Bishop Emeritus John D'Arcy, who oversaw the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana for 24 years during a time of church closings, a national sex-abuse scandal and some run-ins with University of Notre Dame leaders, died Sunday of cancer at his home in Fort Wayne, according to a diocesan spokesman. He was 80.
D'Arcy, who was treated for
D'Arcy received national attention when he was one of the few Roman Catholic Church officials commended in a scathing 2003 report issued by the Massachusetts attorney general about the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in the
But D'Arcy, a former auxiliary bishop in Boston, was noted for his strong support of screening potential priests, as well as his warnings to his superiors about predatory priests.
Later in 2003, he disclosed that 33 children — most of them teenagers at the time — had been sexually abused over the previous five decades by 16 priests in his northern Indiana diocese. D'Arcy said then that there was too much secrecy surrounding the issue.
"I think people don't want to know a lot about it, but they want to know the bishop is handling it right. I think that means a lot to them," he said.
D'Arcy also made headlines for opposing some decisions by leaders at the University of Notre Dame, which is in the diocese. In 2006, he criticized the decision by the Rev. John Jenkins, the Catholic university's president, to allow "The Vagina Monologues" to be performed on campus.
D'Arcy also boycotted Notre Dame's commencement in 2009 because the speaker,
D'Arcy was born in Boston in 1932, ordained a priest in 1957 and served in a Boston-area parish for nine years. In 1975, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston, and installed as bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese in 1985. He retired in 2010.