(6am today), Bishop Wilton D. Gregory
, formerly President of the USCCB
and Bishop of Belleville
, is appointed Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia. That Archdiocese's previous ordinary, Archbishop John F. Donoghue
, made Episcopal Spine Alert headlines twice
for extraordinary statements during CommunionGate 2004. Donoghue stepped down on August 19, at the ripe age of 75. The two will hold a press conference this afternoon at 1:30. What might have ordinary been an isolated, bureaucratic post at the USCCB shot Gregory into the international spotlight once the sex abuse scandals broke in 2004. This move, a significant 'promotion' in ecclesiastical circles, can be seen as a something of a Vatican endorsement of(or at least a reward for, sort of like a Purple Heart) his firm leadership during this turbulent period.
UPDATE: Word is that the Archdiocese
plans to run a streaming video of their 1:30 ET Press Conference. Stay tuned. Vital episcopal stats
At the same time, Msgr. Michael J. Bransfield (here greeting the Pope in 1994), previously rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in Washington D.C., has been appointed bishop of Wheeling-Charleston
. Bransfield succeeds Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt
, who is similarly stepping down due to reaching the age limit. Schmitt had his own share of Episcopal Spine Alert headlines
. I pray that our two new shepherds, vicars of the apostles and guardians of the faith of the Church, will have the courage and faith to match those whose offices they succeed.
Poor Bishop Gregory: "I am looking forward to some downtime," said Gregory. "This episode has been so intense and so unrelenting that I just want some downtime for a while."
George on Gregory: Chicago's Cardinal Francis George says, "When this all hit in 2002, you saw the mettle of the man. He rose to the challenge. That will be what is most remembered. We are on target because he made the right choices. The bishops are grateful to him for the work he has done."
I love it that America Magazine's Thomas Reese specifically rejected the possibility of Gregory's being appointed Archbishop of Atlanta: "History's not on his side," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of America magazine. "Most of the people who have been president of the bishops' conference have not been promoted afterward.