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John Walter Yanta Edit Profile

bishop , Catholic priest

John Walter Yanta , is a retired Roman Catholic bishop who served the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo in Amarillo, Texas.


Yanta, John Walter was born on October 2, 1931 in Runge, Texas, United States. Son of John and Mary Pollok Yanta.


He was ordained for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Antonio on March 17, 1956 and was then consecrated bishop on December 30, 1994, serving as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. On January 21, 1997, he was named bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, and became the bishop of that diocese on March 17, 1997. He retired on January 3, 2008.

Upon his retirement from the Diocese of Amarillo, Bishop Yanta moved to San Antonio, Texas, remaining active in socially conservative political causes. Bishop Yanta has been and remains an opponent of legal abortion in the United States, making many personal sacrifices to this cause over the years. He also famously wrote to the University of Notre Dame about their invitation to President Obama, a supporter of legal abortion, and no longer supports his once-loved team and university.

Bishop Yanta was also recognized in 2005 by the Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA) as one of the founders and the first executive director of Catholic Television of San Antonio. “It is fitting that we honor Bishop Yanta, who was one of the first individuals in the San Antonio Archdiocese to recognize the value of the television medium as a tool to share God’s word in this community,” said Mary Ullmann Japhet, chairperson of the CTSA Board of Directors. “On a personal level, Bishop Yanta has been an inspiration to me, and I am grateful for his leadership.”When a 17-year-old girl in the Amarillo diocese came forward claiming to have been impregnated by a priest in 2003, Bishop Yanta agreed to a US$27,000 legal settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

Bishop Yanta was critical of "zero tolerance" policies when it came to priests accused of sexual abuse. He argued that one-time offenders who had gone through counseling should not be punished for their actions. Not one priest found guilty of a crime within his diocese was ever placed in a position to hurt anyone again, according to Cathy Lexa, a diocesan spokeswoman, "They can't celebrate Mass, they can't wear the collar, they can't be called 'Father,' all of those," she said.

"The total cost of meeting our responsibilities in promoting healing over the past 52 years amounts to almost $350,000. This figure includes medical care and psychological counseling for victims and their families, and legal fees," a letter Bishop Yanta letter wrote and had read to every mass stated. The figure does not include psychological care and "canonically required sustenance" for defrocked clerics.


  • In 2006, he won the Cardinal von Galen Award for courageous pro-life leadership by leading pro-life demonstrations, requesting that anyone affiliated with Planned Parenthood resign their positions, even going so far as to offer to help them find other employment.


Quotations: "They can't celebrate Mass, they can't wear the collar, they can't be called 'Father,' all of those,".


John Yanta

Mary Pollok Yanta