Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 25, 2003
Newfoundland bishop wears two diocesan hats - temporarily
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Pope John Paul has appointed one Canadian prelate as the bishop of two dioceses, an extremely rare move by the Vatican but one that is expected to be only temporary.
Bishop Douglas Crosby was named Aug. 6 as the bishop of St. George's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 54-year-old bishop will also stay on as bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville, a position he has held for over five years.
"It's quite rare in North America, but apparently it has happened a few times in Europe, particularly when they're looking at very historical dioceses in which there may be some need to revise territories," said Bede Hubbard, assistant general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"My understanding is that this is probably going to be a temporary situation as we look for effective means to address the needs of this particular northern diocese (Labrador City-Schefferville)," Hubbard said in an interview.
A CCCB committee has been conducting an ongoing study of the possibility of reshaping several dioceses in Northern Canada.
All seven Northern dioceses, which include Labrador City-Schefferville, have a total Catholic population of only 125,000.
The Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville, which has a Catholic population of less than 14,000, includes Labrador and most of northern Quebec. It could eventually disappear, becoming part of the Diocese of St. Georges under a restructuring of diocesan borders. St. Georges has a Catholic population of about 42,000.
Hubbard said the study is "nowhere near complete."
The Diocese of St. George's has been vacant since April when Bishop Raymond Lahey was named Bishop of Antigonish, N.S.
Crosby is a former president of the Oblate Conference of Canada, and was the English-language general secretary for the CCCB from 1996 to 1997.