San Diego diocese gets new bishop

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Bishop Cirilo FloresSAN DIEGO — The resignation of Bishop Robert Brom after 24 years as head of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego became official Wednesday, and he was succeeded by Bishop Cirilo Flores.

Catholic bishops are required to step down as of their 75th birthday, according to the diocese, which said the resignation, and promotion of Flores, was accepted by Pope Francis.

Brom said he was grateful to God for his blessings during both joyful and challenging times as the leader of the diocese, and thankful for the help of other church officials and followers.

“In retirement here, I hope that, without the demands of administration and insofar as health permits, there will be ministerial needs to which I will be able to respond,” Brom said. “In particular, I want to promote missionary discipleship as our common way to participate in the new evangelization, and to foster priestly vocations.”Bishop Flores C

The Catholic church was hit worldwide with numerous accusations and lawsuits over sex abuse by priests during Brom’s tenure as bishop. In 2007, he approved the second-highest settlement in the U.S. for priest sex abuse cases, $198.1 million for 144 victims.

Flores becomes the fifth Catholic bishop of San Diego. The 65-year-old native of Corona was named a coadjutor bishop last year.

The Loyola Marymount University graduate earned a law degree at Stanford and spent many years as a priest in Orange County after being ordained in 1991. He was named an auxiliary bishop in 2009.

Flores also served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subcommittees on Latin America and Hispanic affairs.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement welcoming the appointment of Flores.

“On behalf of the faithful in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, I offer our prayers for Bishop Flores as he begins his ministry as the pastoral leader of the Diocese of San Diego,” Gomez said. “I look forward to working with Bishop Flores and all our brother bishops in California as we seek to strengthen the faith of our Catholic people and to help build a more just society for all.”

The San Diego diocese, established in 1936, consists of 98 parishes, 14 missions, and 90 schools and preschools in San Diego and Imperial counties.

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