The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has appointed a new leader to serve until the Vatican announces who will be the next bishop.
On Thursday, the diocese announced that Bishop Stephan J. Moloney, vicar general of the diocese under three bishops, had been chosen by a panel of diocesan priests as diocesan administrator.
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Moloney, 65, who is also pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Upper Arlington, has been a priest for almost 40 years and takes over as head of the diocese after former Bishop of Columbus Robert Brennan was installed in the diocese from Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Brennan was called to serve in Brooklyn after serving approximately two and a half years as the 12th Bishop of Columbus.
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Moloney – elected by a vote of the Diocesan College of Consultors, a group of 10 priests who typically advise the bishop – will oversee the functions and functioning of the diocese until the next bishop of Columbus is appointed by Pope Francis and installed , according to a release from the diocese.
It is not known when the next bishop will be appointed.
“I am very touched by the confidence placed in me today,” Moloney said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for all the support that has been expressed to me thus far. Together we will all work to ensure the proper functioning of the Diocese of Columbus, turning to the Holy Spirit to guide us constantly in the process. awaiting the appointment and installation of the next shepherd of our beloved diocese.
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Moloney is originally from Kenton, Ohio, and attended Pontifical College Josephinum on Columbus’ Northwest Side, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree before going to Mt. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland for his masters and bachelor’s degree in canon law. from the Angelicum University of Rome.
He was ordained by the late Bishop Edward J. Hermann, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, in June 1982.
He was previously diocesan chancellor; pastor of Immaculate Conception Church on the north side of Columbus; associate pastor of St. Peter’s Church on the northwest side of Columbus; vice-chancellor of the diocese; and on many diocesan committees, councils and councils.
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From 1997 to 2020, he collected reports of abuse committed by alleged victims of priestly sexual abuse.
He also headed a volunteer review committee that determined whether the allegations of priest abuse were credible or not. He officially became the victim assistance coordinator in 2002, when the bishops’ conference began demanding that archdioceses and dioceses create the post.
In July 2020, the diocese hired a licensed clinical advisor to take the reports, replacing Moloney as the victim assistance coordinator.
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The change comes after The Dispatch reported in March 2019 that Moloney was one of three diocesan victim assistance coordinators in the country who were also priests. Victim advocates and survivors have said such an arrangement makes it more difficult for victims to report abuse and may even re-traumatize them due to reporting the abuse to someone wearing the same uniform as their attacker.
Brennan gave her final masses in Columbus on November 21, and her departure marks the first time in recent history that the diocese has appointed an administrator instead of having bishops serve until their successor is installed.
The two Bishops of Columbus who served before Brennan – Bishop Frederick Campbell and Bishop James Griffin – both retired and served until the next bishop was installed, said Deacon Thomas Berg, Chancellor diocesan.
The College of Consultors includes:
- Reverend Stash Dailey, pastor at Holy Family in Franklinton
- Reverend Daniel Dury, Pastor of St. John Neumann in Sunbury
- Reverend Mark Hammond, Pastor of St. Luke Catholic Church in Danville
- The Rev. Michael Hartge, curia moderator for the diocese
- The Right Reverend Michael Lumpe, Vice-Rector of the College of Liberal Arts at Pontifical College Josephinum North Side
- Reverend Robert Penhallurick, Pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator at Hilliard
- Reverend David Schalk, Pastor of Christ the King of the East Side and Vicar for Hispanic Ministry
- The Rev. David Sizemore, pastor of St. Francis de Sales in Newark.