Pope Benedict XVI accepts Bishop Skylstad's resignation

SPOKANE - The 100,000 Catholics of the Spokane Diocese met their new spiritual leader Wednesday morning as Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday accepted the resignation of Bishop William Skylstad, 76, from the Diocese of Spokane and named a South Dakota Bishop to replace him.

After 20 years at the helm of the Spokane Diocese, Bishop William Skylstad announced his successor during a press conference Wednesday morning. Bishop Blaise Cupich, who has served the last 12 years as the bishop in Rapid City, South Dakota, willtake over for Skylstad, who is retiring.

With a simple, yet cheerful, announcement Bishop Skylstad ended his tenure as the leader of the diocese.

?As of this moment, I am no longer the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane,? Skylstad said.

His tenure, while long and included a leadership role in the Catholic Church at both the local and national level, may unfortunately be remembered by many for the sex abuse allegations and subsequent bankruptcy which rocked the diocese while he was bishop.

As for Bishop Cupich, he admitted Wednesday he doesn?t know much about the numerous sex abuse claims filed against the diocese, adding that he?ll ?have to be brought up to speed? on the recent history of the Catholic Church in Spokane.

Cupich says he's committed to victims' outreach and to meeting with any victims who would like to talk with him face-to-face. He also knows that with the diocese bankrupt he won't have a lot of resources with which to regain that trust.

?The important thing is the mission, not money. If you get the mission right, the money follows,? Cupich said.

Bishop Cupich officially takes over on September 3rd.