Thursday, June 16, 2005

Possible Replacements for Archbishop of Detroit

Cardinal Adam Maida turned 75 last March and submitted his resignation. Although Pope Benedict may keep him on as archbishop of Detroit for possibly two more years, the talk of him bowing out sooner rather than later is heating up. The listing of possible espiscopal relacements is rapidly becoming a speciality of the vaticanisti. So here it goes again: Bishop Joseph Perry (auxiliary of Chicago), Bishop Donald Wuerl (Pittsburgh), Bishop John Nienstedt (New Ulm, MN), Bishop Michael Burbidge (auxiliary of Philadelphia), and Bishop Robert Vasa (Baker, OR). Our sources tell us its pretty much between Perry and Wuerl. Perry is well-respected especially when it comes to sound liturgical and doctrinal teaching -- he is also one of the few African-American bishops. Wuerl has been waiting for a promotion for years. He has been bishop of Pittsburgh since 1988 and is known for his catechetical ministry. Neinstedt is the hometown favorite being a native of Detroit and a protege of both Cardinals Szoka and Maida. Burbidge and Vasa are long-shots but worth keeping an eye on for future openings down the road. Both are young, bright and orthodox. Burbidge was rector of St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia while Vasa is orginally a priest of Lincoln, NE.

Interesting note: While Detroit has traditionally been a cardinalic see, its now thought that Detroit's red hat will shift to an episcopal see in the southern US -- probably San Antonio, Galveston-Houston, or Miami.


Anonymous Becky said...

Very good, Vaticanisti. I was wondering, since Cardinal Maida is the apostolic administrator here in Grand Rapids right now, what will happen to this diocese when he retires? Will the new Cardinal still head up GR, or can you give me some predictions about Bishops for tiny, obscure little Grand Rapids?

8:05 PM  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

I'd (highly) recommend that testimonies on the personal qualifications of names in buzz not be made unless one is able to make a first-hand assessment of the people in question....

Regretfully, I'm not at liberty to explain this further. Just trust me on it....

2:12 AM  
Anonymous CitadelGrad said...

Would the red hat transfer to Miami occur before or after the current archbishop retires? I understand he is quite tolerant of actively gay priests and seminarians within that archdiocese.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Beasonlopes said...

Mr. Vaticanisti: What causes a historic cardinalic see to move from, say, Detroit to Miami.

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Louis E. said...

Cardinal Maida has said he wants to become a parish priest in Detroit after retirement.It's possible he will linger as Administrator of Grand Rapids until that vacancy is filled.
I note that the four Archbishops of Detroit who have become Cardinals have never been elevated at the consistory after they became Archbishop--Mooney waited nine years,Dearden eleven,Szoka seven,and Maida four.So this city should have a sense a red hat is never a sure thing.Likewise,the new Archbishop not getting it immediately doesn't mean it will never come.
There aren't many sees that no longer rate cardinals but once could expect them...perhaps Santiago de Compostela in Spain,and Benevento in Italy,would qualify.

7:03 AM  
Blogger vaticanisti said...


We assume you take umbrage with our characterization of Bishop Burbidge as young, bright, and orthodox. We further assume that you adamently disagree with the second descriptive category. Remember, my dear young man, humility is a greater virtue than mental prowess.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Citadel Grad,

Perhaps the move will be to one of the Texan sees instead of Miami. One never knows. I think that will be a good thing as the shifts in population support his type of move.

Dear Beasonlopes,

St. Louis was a cardinal see at one point in time, but no longer is. I think shifting populations affected that one. Los Angeles became one in 1953, and probably did so to take St. Louis's place. The archbishop after Cardinal Carberry did not receive the red hat.


Andy K.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...


Humility is also not taking on oneself the arrogance to assume things and mischaracterize statements. This you have done, and you're wrong. Such irresponsibility makes for faulty speculation and doesn't serve your quest for integrity well. That's just very sad, for you and your readers, of which I am one. We should be able to expect better of you! And hopefully we will see this in future....

12:52 PM  
Blogger Brian L. said...

Bp. Burbidge is no longer Rector at St. Charles. Cardinal Rigali restructured things (I think last summer) so each Auxilary Bp. Has pastoral duties in a section of the Archdiocese, and oversight of a set of secretariats.

1:01 PM  
Blogger vaticanisti said...

Rocco must not be having a good day. We will pray for him. Yes, we all make grammatical errors once in a while. A "was" should have taken the place of the "is" in reference to Burbidge's past rectorship of the seminary. Mea culpa. The error has been corrected. Thank you for the fraternal correction. Blessings on you all.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

And, for the record, my issue was with the line about Bishop Wuerl "waiting for a promotion for years."

Anyone who knows him knows that is precisely not the case; the implication casts a good man of sterling character in an unwarranted, negative light.

Folks, welcome to the washing well....

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Louis E. said...

St. Louis has had three Cardinals...Glennon in 1946,Ritter in 1961,and Carberry in 1969.Hard to say,therefore,that it was "replaced" in 1953.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous John B said...

I seriously doubt Miami would become a Cardinalte see, though I can see San Antonio, oweing to its historic and demographic importance to the church in the US becoming a see that has the red hat. As for Detroit, it is still the 6th largest archdiocese in the US( 8th largest diocese in all but red hats never go to suffargan sees). My guess is that Cardinal Keeler will be the last red hat to represent Baltimore.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Louis E. said...

In terms of "historic importance to the church in the US" San Antonio is nothing compared to Baltimore,the mother see of almost the entire nation.Baltimore doesn't always get a Cardinal,but Keeler certainly shouldn't be the last.Only a handful of American dioceses don't trace their ancestry to Baltimore.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous thenatural said...

Bishop Perry of Chicago is an impressive priest. I met met at a conference at Notre Dame last year. I think he has an excellent pastoral vision and is sensitive to the needs of regular Catholics. Plus he's black and we need more black leadership in the church...actually we need more hispanic leadership in the church even more. I'll vote for him.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous fr. bob said...

Yah, its me again...your friendly neighborhood cynic. I don't know what Rocco's been smoking, but its pretty much common knowledge both here and in Rome that Wuerl has been on the short list for 6 major archdioceses and has been passed over each time. Now don't personally know if he's happy about that, but knowing human nature and what my friends both in Pittsburgh, Philly, and Rome tell me, Wuerl is none too happy with it and is resigned to staying put.

Perry would make good in Detroit (or St. Louis if Rocco's little buddy moves on to DC).

10:04 AM  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

For the record, I smoke Camel Lights.... nothing ecclesiastical about it :)

A couple things:

--A red hat for Archbishop Gonzalez of San Juan, PR hasn't been brought up... It would semi-count as an American one.

--It's funny how we think of Baltimore as a cardinalatial see, but it's only had three (as opposed to seven for NY, six for Chicago, five for Philly, four for Boston); Balto's three just seem like more since Cardinal Gibbons held it for 35 years. But his successor, Curley, wasn't a cardinal, nor was Curley's successor, Keough.... and everybody knows about Archbishop Borders.

--We'd be wise to remember that, populationwise, the US archdioceses with populations of 1mil+ are traditionally a "lock" for a red hat (LA, Chicago, Boston, NY, Detroit, Philadelphia)... Only additions are DC (the capital) and Balto (the "premier see"). If Detroit's reds happen to float to San Anton, Gal-Houston, or somewhere else, it might not be the start of a new dynasty of cardinals in any of those places, but simply a devolution of the heretofore automatic link between certain archdioceses and membership in the sacred college.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Louis E. said...

An exception,Rocco...the Archdiocese of Newark has had over a million Catholics for over fifty years and has never had a Cardinal.
Washington of course only got split from Baltimore in 1947;I don't recall how large the Baltimore Catholic population was before the split.
I doubt Wuerl would make any desire to move to a more prominent see public for reasons of etiquette,but that he automatically has such desire shouldn't be inferred.Detroit would be a logical move since it's happened from Pittsburgh before.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous CitadelGrad said...

Sometimes, when speaking of diocese and bishops, the comments section reads like a sports message board. Some of you people snipe at each other like Cardinal and Cub fans.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous fr. bob said...

When it comes to bishop politics, the battles are so petty because the stakes are so obscure.

But I keep comin' back for more. Vaticanisti & Co. -- feed my addiction.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Michael McBlack said...

Just announced: Associate Bishop Walter Hurley of Detroit has been named Bishop of Grand Rapids. He had been pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, MI. Does anyone know anything about him?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the word "cardinatial" see as opposed to cardinalac? never seen that before....

Just being nit-picky!

Always informative site!

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Louis E. said...

According to the late Frank Young (Francis A. Burkle-Young),author of a number of books on cardinals and conclaves,the most correct form of the word (faithful to its Latin roots) is cardinalitial,though the more frequently-seen variant is cardinalatial.I have never seen anyone but the local Vaticanisti use "cardinalic".

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By what criteria was this original post made? While the list of names is indeed interesting, the conclusion that Detroit won't get a cardinal in the future is somewhat curious. Looking at the statistics, the largest of the possible sees that would steal Detroit's red hat is Galveston-Houston, which has almost half a million FEWER catholics than Detroit. As far as the other prospects, they miss the one million mark BY A LONGSHOT when it comes to RC population. Further, looking at clergy stats, not one of these dioceses has EVEN HALF the number of priests as Detroit.

In addition, consider the number of auxiliary bishops. For a time last year, Detroit had six before the "nest was emptied"--each of these dioeses have two. With Hurley's departure, more new Detroit auxiliaries are expected around year's end.

This isn't the first time that I've seen somebody towing this line. About how Phoenix, Tuscon, Santa Fe, Denver, etc. will take the next red hat. Considering our new pope's conservatism, I don't see this idea of rotating red hats coming about. I tend to think that he wants a period of stability--not radical and arbitrary change. My hope is that he won't concern himself with which dioceses get red hat so much as putting those who have shown fidelity to our Tradition in the the cardinalatial sees. Of course, I could be wrong on this...

Speaking of Hurley, I am a parishioner at OL Sorrows (one of the largest in the AoD and taking in at least 35K consistenly in weekly collections). The year that Hurley was made a bishop a sizeable number of the parishioners had petitioned the cardinal to have Hurley removed as pastor. In charity, I shant explain more...

I'll conclude by offering some prayers that Perry is Detroit bound in the distant future. However, considering that he has not had his own diocese yet, that seems unlikely. Plus, I think Maida might support one of the candidates from his home state.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous fr. bob said...

Whe are you guys going to update? Taking the summer off?

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No post since June 16th? You guys must live in Rome!

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 2005 consistory will not produce a cardinal for any See in the South. Miami and Galveston-Houston are both set to lose their shepherds soon and San Antonio simply does not have the numbers. The day will come when the Vatican will honor a southern see with a red hat due to the escalating influence of the Hispanic church. As the nation's 10th largest Archdiocese/Diocese, that honor will go to Galveston-Houston. In any case, Detroit will still have a cardinal for the foreseeable future.

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumored that Bp. Vigneron currently of Oakland, former Aux. of Detroit will be named new Archbishop of Detroit tomorrow,

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Citadelgrad:

While our good Cardinal Adam Maida has been sdaly pretty quiet these last few years, I did attend a mass in suburban Detroit in which was played a taped message from the Cardinal regarding Gay marriage. He concisely discussed the teachings of the church on homosexuality, in a very charitable but clear way.

I have been made aware of a serious problem with gay priests coming out of a seminary that has been closed now since the 70s. We are certainly still feeling the effects of this scourge! PLease pray for the Archdiocese of Detroit!

7:46 PM  
Anonymous MAurelius said...

A couple of thoughts on "losing" the unofficial status of a guaranteed "cardinal."

- It is unlikely that the U.S. will see a sum total rise in Cardinals. We already have a disproportionate number when compared to Latin America and Africa. By “adding” Cardinals in Florida or Texas, we are likely to lose them somewhere else.

- Detroit as a city and metro area has had a major decrease in size. Once a city of almost two million, Detroit does not even have a million in the city limits now. Some Southern cities are growing rapidly, including among their Catholic population.

- Detroit probably no longer has the importance as an ethnic community that it once did. There is still some Polish immigration, but for the most part, the Polish, German, and Italian community is in its fourth or fifth generation. There is a large and growing Middle Eastern population, but these are largely covered by the Eastern Rite churches (Chaldean, Maronite, etc.) A Diocese like, say, Houston is both growing and has national importance given its large Hispanic population.

- Even if Archbishop Vigneron is elevated, it could be a while. There is a sort of unwritten rule that a new Cardinal is not elevated when the old Cardinal is still around. It is hardly a hard and fast rule, and was clearly "violated" by the elevation of Cardinal Mida while Cardinal Szoka was working in the Vatican, but even this case, where the outgoing Cardinal left the region completely to take an important job in Rome, surprised many people. Were Archbishop Vigneron elevated today, there would be three Cardinals in the Michigan area. It is not impossible, but decreases the likelihood of an elevation any time soon.

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