John Yanta

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John Walter Yanta
Bishop of Amarillo
ChurchCatholic Church
AppointedJanuary 21, 1997
InstalledMarch 17, 1997
Term endedJanuary 3, 2008
PredecessorLeroy Matthiesen
SuccessorPatrick Zurek
OrdinationMarch 17, 1956
by Robert Emmet Lucey
ConsecrationDecember 30, 1994
by Patrick Flores, Alfons Nossol, and Charles Victor Grahmann
Personal details
Born(1931-10-02)October 2, 1931
DiedAugust 6, 2022(2022-08-06) (aged 90)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Previous post(s)
Styles of
John Walter Yanta
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

John Walter Yanta (October 2, 1931 – August 6, 2022) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo in Texas from 1997 to 2008 and as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of San Antonio in Texas from 1994 to 1997.


Early years[edit]

On March 17, 1956, Yanta was ordained into the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Antonio by Archbishop Robert Lucey.[1] In 1957, Yanta was assigned as assistant pastor at St. Ann’s Parish in San Antonio.[2]

During this period, Yanta would frequently join protests in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Antonio, protesting its abortion services to women. He was arrested during one protest for disturbing the peace.[2] In 1981, Yanta and Father Larry Steubben founded Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA).[2]

Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio[edit]

On December 30, 1994, Pope John Paul II appointed Yanta as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He was consecrated by Archbishop Patrick Flores at the Immaculate Conception Church in Panna Maria, Texas.[1]

Bishop of Amarillo[edit]

On January 21, 1997, Pope John Paul II named Yanta as the bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo. He was installed on March 17, 1997.[1]

On July 10, 2002, Yanta and the Diocese of Amarillo were named in a lawsuit for the rape of a teenage girl in 2000 by Rosendo Herrera, a diocese priest. When the plaintiff was aged 17, Herrera raped and impregnated her. The suit claimed that the diocese was aware of previous offenses by Herrera, and had failed to notify authorities as required by state law.[3]

By September 2002, eight priests had resigned from the diocese due to sexual abuse allegations.[4] On February 28, 2003, Yanta agreed to a US$27,000 legal settlement with the family of the girl raped by Herrera in 2000.[5]


Yanta retired on January 3, 2008.[6] Upon his retirement from the Diocese of Amarillo, Yanta moved to San Antonio where he was active in socially conservative political causes. In 2011, Yanta established the Polish Heritage Center Foundation and bought land in Panna Maria to build the Polish Heritage Center, a museum about Polish immigrants to Texas.[7] In 2021, Yanta spent a week in the hospital due to a case of pneumonia.[8]

John Yanta died in San Antonio on August 6, 2022, at age 90.[9]



On May 14, 2009, Yanta sent a letter of protest to Father John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame about the university inviting President Barack Obama to its commencement ceremony.[10][11][12][13] In the letter, Yanta stated:

I also see Notre Dame crucifying Our Lord once again. Our Blessed Mother must be sorrowful for what you are doing to her Son, using her name in doing so.[14]

Sexual abuse scandal[edit]

In 2002, Yanta criticized the "zero tolerance" policies on sexual abuse by priests that were adopted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002. He argued that one-time offenders who had gone through counseling should not be punished for their crimes.[15] However, Yanta admitted that his predecessor, Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen, had recruited many of the problem priests out of treatment programs and kept that information secret from parishioners.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Bishop John Walter Yanta [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Inspiring us with his faith, vision, leadership, and attention to detail for 65 years of ministry | Archdiocese of San Antonio". March 25, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "Suit claims priest fathered child, diocese covered up abuse". Plainview Herald. July 11, 2002. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Blaney, Betsy (September 2, 2002). "Amarillo Diocese Hit Hard by Sex Abuse". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  5. ^ "Diocese settles paternity lawsuit filed by teen girl" Houston Chronicle, February 28, 2003
  6. ^ "Home".
  7. ^ "Our History". Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "The West Texas Catholic Interview: Bishop John W. Yanta". Catholic Diocese of Amarillo. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  9. ^ Watkins, Matthew (August 6, 2022). "Former Amarillo Bishop John Yanta dies at 90". KVII. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  10. ^ [dead link]
  11. ^ "Bishop John Yanta, pro- life champion, retires - Catholic Online". Archived from the original on May 25, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  12. ^ "Priests for Life Library: Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities".
  13. ^ "Priests for Life Library: Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities".
  14. ^ "Our Story", Fix What You Can, University of Minnesota Press, pp. ix–xii, October 6, 2020, doi:10.5749/j.ctv15kxgbj.3, ISBN 9781452963846, S2CID 241188682, retrieved November 19, 2021
  15. ^ Yardley, Jim. "Zero tolerance takes big toll in Texas diocese." New York Times, August 24, 2002
  16. ^ Yardley, Jim (August 24, 2002). "Zero Tolerance Takes Big Toll in a Texas Diocese". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 18, 2021.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Amarillo
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio
Succeeded by
Preceded by Titular Bishop of Naratcata
Succeeded by