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New bishop chosen for Upper Michigan

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UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  An official of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese was named yesterday as the new bishop for Upper Michigan, despite a previous admission that he destroyed records in sex abuse cases. Pope Francis chose Father John Doerfler as the new church leader for the Diocese of Marquette Michigan. He'll be installed early next year. The 49-year-old Doerfler is the vicar general of the Green Bay Diocese. He's a native of Appleton.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site posted a deposition that Doerfler gave two years ago in a lawsuit involving convicted pedophile and former Fox Valley priest John Patrick Feeney. In his sworn statement, Doerfler said he destroyed psychological reports of alleged child-molesting priests, except for cases in which claims were pending at the time. He said it was part of a record-retention policy adopted by former Green Bay Bishop David Zubik. It was not immediately known whether the Vatican knew about Doerfler's deposition.

Peter Isley of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests criticized Doerfler's appointment and called it "really perplexing." Current Green Bay Bishop David Ricken called Doerfler a "truster adviser" on moral and canon-related issues. Doerfler was ordained in 1991 in Green Bay.

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