Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

New Bishop for Santa Rosa; Ziemann Apologizes

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

New Bishop for Santa Rosa; Ziemann Apologizes

Article excerpt

Pope John Paul II has named Bishop Daniel F. Walsh of Las Vegas to head the troubled Santa Rosa, Calif., diocese.

Walsh, a 62-year-old native of San Francisco, succeeds Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, who resigned last July amid charges of sexual and financial misconduct.

Meanwhile, Ziemann issued an apology to Catholics for "the pain" he has caused the diocese "because of my failure to abide by my sacred vows and also because of my failure regarding the management of diocesan funds."

The letter, which was dated "Lent 2000," was read at all Sunday Masses in the diocese April 8 and 9.

"I acknowledge with deep regret my responsibility for the current state of affairs about which you are justly angry," Ziemann said. "I have hurt you all deeply and I humbly ask for your forgiveness."

Ziemann resigned after a priest of the diocese, Fr. Jorge Hume, filed suit against him and the diocese claiming sexual harassment and coercion. He seeks $8 million in damages. Ziemann admitted to consensual sexual relations with Hume, but denied coercion.

The diocese announced last September it faces a $15 million debt, and in February officials said it could double to $30 million. The financial crisis has led to questions about Ziemann's financial stewardship during his seven-year tenure as Santa Rosa's bishop.

Ziemann was residing in a small town in the San Francisco archdiocese, according to Santa Rosa diocesan spokesman Maurice Healy.

"I know you are all living daily with the consequences of my actions, and I cannot express to you enough the deep remorse and repentance I feel for letting you down," Ziemann said. …

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