The Holy See announced Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Rev. Joseph R. Binzer, Chancellor the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and pastor of St. Louis Church in downtown Cincinnati since 2003, as auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati.
An auxiliary bishop is a bishop assigned to a Catholic diocese or archdiocese to assist the diocesan bishop. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has not had an auxiliary bishop since the late Most Rev. Carl K. Moeddel retired in 2007.
Bishop-elect Binzer will be ordained to the episcopacy on June 9 at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains.
"I am very grateful to the Holy Father for appointing Bishop-elect Binzer to assist me in shepherding the Archdiocese," said the Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati. "He is an excellent administrator, but also a priest of great simplicity and compassion. His love of the Church shines through in his tireless service to the people of God. He is extremely well respected by his collaborators at the Chancery, by the parishes he has served and by people in general."
"I am honored and humbled that our Holy Father would make this appointment," said Bishop-elect Binzer. "I will do my best to continue to work under Archbishop Schnurr to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to the best of my ability."
Bishop-elect Binzer, a 55-year-old Cincinnati native, graduated from LaSalle High School in 1973 and earned a bachelor of science degree with a major in accountancy from Miami University. He worked for 11 years as a Certified Public Accountant before joining the seminary in 1988 to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1994.
He was associate pastor at St. Dominic parish in Delhi Township for three years, then earned a canon (church) law degree from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1999. After returning to Cincinnati, he was resident associate at St. Bartholomew parish in Finneytown, served on the archdiocesan Tribunal, and was master of ceremonies for Archbishop Pilarczyk before becoming chancellor.
Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called the promotion "distressing."
"Those in power during the height of the church's child sex scandal keep getting elevated by the Vatican to positions of greater prominence and power," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP. "The message to church employees is clear: no matter what, even if you closely align yourself with a corrupt archbishop, your career won't suffer if you put the reputation of the hierarchy above the safety of the children."
Dorris says Binzer was part of former Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk's inner circle.
"If there's a chance that the Catholic hierarchy will ever do more to protect kids, the pope should be promoting parish priests, not chancery officials, to higher positions," she said.