The Rt. Rev. Clarence C. Pope, second bishop of Fort Worth, died overnight in a Baton Rouge hospital, according to Sunday, January 8, news reports. He was being treated for pneumonia.
He was elected bishop coadjutor of the Fort Worth diocese at a special convention September 14, 1984. He succeeded the Rt. Rev. A. Donald Davies as diocesan bishop when Davies retired in January, 1986.
Bishop Pope was a founder and first president of the Episcopal Synod of America, now Forward in Faith/North America.
He announced in October 1994 his intentions to retire January 1, 1995, and join the Roman Catholic Church, where he planned to eventually seek ordination under the Pastoral Provisions set in place by the Vatican in 1980. After his announcement, he took sabbatical leave and turned over administrative duties to Jack L. Iker, who was bishop coadjutor at that time.
After his retirement in 1994, Bishop Pope and his wife Martha were received into the Roman Catholic Church by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. But in 1995, he returned to The Episcopal Church and resumed his seat in the House of Bishops, which had never acted on his letter of resignation. He then returned to the Catholic Church in 2007, but apparently returned to The Episcopal Church in 2008.
Pope graduated from Centenary College and the University of the South and was ordained priest in 1955. He served as priest-in-charge at a number of missions in Louisiana and as rector of St. George’s, Bossier City, before being called to St. Luke’s, Baton Rouge, in 1963. He was a chaplain in the Air Force reserve for 10 years.
The Rev. Mark Stevenson, Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana canon to the ordinary, told Episcopal News Service that Bishop Pope will be buried from St. Luke’s on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Visitation will begin at 10:00 AM, with a Requiem Mass to begin at 11:00 AM. The Reverend Canon Chad Jones, Rector of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Zachary, will celebrate and preach. Internment at the Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery, St. Francisville, will follow immediately.