Three months after the cathedral chapter of Chur in Switzerland had refused to elect a new diocesan bishop from a Papal shortlist of three candidates, Pope Francis has decided on his own: The diocesan judicial vicar Joseph M. Bonnemain (72) will be the next bishop of Chur. Bonnemain, who holds doctorates in medicine and canon law, is a member of Opus Dei. He was one of the candidates on the shortlist in November 2020.
At the same time, Pope Francis accepted the resignation offer by the 65-years-old auxiliary bishop Marian Eleganti O.S.B., a former Benedictine abbot, who is widely considered one of the most conservative (and controversial) figures in the Swiss episcopate.
Since Bonnemain—whose name literally means good hand—will turn 75 in July 2023, his appointment is generally regarded as an attempt to generate a healing and reconciling transition period for the conflictual diocese before the course can be set for the long term. Without any doubt, the new bishop faces a difficult task for the next years.
The first reactions to this appointment in the media are highly positive.
The diocese has published the news along with further information including a personal address by the appointed bishop in German, in Italian, and—just in case that any Pray Tell readers know the language better than German or Italian—in Romansh.