OHIO (WTRF) — Some priests have asked Ohio bishops to reconsider their support for a proposal that would merge the Diocese of Steubenville with the Diocese of Columbus. 

Bishop Monforton reacts to Dioceses merger between Steubenville and Columbus

Last week, Bishop Jeffrey Montforton of the Diocese of Steubenville informed parish priests, deacons and staff of a proposed merger with the Diocese of Columbus. The Diocese of Steubenville was recognized by Pope Pius XII in 1944. It included thirteen counties that formerly belonged to the Diocese of Columbus.

Monforton says tough economic times and a population decrease in southeastern Ohio has been tough on the Diocese.

Monforton released a statement saying, “We have significant challenges, but they are challenges the Diocese of Steubenville has faced from its very beginning and throughout its history. We have been meeting those challenges and we can continue to meet them if Your Excellencies allow us the opportunity.”

The United States Conference of Catholics Bishops is expected hear plans next month on whether to merge the Diocese.