May 17, 2006

Embattled Joliet bishop retires

Chicago Sun-Times

May 17, 2006


Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Imesch -- the embattled, longtime head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet -- and will replace him with the bishop of Little Rock, Ark., the Vatican announced Tuesday.

Imesch, who has led the Joliet diocese since 1979, will turn 75 next month, the mandatory retirement age for bishops under church law. Bishops must tender their resignations to the pope, who may choose to accept them (which he most often does) or not.

Imesch has been under fire for the past few years for his handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the Joliet diocese, and he has made no secret of his desire to retire. He wrote to Benedict XVI in November 2004 reminding the pope that his 75th birthday was approaching and that he'd very much like to retire, Imesch said.

"This has nothing to do with the sex abuse crisis," he said.

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2006 06:05 AM