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Head Of Catholic Diocese Of San Diego Retires After 24 Years

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The resignation of Bishop Robert Brom after 24 years as head of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego became official Wednesday, and he was succeeded by Bishop Cirilo Flores.

Catholic bishops are required to step down as of their 75th birthday, according to the diocese, which said the resignation, and promotion of Flores, was accepted by Pope Francis.

Brom said he was grateful to God for his blessings during both joyful and challenging times as the leader of the diocese, and thankful for the help of other church officials and followers.

"In retirement here, I hope that, without the demands of administration and insofar as health permits, there will be ministerial needs to which I will be able to respond,'' Brom said. "In particular, I want to promote missionary discipleship as our common way to participate in the new evangelization, and to foster priestly vocations.''

The Catholic church was hit worldwide with numerous accusations and lawsuits over sex abuse by priests during Brom's tenure as bishop. In 2007, he approved the second-highest settlement in the U.S. for priest sex abuse cases, $198.1 million for 144 victims.

Flores becomes the fifth Catholic bishop of San Diego. The 65-year-old native of Corona was named a coadjutor bishop last year.

The Loyola Marymount University graduate earned a law degree at Stanford and spent many years as a priest in Orange County after being ordained in 1991. He was named an auxiliary bishop in 2009.

Flores also served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' subcommittees on Latin America and Hispanic affairs.

The diocese, established in 1936, consists of 98 parishes, 14 missions, and 90 schools and preschools in San Diego and Imperial counties.

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