New Bismarck Bishop to Be Announced Wednesday!

Karen Herzog. Bismarck Tribune

The name of the new bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Bismarck will be announced Wednesday, according to Joel Melarvie, chancellor of the Bismarck Diocese.

The successor to Bishop Paul A. Zipfel, who submitted his retirement at the mandatory age of 75 in 2010, will be the seventh bishop of the Bismarck Diocese.

The announcement will be made at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Center for Pastoral Ministry in Bismarck.

The wait to name a successor has taken just about a year, not extraordinarily long as these matters go.

Last year, Zipfel said that it usually takes a couple of years before the transition is complete.

Before Zipfel was named to the Bismarck office in 1997 by Pope John Paul II, the diocese had waited nearly 20 months for a new bishop. The previous bishop, John Kinney, became head of the St. Cloud, Minn., Diocese in 1995.

Zipfel, who came from his native St. Louis to serve the then-nearly 70,000 Catholics in western North Dakota, will remain in the diocese after his successor takes office.

Melarvie said that Zipfel will take an apartment at the University of Mary and plans to do some teaching there. The University last year named its Catholic Studies program after Zipfel in tribute to his service in Catholic education.

The new bishop is named by Pope Benedict XVI.

Commentary: I for one am quite excited to find out who our new Bishop will be in Bismarck. I can tell from reading the few comments on the Tribune website that there are people who are not. Its always the same old thing: bring up the sex abuse scandal. Is that all you people know how to talk about? Do you think that sin is indictment against the Catholic faith itself? If you do then it is an indictment against every group, ideology, and religion that has ever existed! All groups are are composed of sinners! No group is without imperfection! I understand that people are upset that children have been molested. I am too. But these sins are not sins that the Catholic faith encourages. Any priest or bishop who has committed the sins or permitted the sins to persist is in contradiction of the faith (assuming that there are no extenuating details that the public does not know about). That doesn’t nullify the faith. I mean, for Christ’s sake, look at the United States. We permit abortion. We have people in our Congress who support the barbaric killing of innocent children! This is a made up right that does not exist in our Constitution! Does that nullify the Constitution because some of our officials have betrayed it?! No! I’m sorry, but the Catholic Church is both divine and human. It is perfect in its divine essence, in its divine truth, in its divine grace. Yet, many of its members have not yet attained perfect virtue, and some even play with deep vice. This, however, does not change the eternal wisdom and goodness of God that such a Church is founded on.