As of 12 noon Rome time today, which is 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Bishop Monforton posted a letter to the Diocesan Facebook page shortly after 6 a.m. this morning (embedded below).
Steubenville has not had a cathedral since 2014. Now we have no bishop to occupy a cathedra.
As the letter also says, Most Reverend Paul Bradley, bishop emeritus of Kalamazoo, Michigan is now the diocesan administrator. He is a native of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and was an auxiliary bishop there before being made the bishop of Kalamazoo in 2009. He reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in 2020 and his resignation was accepted in May of this year. Bishop Bradley also has published a letter to the Steubenville diocesan Facebook page, I have embedded that below also. I encourage you to read his letter especially, and to pray for him as he requests — and as our Christian duty demands!
I can’t say I’m surprised either by the decision of Rome to move Bishop Monforton, nor by the decision to move him to Detroit. The only part that surprises me a bit is that he wasn’t made co-adjutor to Archbishop Vigneron who turns 75 (and thus must submit his resignation to Pope Francis) in less than a month.
Just yesterday The Pillar reported on a meeting Bishop Monforton called with all Steubenville priests for this morning. The topic was not announced. The meeting, however, was cancelled after word of its existence leaked to the public and The Pillar reported about it.
In their report The Pillar rehashed the concerns about Bishop Monforton’s leadership while Bishop of Steubenville — I’ll not get into all of that, but I recommend reading the article.
So what does this mean for the future of the Diocese of Steubenville? Who knows.
Bishop Bradley’s letter doesn’t touch on the subject at all, and I wouldn’t expect it to.
Archbishop Schnurr and the other bishops of Ohio haven’t rescinded their vote to recommend abolishing the Diocese. Rome hasn’t said anything concrete. But as we have no bishop nor cathedral, Rome may well just be slow-walking what they see as a necessary and inevitable process.
For reasons previously outlined (also here, and here) I think that would be a mistake for these 13 counties. With a young, energetic, competent bishop I believe these counties, as the Diocese of Steubenville can flourish. But as 13 of 36 counties in a sprawling diocese headquartered in Columbus, I’m afraid we’ll be forgotten.
As always, let us pray for the Holy Father, the bishops involved in the decision, for the Diocese of Steubenville, and for one another.