And, as reported by California Catholic News, it appears we are gaining another in Santa Rosa, which follows the wonderful announcement earlier of the appointment to the Los Angeles Diocese of Archbishop Jose H. Gomez to replace Cardinal Mahony upon his retirement next month.
“Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, a tough and outspoken defender of Catholic orthodoxy, has been named Coadjutor Bishop of Santa Rosa.
“The appointment as coadjutor bishop confers on Bishop Vasa, 59, the right to succession to Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, current bishop of Santa Rosa,” said a press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Walsh is 73, two years shy of the mandatory retirement age of 75.
"A Coadjutor Bishop is the designated successor of the current bishop of the diocese," said a statement issued by the Santa Rosa diocese. "He assists the current bishop, who remains at the head of the diocese, in the various aspects of pastoral and spiritual leadership of the people. On the retirement of the current bishop, Most Reverend Daniel F. Walsh, Bishop Vasa will become the sixth Bishop of Santa Rosa."
"Bishop Walsh, who had requested the assistance of a coadjutor, expressed his pleasure with the appointment," said the diocesan statement. “I am happy to learn of Bishop Vasa’s assignment to the Diocese of Santa Rosa,” said Bishop Walsh, “and look forward to introducing him to our parishioners and working in partnership to lay the foundation for our diocesan future.”
“Bishop Vasa has led the Diocese of Baker since 2000, during which he has developed a national reputation for his orthodoxy and for his willingness to take decisive action.
“In more than a decade as spiritual leader of central and eastern Oregon's Catholics, Bishop Vasa gained a national following for efforts to uphold Catholic teaching in the face of what he considered threats and laxity from inside and outside the church,” said a story posted yesterday on the website of The Catholic Sentinel, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland. “He had lay ministers sign an oath of fidelity of Catholic teaching and erased the Catholic identity of a Bend hospital where doctors performed sterilizations. He criticized pro-choice Catholic politicians and once warned against a group of schismatics that denied the Second Vatican Council.”
“In 2003, Bishop Vasa banned the dissident group Voice of the Faithful from meeting on any church property in the diocese. In a 2006 column discussing pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Bishop Vasa suggested they might be guilty of “the right-to-murder heresy.” He has long held that Catholic politicians who bring scandal to the faithful by supporting abortion should be denied Communion.”