SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The bishop who has headed the Roman Catholic Sacramento Diocese for nearly 15 years is announcing plans to retire.

Bishop William Weigand has cited his age and health as reasons for his retirement. The 71-year-old bishop has long suffered from a chronic liver disease and received a liver transplant in 2005.

Weigand drew national attention in 2003 when he challenged then-Gov. Gray Davis to abstain from Holy Communion unless the governor reversed his support for abortion rights.

In 2005, the bishop oversaw the 900,000-member diocese's payment of $35 million to settle 33 claims of clergy sexual abuse.

Weigand has formally asked Pope Benedict XVI for permission to retire. If his request is granted, he plans to step down as bishop Nov. 30.