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California Briefing / SACRAMENTO

Head of diocese plans to retire

September 02, 2008|From the Associated Press

The bishop who has headed the Sacramento Diocese for nearly 15 years has announced he plans to retire.

Bishop William Weigand has cited his age and health as reasons for his retirement. The 71-year-old bishop has long suffered from liver disease and received a liver transplant in 2005.

Weigand drew national attention in 2003 when he challenged then-Gov. Gray Davis to abstain from Communion unless the governor reversed his pro-choice stance on abortion.

In 2005, the bishop oversaw the 900,000-member diocese's payment of $35 million to settle 33 claims of clergy sexual abuse.

Weigand has formally asked Pope Benedict XVI for permission to retire. If his request is granted, he plans to step down Nov. 30.

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