Bishop Blaire hopes for retirement soon

Diocesan leader celebrated 75th birthday on Thursday

Bishop Blaire celebrates his 75th birthday at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Manteca.  (photo: Clifford Oto/The Record)

Sister Ann Venita Britto began pacing at about 10:45 a.m. Thursday. The seniors who enjoy her regular holiday lunches at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church were settling in for their Christmas feast, but the guest of honor had yet to arrive.

The event couldn’t go on without Bishop Stephen Blaire, who turned 75 on Thursday. A birthday celebration was planned, and he arrived about 11:10 a.m., putting a smile on Sister Ann’s face.

“I’m sorry,” he told the audience of more than 100. “I was finishing my retirement letter.”

That letter of retirement, required of Catholic bishops on their 75th birthday, is sent to the Vatican, and it is up to the pope to accept it.

“I wished the pope will accept my letter,” Blaire told Sister Ann after he’d blown out candles on a birthday cake and she asked if he’d made a wish.

Truth be told, Blaire expects to remain bishop of the Diocese of Stockton for another year. Maybe longer.

“All I’m going on is that current bishops my age sent in letters and it’s been a year and a half to two years (before they were replaced),” Blaire said. “There aren’t bishops lined up ready to take over.”

Although he supports the mandatory retirement age for bishops and is ready to settle into a life without the demands of running a diocese, Blaire also is happy to stay on longer.

“We’ll be out of bankruptcy, hopefully next month, so that will be finished,” Blaire said of the financial decision made two years ago in the wake of the cost of settling sexual abuse cases. “I think we’ve pretty much moved through some of the most critical moments of the diocese. The work of the church is never done, but I feel I’ll be handing on a diocese that will be in pretty good shape for the next bishop.”

Full story at Recordnet.com.

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Comments

  1. Wm. Hamilton says:

    I rarely agree with anything Bishop Blaire has to say, but in this instance, I am in full accord: the sooner he leaves, the better. Still, I shudder to think who Pope Francis might select to replace him. Hope California doesn’t get another McElroy.

  2. Who put the diocese into the shape that required bankruptcy?

    • Steve Seitz says:

      Larry,
      The better question to ask is whether the child abuse cases that likely caused the bankruptcy where due to Bishop Blaire or due to Cardinal Mahony back when he was bishop of Stockton.

  3. St. Christopher says:

    Who can argue with logic and the breath of the Holy Ghost. Time to go, Excellency. How about today?

  4. The long sad history of this diocese’s demise is largely on the shoulders of Bp. Blaire. Although he was not ordinary when the horrendous Oliver O’Grady abuse situation and others occurred (Montrose 1985-99 and Mahony, 1980-85 were), he certainly was informed by his attorneys that sworn depositions revealed Mahony certainly knew of the ongoing abuse in this and other cases. Blaire should have gone to the Nuncio, as well as direct to Mahony, and demanded he resign immediately, or go public and warn the people of the diocese to protect their children.

    But because they were close buddies (Blaire was Mahony’s Chancellor of the diocese 1986-1990, & Mahony had recommended Blaire to the episcopacy, in fact was his principal…

    • ..consecrator at his episcopal ordination), and their acquaintance went well back to LA diocese minor seminary and St John’s Camarillo days (Although they were not classmates: Mahony was 5 years ahead of Blaire). They were long time social justice progressives, friends of Jerry Brown, fellow travellers, etc., and Blaire was not going to break the law of omerta on his fellow buddy-bishop, come what may.

  5. We hope for and wish him well on his retirement soon!

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