Resignation of St. Catharines bishop takes church by surprise

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Bishop James Wingle of the St. Catharines Diocese has unexpectedly quit. (July 19, 2002)

Bishop James Wingle of the St. Catharines Diocese has unexpectedly quit. (July 19, 2002)

TOBI COHEN/CP

Toronto Star

07 April 2010

Nicole O’Reilly Hamilton Spectator

THOROLD, ONT.–The Bishop of the Diocese of St. Catharines unexpectedly stepped down Wednesday, without a word of warning to the diocese’s chancellery.

Bishop James Wingle, 63, offered little detail when he announced his immediate departure in a letter distributed to the diocese and published on its website Wednesday morning. According to the Vatican Information Service, the Pope accepted Wingle’s resignation.

Wingle, who was first appointed bishop for the diocese in 2002, wrote, “I am no longer able to maintain the necessary stamina to fulfill properly my duties. I believe that my resignation will serve not only my own spiritual and personal well-being, but the good of the diocese and the church as well.”

Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick, chancellor for the diocese, said speculation is Wingle is ill.

Wingle went on to ask for God’s mercy and the understanding of parishioners if his “shortcomings and limitations have cause any disappointment.”

Reached at the diocese chancellery in Thorold, Kirkpatrick said he had no idea the bishop was going to resign, but was giving him the time and space he believed the bishop needed before attempting contact.

“It sounds like the bishop was becoming overwhelmed with his responsibilities,” Kirkpatrick said, adding that Wingle was not a man to say no to any request.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Wingle could not be reached for comment.

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