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John Dolan to replace Thomas Olmsted as bishop of the Catholic Phoenix Diocese

Pope Francis has chosen a new bishop to head the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

John Dolan, the 60-year-old auxiliary bishop serving the San Diego Diocese, will move east come August.

Dolan has lived nearly his whole life in the San Diego area, serving as a priest and doing administrative jobs for the diocese there.

He once filled in at a parish where the pastor had suddenly died while trying to grow attendance by welcoming LGBTQ people.

Dolan said he was profoundly moved by the church’s members, including those with doubts about the effort for different reasons.    

“I’m really a person who really likes to dialogue rather than shut things down. And I think we are a better church when we have an open heart,” he said.

Dolan will replace Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who was required by church law to offer Francis his resignation after turning 75 in January.

A support group for people abused by clergy was critical of Olmsted, alleging that he valued maintaining church coffers more than justice for victims.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests has called on Dolan to audit all internal files about accused employees when he takes over the Phoenix Diocese. 

The first questions posed to him at an introductory news conference Friday were if he’ll follow steps recommended by the group.

“As soon as I get here, I will certainly take a look at where we’ve been,” he said. 

Dolan said he wants the Phoenix Diocese to always contact police about sex crime allegations, not vet them internally.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.