Bishop Conley takes leave of absence, Archbishop Lucas named apostolic administrator of Diocese of Lincoln

Dec. 13, 2019

The Diocese of Lincoln announced today that Bishop James Conley is taking a medical leave of absence, effective immediately.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Lucas to serve as apostolic administrator of the Lincoln Diocese during Bishop Conley’s temporary leave of absence. Archbishop Lucas will remain Archbishop of Omaha.

An apostolic administrator is equivalent in canon law to the diocesan bishop, and has essentially the same authority as a diocesan bishop.

Bishop Conley was recently diagnosed with serious depression, anxiety, tinnitus and insomnia. Thus, he formally requested a temporary leave of absence from Pope Francis.

Archbishop Lucas is expected to travel to Lincoln one day a week. When he is not in Lincoln, he’ll collaborate regularly with the diocese’s senior staff.

It is not known how long Bishop Conley will be on leave.

“I offer my full support to Bishop Conley as he steps away from the Diocese of Lincoln to focus on his personal health and well-being,” Archbishop Lucas said. “As a brother bishop, I know the demands of being a diocesan pastor; as a friend, I want Bishop Conley to avail himself of the time and the setting that will help him to return to full health and strength. I look forward to welcoming him back when he is ready to return.

“In the meantime, I am eager to work with the priests and lay faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln to further the mission of Jesus Christ in the parishes, schools and apostolates of the diocese. I hope that all will join me in praying for health and peace for Bishop Conley.”

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