Maine Bishop Submits Retirement Letter

The Associated Press
Downloaded September 12, 2003

PORTLAND, Maine Bishop Joseph Gerry on Friday mailed his retirement letter to the Vatican in accordance with Roman Catholic church law, which says bishops must retire when they turn 75.

Friday was the bishop's 75th birthday, said Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Portland.

Gerry will continue to serve until his successor is named.

Gerry, who became bishop in 1989, will return to the St. Anselm monastery in Manchester, N.H., where he spent most of his adult life as a Benedictine monk, Bernard said.

The bishop has faced criticism for his handling of clerical sex abuse cases in the diocese.

Advocates for abuse victims are pressing him to release the names of 51 priests who have been accused of abuse. The diocese has said 18 of the priests are dead, and none are in active ministry.

An attorney general's office report on the allegations is due later this month.

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