Vatican accepts resignation of Bishop McGrath of San Jose

Bishop Patrick McGrath at the Vatican in 2012 Credit David Kerr CNA Bishop Patrick McGrath at the Vatican in 2012. | David Kerr/CNA.

Pope Francis Wednesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of San Jose, California, who will be automatically succeeded by his coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú.

McGrath, 73, was bishop of San Jose for nearly 20 years, and before that was coadjutor bishop of the diocese for an additional one year.

Citing the wish to let a younger man become bishop, McGrath last year asked the Holy See permission to retire before turning 75, which is when bishops are required by canon law to submit letters of resignation for consideration by the pope.

McGrath was hospitalized last November after a serious fall, which caused a "slight fracture of a disc in his back," according to a diocesan spokesperson.

The bishop became the object of criticism in August 2018 for a decision to purchase a five-bedroom, 3,300 square-foot home, for $2.3 million to live in after retirement.

McGrath later changed his plans, stating that the purchase made economic sense as a good investment, but that he had "erred in judgment" in purchasing the house.

"I failed to consider adequately the housing crisis in this valley and the struggles of so many families and communities in light of that crisis," he said Aug. 27. "I have heard from many on this topic and I have decided that I will not move into this house."

The diocese sold the house in December for $50,000 more than it was purchased for; the profit was donated to Charities Housing, operated by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

The bishop has said he plans to live in a rectory of one of San Jose's parishes after his retirement.

McGrath was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1945. He attended seminary in Waterford, Ireland before being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1970.

He received a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome in 1977.

In 1989 he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco, serving as vicar for clergy, moderator of the curia, and vicar for parishes.

Pope John Paul II named him coadjutor bishop of San Jose in 1998, and he succeeded Bishop Pierre DuMaine as bishop near the end of 1999.

Cantú, 52, was appointed coadjutor of San Jose in July 2018. He had been bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico since February 2013 and is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, and French.

He was first made a bishop at age 41, when Pope Benedict XVI named him an auxiliary of San Antonio, Texas in 2008.

Born in Houston, Texas in 1966, he is the fifth of eight children. His parents, Ramiro and Maria de Jesus Cantú, are from small towns near Monterey, Mexico.

In 2016, Cantú was one of two delegates chosen to represent the U.S. bishops' conference during Pope Francis' visit to Mexico.

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The Diocese of San Jose encompasses 1,300 square miles in Santa Clara County, usually referred to as Silicon Valley. Catholics make up 32% of the just under 2 million inhabitants.

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