Pope Accepts Pates" Resignation As Bishop for Diocese of Des Moines, Appoints Replacement

Des Moines Register
July 18, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Rev. Richard Pates as bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines and appointed his replacement, according to a news release.

The Rev. William Joensen, who serves in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, was selected by the pope as bishop-elect for the diocese. Joensen's ordination as a bishop is planned for Sept. 27.

Joensen, 59, was born in Waterloo and attended seminary at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, according to a release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque on June 24, 1989.

In addition to the theology degree he has from Josephinum, Joensen also has Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America.

Pates, the ninth bishop of Des Moines, announced his resignation in February 2018 when he turned 75 years old. By Canon Law, bishops must resign at age 75. He has been bishop since 2008.

Known for his openness and welcoming personality, Pates’ tenure has been marked by impressive growth, increased diversification of the local Catholic flock and ongoing fallout from Catholic scandals.

In February, following a diocesan review, Pates announced the names of nine priests found to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors while serving the diocese.

The Allegation Review Committee, made up of of local clergy, a judge, a lawyer, a police chief and a retired teacher, substantiated allegations of abuse occurring between 1940 and 1997.








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