Roman Catholics are in mourning Bishop Robert Brom, San Diego’s spiritual leader for nearly a quarter century who oversaw a major bankruptcy amid the predatory priesthood scandal. He died Monday morning at his home.
The Diocese of San Diego-Imperial make the announcement. The cause of death was not immediately revealed. He was 83 years old.
“Bishop Brom served as a pastor, teacher and servant leader in the Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial Counties for 23 years,” Bishop Robert McElroy said in a statement. “He oversaw the building of many beautiful churches in our diocese, as well as the creation of two magnificent high school campuses” – Cathedral Catholic in Carmel Valley and Mater Dei in Chula Vista.
Brom was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of San Diego on April 22, 1989, to assist Bishop Leo Maher and became the fourth bishop of San Diego on July 10, 1990. He retired on September 18, 2013.
“Bishop Brom’s deep love for our parishes and pastoral vision has been complemented by a sharp administrative ability to guide San Diego through years of joy and difficulty,” McElroy said. “During his retirement years, Bishop Brom intensified the prison ministry he had begun as bishop and his service to the Missionaries of Charity.”
Robert Henry Brom was born on September 18, 1938 in Arcadia, Wisconsin. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota on December 18, 1963.
In 1983, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Duluth and then Coadjutor Bishop of San Diego.
His tenure was marred by the worldwide scandal of priests.
In 2007, the Diocese of San Diego agreed to a nearly $200 million settlement with 144 people who said they had been sexually abused by clergy under lax church supervision.
The diocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization — the largest diocese in the United States to seek such protection, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” series that brought the priests’ scandal to light was guided, in part, by the late AW Richard Sipe, a former priest and psychotherapist who died in 2018 at his Mount Soledad home.
In 2015, he said he was blackballed by the Diocese of San Diego.
“Bishop Robert Brom sent his chancellor here to say that I was not welcome in the chancery,” Sipe said. “If I came, it would only be in the presence of a lawyer.”
slat posted a file on Brom in which he said that Brom “came to San Diego…under the cloud of a credible allegation of abuse by a former seminarian from Winona MN Seminary where he had served as rector”. (Brom’s lawyer at the time repeatedly denied that he had had homosexual relations with Winona seminarians, also alleged by the Bishops Accountability Project.)
In his statement, McElroy called Brom a natural teacher who “constantly worked to bring the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council to the heart of the Diocese of San Diego. men for the priesthood.
Services for Brom will be held at 11 a.m. May 17 at St. Therese of Carmel Church in Del Mar Heights. Interment will be in Sainte-Croix Cemetery.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego serves more than 1.3 million Catholics in San Diego and Imperial counties with 98 parishes and 49 elementary and secondary schools.