21 April 2009

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson Named New Archbishop of Saint Louis

The Holy See announced today that the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI, has been chosen to succeed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke as Archbishop of Saint Louis.

His Excellency until recently had not been mentioned on the usual lists of rumored candidates for the vacant See. Archbishop Carlson's name began to be discussed in earnest after the appointment of Bishop Stika to the See at Knoxville, TN.

Archbishop Carlson, who will turn 65 in June, has been Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI since 2005. Before that he served as Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD for about ten years, and prior to that was Auxiliary Bishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

His Excellency's episcopal motto is "Ante crucem nihil defensionis," or "Before the cross there is no defense."

Archbishop Carlson is a canon lawyer (earning his canon law licentiate from Catholic University of America in 1979) and has been outspoken in his defense of human life. He has made public statements concerning the matter of the need of Catholics to properly form their consciences before voting and concerning the matter of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion. Most notably, as Bishop of Sioux Falls he told Senator Tom Daschle that his views supporting abortion were contrary to the Catholic faith and that he could no longer identify himself as a Catholic. Daschle, for his part, opined that His Excellency was "more identified with the radical right than with thoughtful religious leadership."

His Excellency has also received acclaim for encouraging a revival in priestly vocations in Saginaw, taking a moribund vocations program (no seminarians in 2005) and producing staggering results (16 current seminarians with a probable total of 20 in the fall).

The new Archbishop gave an interview to the Catholic Report in 2006 that gives more insight to his thought and leadership style. This Lent, he wrote an instruction to Catholics in Saginaw encouraging greater recourse to the Sacrament of Penance.

As for the Traditional Mass in the aftermath of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, there does not appear to be any location in the Diocese of Saginaw that offers the regular public celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, at least according to the public listings of traditional Masses available on the net.

Limited information about the Bishop is located at the Saginaw Diocese's website.

I will have initial commentary and analysis later today.

Let us thank God for giving us a new shepherd, and pray for our new Archbishop!

V. Oremus pro antistite nostro Roberto.

R. Stet et pascat, in fortitudine tua, Domine, in sublimitate nominis tui.

V. Salvum fac servum tuum.

R. Deus meus sperantem in te.


Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Robertum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae Sancti Ludovici praeese voluisti propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen


Update: The Archdiocesan website now has its page up, and has sent its promised text message.

Press conference will be held today at 10:30 am. More later.

Diocese of Saginaw press release here.


HSMom and HSDad said...

God Bless His Excellency and welcome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks be to God! Let us all pray for our new shepard.

Tim Ferguson said...

We in Michigan are sad to be losing Bishop Carlson, but this is great news for the Church in St. Louis.

Fr. Andrew said...

As a former seminarian of his and having been ordained a deacon by Bishop Carlson, I recommend him to you wholeheartedly! Pray for him, especially through his patron, St. Robert Bellarmine.

I'll send you some info via email, Timman.

HSMom said...

This morning I announced to my 9 and 7 year old boys that we have a new Archbishop. My 9 yo's response:

"This time are you sure thetimman is not joking?" :)

May God bless our new Archbishop!

Br. Andrew M. McAlpin, O.P. said...

A Minnesotan takes the helm! Excellent choice!

cmziall said...

Thanks be to God! Welcome, Archbishop Carlson and may God Bless you!

Maureen said...

This is good. He seems like a man who'll continue his predecessor's projects, as well as bringing his own strengths and concerns to the table.

Anonymous said...

The Archbishop-designate will be at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary today from 11:45-1:30.

jane chantal said...

From here in the Diocese of Belleville, IL, a heartfelt welcome to the new Archbishop of St. Louis. May God abundantly bless him!

Athelstane said...

This is good news for St. Louis.

But I am sorry for Saginaw - Bishop Carlson had the cleanup job to end all cleanup jobs coming in the wake of Bishop Untener. He has done a marvelous job raising up vocations from the flatline state they had attained, and this promises good things in continuing the great work of Archbishop Burke in St. Louis.

His excellency has not had much opportunity to carve out a record on the traditional liturgy, but I know nothing to say he won't build on Archbishop Burke's work, either. In any case, St. Louis is gaining a powerful, unashamed advocate for the Church's teaching, and a great defender of life.

James said...

While the Traditional Mass may not be a presence in Saginaw I have good information that Bishop Carlson took noticably strong steps to ensure that the Mass of Pope Paul VI was celebrated properly. Also in a diocese as brainwashed as Saginaw was for many years before Bishop Carlson got there it would be no suprise if there has not been much interested in the TLM. I would expect that Bishop Carlson would do much to promote orthodoxy and proper celebration of the New Mass in Saint Louis. I would be suprised if he would do anything to interfere with the use or spread of the TLM, though he may very well not promote it beyond the extent to which it is being requested.

Anonymous said...

James' comment above is indicative of what's wrong with our church right now. Those who embrace a cultish fixation on Catholicism are so concerned about all the props and ruberics (that have changed so many times over the centuries!) that they miss Jesus when he walks right under their noses.

Athelstane said...

I would add one more thing:

There are already a few mutterings hither and yon (other blogs, forums) that maybe Bishop Carlson is not so friendly to the EF. After all, Saginaw has no EF masses; and he is well known for being a leader in the charismatic movement. Perhaps he is...no Raymond Burke.

The latter (his charismatic leaning) is certainly true. But as to the former, it is hard to overstate the grim situation he inherited on coming into Saginaw. Only a couple of seminarians. Virtually no vocations over the previous decade. Wild liturgical experimentations, including even laypeople or women religious giving homilies. Resistance from his priests. Quiet support by his predecessor for women's ordination. His excellency had his hands full just digging out the rubble: Rome was not rebuilt in a day. Just ensuring that the OF masses were celebrated according to the rubrics was a formidable undertaking. As to the rest: By all accounts he was supportive of the EF mass when he was in Sioux Falls.

But now Bishop Carlson inherits a archdiocese which is arguably the largest and most successful community for traditional liturgy in America. He knows what the faith looks like where it is alive, brimming, and he will see that in St. Louis. He knows that vocations follow a spiritually healthy parish. He will know his sheep. And given the fire he will draw for his courageous witness for life, he will also know who his friends and allies are, and he will find none finer than those at, say, St. Francis.

If His Excellency merely maintains and supports what Archbishop Burke put in place - two strong full time EF parishes, teaching of the EF liturgy at the seminary - he will do well by the traditional community. As more of these young seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon are ordained and move into parish life, good things will follow.

So I urge that traditionalists reach out immediately to Archbishop Carlson to let him know of their prayers and support. Rosaries should be said for him; he will need them. And let us look forward with hope to what happens.

Anonymous said...

Like Jane, here in the diocese of Belleville, I offer my best wishes and felicitations on the appointment of your new shepherd. I do want to commend Bp. Hermann as well for his devoted stewardship in the interim. Some diocese will be blessed with his leadership, sooner or later.

Congrats on the scoop also, Tim!

thetimman said...

Athelstane, well said. I will post soon on the jockeying for the "Carlson agenda".

Peggy, thanks. The race to get a "scoop" is more important to some than others. There were rumors of Carlson yesterday, but I had him on the suspects list a couple of months back in one of my annoying picture clue posts.

If I wanted to start a gag post, I could run the other five "new archbishop" stories I wrote, all of them 60+ days old.