop from 1981-2003), admitted to covering up sexual abuse in exchange for immunity from prosecution and resigned in disgrace after fleeing from the scene of a hit-and-run accident in which the victim died. The prelate was subsequently accused of sexually abusing a minor—an accusation he denied.

Bishop O’Brien’s vicar general, Msgr. Dale Fushek, founded the youth ministry Life Teen, pled guilty to assault after being accused of sexually abusing minors, and was excommunicated by Bishop Olmsted after founding his own church.

Bishop O’Brien’s predecessor, Bishop James Rausch (1977-1981), was also accused of sexual abuse.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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