Phoenix Diocese to be overseen by San Diego bishop, Pope Francis confirms

KPNX [Mesa AZ]

June 10, 2022

The fifth bishop of Phoenix will take the place of Bishop Thomas Olmsted after he reached the “age limit” for bishops, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said.

The 52-year-old Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix will be getting a new bishop in San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan, a press release from Pope Francis said.

Dolan will be taking over for Bishop Thomas Olmsted, 75, after he reached the “age limit” for bishops. Olmsted’s replacement will oversee the Phoenix Diocese’s 94 parishes, 23 missions, 29 elementary schools, seven high schools, three universities, and one seminary.

“I am truly grateful to God for Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares who have warmly welcomed me to the Diocese of Phoenix,” Dolan said. “Please pray for all three of us as we journey together on mission in Christ!”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) had more than prayers to share when the announcement was made. The organization’s focus was on the perceived failures of Olmsted and the future of addressing sex crimes against children.

“Bishop Olmsted began an initiative to shield diocesan assets from further sex abuse claims by incorporating local parishes individually,” SNAP said. “Through his actions, Bishop Olmsted demonstrated that he cared more about the money his diocese brings in rather than the children and families his diocese serves.”

SNAP recommended that the incoming bishop-elect should investigate whether each past accusation of abuse in the Phoenix Diocese was properly handled and update the list of “credibly accused” clergy in the diocese.

A press conference will be held by the diocese at 10 a.m. and will act as the official announcement of Dolan becoming the bishop.