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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Seismic Shift in the USCCB?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a well-deserved reputation of being a colloquy of tiresome old post-Vatican II reformers, many of whom seem just plain embarrassed by Catholic teachings and traditions. So at at their annual meeting this year the following was not expected:
BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 16, 2010 ( – In a surprise vote, the strongly pro-life Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has been elected the next president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the bishops’ annual general meeting in Baltimore.

Archbishop Dolan’s election departs from the U.S. Bishops’ tradition of elevating the sitting vice president of the conference. Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona had been expected to take the role, but was the subject of controversy in the lead-up to the election over his connection to a Chicago priest convicted of child molestation.

Additionally, numerous Catholic commentators had warned that Bishop Kicanas follows in the path of his mentor Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who is known for his support of liberal movements in the Church. 
There ought not be controversy over Archbishop Dolan and the way he has dealt with priestly rapists of young men (which is what they really are and more accurately described thus). As Archbishop of Milwaukee Dolan, charged with cleaning up the mess left behind by retired and unmissed church vandal Archbishop Weakland, took swift action against offending parties, even going so far as to post the names of priests of whom charges against were substantiated, on the diocesan website.

Not only is Archbishop Dolan more conservative he is relatively young, which is encouraging; that Commonweal and its readers are not happy about this election is more encouraging still.


Robbo said...

Yes, indeedy. The new VP, Archbishop Kurtz, is also supposed to be pretty conservative.

James said...


Oddly, of the blogs I read regularly, you’re the first to post on this. I appreciate it because you provided some good links.

First a preliminary comment, while I have no objection to the USCCB election results, does it really matter? I mean, it’s the USCCB for crying out loud. While some people might think it’s a big deal, I don’t.

I’m in the Diocese of Tucson; Bishop Kicanas is my bishop and he is a good man. Just this Sunday my pastor (Conservative, retired Navy chaplain from New Jersey) asked us all to pray for Bishop Kicanas because of the slander he’s been subjected to and reminded us all of the Fourth Commandment (in Catholic numbering for you Prots).

I think Bishop Kicanas is really being damned by who is praising him. The Commonweal folks are not our favorites but I say they are only holding him up in order to be contrary to the Conservatives. Same thing with the Rainbow Sash brigade; they don’t really like Bishop Kicanas and probably “endorsed” him to sink his chances so they could then b-itch about all us bigots.

I’m saying all this to set the record straight and defend my bishop. I have met the man, actually spending time with him and not just a hand-shake. He is definitely to the left of me politically but I would defend his fidelity to the Catholic Faith and the Church vociferously. So to anyone who might want to run off at the mouth about a man they know nothing about, I will take you out behind the woodshed.

James G

James said...

Eighth, I meant Eighth.

James said...

Appended is a response I wrote three years ago to what some people wrote in a comment box announcing Bishop Kicanas’ election to VP of the USCCB. I wrote it before the scandal story broke but I still stand by it. I think Bishop Kicanas responded more than adequately to the current media scandal and frankly I would take anything written about the Church in the media with a pillar of salt. Let us not forget who we’re fighting against. Let us not forget how the media treats the Church and that religion reporters are especially vile and looking to blacken the Church.

James G

“I still remember with fondness when Bishop Kicanas became our coadjutor back when I was in college at Tucson. After Bishop Moreno retired and Bishop Kicanas became the bishop I could not have been more pleased. Bishop Kicanas is a good and holy man.

“Is Bishop Kicanas perfect? No, but he is not in any way a bad bishop. No one who knows me would ever accuse me of being soft and fuzzy; I am definitely not a ‘peace and justice’ type. I disagree with some things that my bishop has done, but he has not done anything that would make me change my belief that he is a good bishop. Criticisms can be made against him, fairly even. You can criticize his decision to speak as a private individual in praise of a politician (who happens to be pro-choice) on an unrelated matter but you cannot question Bishop Kicanas’ pro-life commitment. I suppose it’s possible that Bishop Kicanas could be more vocally outspoken, but I think the same could be said of all of us. It’s darn near impossible to please everyone, there will always be those who say not enough is being done, but I am pleased with him.

“[Some people] may dislike his pastoral outreach to persons with homosexual attractions but in doing so he did not in any way compromise the faith. I read Bishop Kicanas’ letter [regarding pastoral care to persons with SSA] when it came out. While it was more touchy-feely than my taste, it no more compromised the faith than [saying Iran shouldn’t execute people for buggery]. I think he’s done enough to show that he faithfully upholds the Church’s teaching... he and the other AZ bishops wrote [a letter] in favor of a proposed [AZ] constitutional amendment banning gay-marriage. You wouldn’t think it because AZ is a very conservative state, but Tucson is almost as bad as San Francisco when it comes to the prominence of the “gay culture.” Tucson is a very liberal city (I blame it on being an university town) and the pastoral care of people with homosexual attraction is a very real concern. I think Bishop Kicanas is handling it in the best way possible.

“Bishop Kicanas inherited a horrible situation here in the Diocese of Tucson in regards to the abuse scandal; none of which happened on his watch. He handled it in the best manner he could, and I think he did a better job than many other bishops. He’s done all in his power to ensure that the financial ramifications do not affect the parishes. I don’t think any of us could have done better.

“[Some people] may want to criticize, and they’re entitled to do that, but they are speaking of a man they know nothing about. I have nothing but love and respect for Bishop Kicanas and I will not stand by while my bishop is put down by people who do not know him or this diocese. Bishop Kicanas is MY bishop and I would not trade him for any other.”