MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - The number-two leader in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese has retired.
Pope Benedict announced Richard Sklba’s retirement this week. The church requires all its bishops to submit departure letters no later than their 75th birthdays.
Sklba reached that age on September 11th. He had been Milwaukee’s Auxiliary Bishop since 1979, and was praised for his national effort to improve ecumenical relations – particularly involving Jews and ELCA Lutherans.
But that reputation was tarnished by the sex abuse scandal involving Catholic ministers. John Pilmaier of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said Sklba needs to come forward and explain his involvement.
Among other things, he approved the payment of $450,000 in “hush money” from former Archbishop Rembert Weakland to a man who accused him of sexual abuse.
Sklba mentioned the scandal in his retirement letter to parishioners. He called it a “deep and painful immersion into the Lord’s Paschal Mystery.” And through it all, he says God is an almighty source of healing and new beginnings.
Sklba served as the acting archbishop after Weakland retired – and he was also the top assistant to Archbishops Tim Dolan and Jerome Listecki. Listecki, the current church leader, called Sklba a selfless and faithful servant.