Weigand Steps down Sunday As Sacramento's Bishop

By Bill Lindelof
Sacramento Bee
November 29, 2008

Bishop William Weigand will step down Sunday as the leader of the sprawling the Sacramento Catholic diocese in a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Bishop William Weigand of the Diocese of Sacramento at the Cathedral of Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento in October, 2007.

The ceremony at the downtown cathedral will coincide with his 15th anniversary as bishop in Sacramento. The diocese is comprised of more than 900,000 members. His tenure encompassed answering questions about clergy sexual abuse and the $34 million renovation of the cathedral.

In a statement issued Saturday, the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI has accepted Weigand's resignation.

Weigand drew national attention in 2003 when he challenged then-California Gov. Gray Davis to abstain from Communion because of his abortion rights stance. In 2005, the bishop oversaw the diocese's $35 million payment to settle 33 claims of clergy sexual abuse.

In a Mass, Weigand will hand his shepherd's staff to his successor, Jaime Soto, who has served as coadjutor bishop since November 2007.

A reception will follow in a cathedral hall. All Catholics are invited.

Weigand, 71, has said his age, health and that he can leave the diocese in capable hands of Soto led to his decision to step aside.

Shortly after coming to Sacramento he was diagnosed with a terminal liver disease. He received a liver transplant in 2005.

Still, he worked hard and was often spoke his mind on a variety of topics. He asked then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2004 to stop receiving Communion until he changes his stance on abortion.



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