Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pope names Bishop Bernard Hebda as future archbishop of Newark, to succeed Archbishop John Myers

NEWARK - Pope Francis has named a new bishop to help out, and eventually take over, for the archbishop in New Jersey's largest city.

Bishop Bernard Hebda, from a diocese in Michigan, was named the coadjutor archbishop Tuesday. He will serve alongside 72-year-old Archbishop John Myers until he retires in mid-2016.

Myers has denied the appointment was made in response to the recent controversies surrounding the Rev. Michael Fugee, who was accused of sexual abuse.

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Fugee has confessed to assaulting a boy, but returned to his post with an agreement that he be kept from unsupervised contact with minors. Authorities say he became part of a youth group despite this arrangement.

Fugee has since resigned and was arrested.

Protesters stood outside Tuesday's press conference to ask for changes in the church's policies on dealing with accusations of abuse.

Three men who say they were victims of clergy sex abuse as children demanded that Hebda make publicly identifying pedophile priests and supporting their victims a priority.

Hebda says he has not had to deal with these issues in his previous assignments. "In the three and a half years that I was in Gaylord, we didn't have any mysterious allegations and so I didn't have to face that question," he says.

Meyers and Hebda will share responsibility for running the archdiocese of nearly 1.5 million parishioners, including reforming its elementary schools. Meyers says he has no plans to resign.

September 24, 2013 1:50 PM

News 12 New Jersey
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