|Bishop Blase Cupich and Pope Benedict XVI|
Bishop Blase Cupich on Friday will be installed as the sixth leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, leading an office that has been financially battered by the priest sex abuse scandal.
Cupich, 61, was appointed in June to replace retiring Bishop William Skylstad, former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a key figure in the church's response to lawsuits from sex abuse victims. Skylstad made the controversial decision in 2004 to take the Spokane Diocese into bankruptcy court as lawsuits piled up, and a $48 million settlement was reached in 2007. But the diocese said earlier this week that continuing lawsuits may force it to sell churches to pay victims. However, Cupich's installation at Gonzaga University on Friday morning will focus on creating a better future for the diocese. Over 30 bishops from throughout the U.S. will attend the ceremony, including Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
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