March 04, 2005

New Vermont bishop named

Times Argus

March 4, 2005

By Wilson Ring Associated Press

BURLINGTON A longtime Rhode Island priest who has worked the last four years at the Vatican envoy's office in Washington has been selected by Pope John Paul II to be the new Roman Catholic bishop of Burlington.

Monsignor Salvatore R. Matano, 58, will serve as coadjutor, or assistant, bishop to the incumbent, Bishop Kenneth Angell, and then take over the Burlington Diocese, which includes all of Vermont, on Angell's retirement, scheduled for August after he turns 75.

"I have been given a great gift," Matano said at a Burlington news conference with Angell. "To be a bishop means to take the words of Jesus very seriously: 'Pick up your cross and follow me.'

"There are many challenges today which face the community of believers in the Catholic Church," he said, adding that "the bishop is looked to for guidance." ...

But Angell said at the news conference that the most difficult challenge he faced in Vermont was leading the church during the revelations about the sexual abuse of children by priests.

"People have been so shocked by all of this and it's a wonderful compliment to us really, in the sense that they expect so much more of us than anyone else and we shouldn't fail them," Angell said. "It's been very difficult and difficult for these priests too (who) have been in trouble.

"The victims first and foremost have my concern. After that I think of the priests how because of one, one little lapse or something, something terrible happened. I can't help but feel sorry for them. I decry what they did."

Matano also said the church was going through a challenging period. About 75 percent of Vermont Catholics do not participate in the life of the church, Matano said.

Posted by kshaw at March 4, 2005 05:43 AM