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.
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.
Press conference will be held today at 10:30 am. More later.
Diocese of Saginaw press release here.