Stephen Blaire

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Bishop Stephen E. Blaire
Styles of
Stephen Blaire
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

Stephen Edward Blaire (born December 22, 1941) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the fifth and current Bishop of Stockton.

Biography[edit]

Stephen Blaire was born in Los Angeles, California, as the twelfth of fourteen children. He attended local Catholic schools in the San Fernando Valley, and graduated from Our Lady Queen of Angels Seminary (high school) in 1959. Blaire then entered St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo. He was ordained to the priesthood by James Cardinal McIntyre on April 29, 1967, and then served as associate pastor of St. Luke's Church in Temple City until 1972.

From 1972 to 1986, Blaire performed his priestly ministry in Catholic secondary education, initially as a teacher and administrator at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills and later as Vice Principal at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente. He was Principal at Bishop Alemany from 1977 to 1986, whence he became curial moderator and archdiocesan chancellor of Los Angeles.

On February 17, 1990, Blaire was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Lamzella by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 31 from Archbishop Roger Mahony, with Bishops John Ward and George Ziemann serving as co-consecrators. Blaire was made a vicar general of Los Angeles in 1990, and assigned to Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region in 1995.

He was later named the fifth Bishop of Stockton on January 18, 1999, being formally installed as such on March 16 of that same year in the Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Blaire currently is the Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, having formerly chaired the Pastoral Practices Committee and been a member of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Within the California Catholic Conference he is the Chair of the Legislation and Public Policy Committee, as well as a member of the Religious Liberty Committee. He also serves on the Ad Hoc Committee on Ecumenical affairs.[1]

Blaire has been an advocate for life issues and the justice due to workers. Recent letters have praised the end of the death penalty in Maryland,[2] supported common sense legislation to curb gun violence, and reminded legislators of the need for budget decisions to be addressed based on three criteria: 1.Whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity. 2.How it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25): The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.The shared responsibility between Government and other institutions to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.[3]

In June 2012 Bishop Blaire, as Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, announced that organization's proposal to draft a message entitled Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy.[4]

In 2001, Blaire learned of allegations that Pelaez, a priest of the Stockton diocese, had molested a 14-year old boy at Sacred Heart Church in Turlock in 1997. Blaire immediately suspended Pelaez and sent him to a medical facility on the East Coast - but he did not report the incident to civil authorities. Blaire indicated that, because the victim was an adult when he alleged the abuse, the diocese saw no need to report it when the adult victim declined to do so. Blaire said his critics "made an issue about not reporting. We had no legal obligation to report."[5]

In November 2007 Blaire was defeated in his bid to win the chairmanship of the U.S. bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People because he had opposed justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse and he did not report an incident of sexual abuse by a priest under his authority to the police.[6]

In May, 2013, the University of San Francisco awarded an honorary degree to Bishop Blaire and he was the commencement speaker at graduation ceremony for the Graduate Students in the College of Arts and Sciences.[7]

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