Pope names new bishop for Houma-Thibodaux diocese - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Pope names new bishop for Houma-Thibodaux diocese

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Bishop Shelton Joseph Fabre address New Orleans news media Monday afternoon. Bishop Shelton Joseph Fabre address New Orleans news media Monday afternoon.

NEW ORLEANS - Catholics in Houma and Thibodaux will soon have a new bishop overseeing the diocese for that area.

Pope Francis has named Archdiocese of New Orleans Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General Shelton Joseph Fabre as the new bishop for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Monday afternoon New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond held a press conference to discuss Bishop Fabre's promotion by the Vatican. Fabre will replace Bishop Sam Jacobs, who is retiring.

"I look forward to meeting the people, I look forward to going out to the parishes, I look forward to them teaching me," said Fabre. "I know they have things to teach me, and I hope I have things to teach them."

Before becoming an administrator at the archdiocese, Fabre served in various ministerial capacities, including serving as pastor of churches in the Baton Rouge area.

Archbishop Aymond and retired Archbishop Alfred Hughes spoke glowingly of Fabre.

"He has been a leader for us," Aymond said. "Any responsibility that has been given to Bishop Fabre he has carried out with great integrity and great enthusiasm. He is a great collaborator. He truly is one who brings people together."

"I came to appreciate the special wisdom that he brought, and the special skill about bringing people together from different races," said Hughes.

But members of "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, are upset about  Fabre's appointment.

The group said as a top administrator within the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Fabre failed to adequately assist or protect victims of sex abuse by clergy.

In a press release, Barbara Dorris, an Outreach Director for SNAP said:

"We see no evidence that Bishop Fabre has done anything to help protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded or expose the truth in his long clerical career. He's obviously had ample opportunity to do so.

Often, Catholics give a new bishop ever benefit of the doubt. We hope that Houma Catholics don't do this with Bishop Fabre. Until he proves - by actions, not words – that he's different from the vast majority of his complicit colleagues, Catholics should report known and suspected child sex crimes to secular officials, not church officials."

"My heart still pains for the sexual abuse victims," Fabre said in response. "I know that their pain and their anger is great. I was a part of those negotiations, I did offer an apology in the name of the church, and sometimes that was not accepted. Some were very angry - I understand that - but not all of them were. There were some who were there who thanked me for being there, for listening to them."

A native of New Roads, Fabre admitted that word of his ascendency to the position of bishop spread quickly. He said by mid-afternoon Monday he had already received congratulatory calls from his hometown.

Fabre will be installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux on Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales in Houma.

The Archdiocese said the current Catholic population in the Houma-Thibodaux diocese is 126,000.

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