Former Fort Worth Diocese Chancellor Wilson Dies

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The Rev. Robert Wilson, former chancellor of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, died on Christmas Day at the age of 76.

Wilson was found unconscious at home and died later at a hospital, diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said.

Wilson, the pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Aledo, spent more than 50 years in the priesthood and served as the diocese chancellor until 2006.

In that position he was the top aide to former Bishop Joseph P. Delaney and played a role in the church's response to sex-abuse scandals in the 1990s.

His work in the church stretched from Texas to Honduras, where he garnered support for a congregation and inspired his own parishioners to provide for about 120 homes in the Central American country.

Most recently, Wilson was driving the building of a new church for the Holy Redeemer congregation, which had been meeting in a high school.

Wilson was born in San Antonio in 1932, but grew up in Fort Worth. He was ordained as a priest in 1957.

The Rev. Tim Thompson of St. Mark Catholic Church in Denton knew Wilson for 25 years.

"He wanted the church to be open to everyone, to be available to everyone, to find the wisdom of everyone for the leadership of the church," Thompson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Wilson played a role in the diocese's handling of some sexual-abuse allegations.

In 1993, Wilson and another priest paid the mother of an accuser of the Rev. John Howlett in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit against St. Brendan's Church in Stephenville, according to court records. The Fort Worth Diocese provided some reimbursement for the payment.

In 1998, Wilson told a man who said a priest fondled him when he was 11 that he knew of only one other adult accuser of the same priest, but no similar incidents with minors. Wilson later noted in the file that he had forgotten about an earlier complaint against the priest and a minor.

Wilson's survivors include a nephew and a niece. The Rev. Robert Wilson, former chancellor of the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, died on Christmas Day at the age of 76.

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