And the turquoise goes to… Utah

Pope lifts Wester to Santa Fe
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Bishop John Wester (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The following comes from an April 27 Whispers in the Loggia blog post by Rocco Palmer:

And all of a sudden, everything was filled: at Roman Noon this Monday, in the fourth move on a US diocese within the last six days, the Pope named Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City as the twelfth archbishop of Santa Fe, granting Archbishop Michael Sheehan’s retirement after 22 years of rebuilding New Mexico’s 320,000-member marquee church.

Nearing the end of his three-year term as chair of USCCB Communications, the 65 year-old archbishop-elect had been the most frequently-mentioned Anglo among the potential choices for Santa Fe. A smooth, low-key conciliator in the tradition of his hometown church of San Francisco, Wester’s elevation to an equal-sized, but more prestigious charge given its pallium – given the attributes of the “Land of Enchantment,” quite possibly the most coveted appointment in the West – clearly bears the fingerprints of his mentor, Cardinal William Levada, as the onetime archbishop by the Bay-turned-CDF chief approaches his final year on the membership of the Congregation for Bishops before his 80th birthday in June 2016.

In succession to the eminently-regarded Sheehan, the nod represents a keen mandate for stability and continuity in the life of one of Stateside Catholicism’s most historic and picturesque outposts. In that, it is a complete turnabout from the circumstances of the last Santa Fe appointment in 1993, when the East Texas-born prelate was parachuted in to clean up a moral and administrative disaster following revelations that his predecessor, Archbishop Robert Sanchez, had engaged in sexual misconduct with young women.

The lead storyline of Wester’s near-decade in Salt Lake has been an extraordinary level of growth that’s seen the diocese’s Catholic population roughly quadrupled over the last two decades, now surpassing 300,000. As the bulk of the growth has sprung from a boom in the state’s Hispanic population, the succession to the new archbishop will return even more pointedly to the fault-line that marked Wester’s own transfer to the heart of Mormon Country: the tension in the trenches between LDS and Catholics in ministering to the Latino influx. While the two faiths enjoy a remarkably strong relationship at the level of their respective leaderships – a trait dating to the hard-scrabble early days of Utah Catholicism – the delicacy of the situation at the grassroots was understood to have nixed any movement for the naming of a Hispanic to the post last time.

Ergo, whether the preference for diplomacy can again overcome an even starker demographic reality will arguably make for the key question of the coming Salt Lake appointment. On another key front, Wester’s employed the church’s helm in one of the nation’s most conservative states to advocate several counter-cultural positions in the local debate. Entering a charged fray at many statehouses in the post-Obamacare era, in an editorial last year, he urged the Utah legislature to support the local expansion of Medicaid, citing the church’s pro-life message.

Elsewhere, the diocese joined the LDS leadership in backing the recent landmark state law barring discrimination against gays and lesbians, while Wester blasted Gov. Gary Herbert in March for signing a bill allowing the continued use of firing squads in executions in lieu of lethal injection. Named an auxiliary of San Francisco in 1997 under then-Archbishop Levada, the archbishop-elect is the second protege of the “godfather” of the US church’s progressive wing – the SF emeritus John Raphael Quinn – to be given a bigger berth in recent months, alongside Bishop Robert McElroy, who was installed as head of the million-member San Diego diocese earlier this month.

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Comments

  1. I wish that this Archbishop and all others would stick to Sacred Scripture and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” rather than inserting their own political opinions into their public statements.
    This merely causes confusion, and
    their personal opinions are ignorable.

    Bishops far too often confuse their required and first task as Teachers of the Faith with the role of the Laity.

    When are they going to do their own jobs in encouraging all literate persons to read the Bible and Doctrine of the Faith (CCC) ?
    If they wanted to effect politics they should have run for office becoming politicians, rather than becoming Priests, etc.

    CCC: ” 898 “By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the LAITY to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in TEMPORAL affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . .
    It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order ALL TEMPORAL things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.”

  2. The more Bishops try to “control” people through the politics belonging to the Laity,
    rather than “teaching” the Faith in entirety – the smaller the Church will become.

    God gave us a free will. This political social engineering by some Bishops is not their job.
    God help us all when Bishops do not know the difference between teaching the Faith and involving themselves in politics.
    They need to go back, read the Bible, and follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles.

  3. Bishops are supposed to model their lives on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not Castro, Marx, or other radicals.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My God, how this poor good man has AGED.

  5. His face is the mirror of his soul.

  6. Today’s Bishops in the USA are recommended by Cardinal Donald Wuerl,
    who was appointed by Pope Francis to be the only American on the Committee to recommend new Bishops.

    Some of WUERL’s claims to fame so far are:
    Blasé Cupich for Chicago,
    Robert McElroy for San Diego,
    and Jon Wester of Santa Fe.
    They all are like Weurl – of very liberal like mind.
    Including but not limited to Sacrilege – giving Holy Communion to those who choose to live in mortal sin – adultery with the spouse of another (divorce with re-marriage), and those who wish to continue homosexual (physical) relationships.

    The USCCB will be a mess with these new voting members.

    None of these Bishops promote reading of Sacred Scripture and the CCC by the Laity.

    • Randall, this is not true. Cardinal Wuerl is only one American on the Committee.

      • Bob One, and who are the other Americans ?
        When you call someone a liar, or correct them, supply facts – not your personal opinion.

      • The Vatican Committee that recommends the appointment of Bishops is called: “CONGREGATION for BISHOPS”.

        Please provide the current names of ALL Americans on this Committee
        including Donald Wuerl.

        When you find out you are WRONG AGAIN, apologize for your error.

      • Bob One, there are 33 members on the “CONGREGATION for BISHOPS”.
        This Committee makes the recommendations on who should be appointed Bishops.
        There is only ONE American – DONALD WUERL.

        Of the 33 members these are the appointees by Pope Francis on Dec 16, 2013:
        Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico
        Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.
        Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota, Colombia
        Cardinal Kurt Koch of Switzerland, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
        Cardinal João Braz de Aviz of Brazil, prefect of the Congregation for Religious
        Cardinal Pietro Parolin of Italy, the Secretary of State
        Cardinal Beniamino Stella of Italy, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
        Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri of Italy, Secretary General of the Synod for Bishops
        Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England
        Archbishop Paolo Rabitti, the retired archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, Italy
        Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Perugia-Citta della Pieve (Italy)
        Bishop Felix Genn of Münster, Germany

        Pope Francis removed Cardinal Burke who had been appointed by Pope Benedict, and replaced him with Wuerl.

        YES, Cardinal DONALD WUERL has a very responsible position for the types of Bishops now being appointed in the USA.

        YES, Cardinal DONALD WUERL has publically supported (even on YouTube) SACRILEGE – giving Holy Communion to those who choose to continue committing mortal sin – such as those who choose to continue a sexual relationship with the valid spouse of another (divorced and civilly remarried), and homosexual relations.
        WUERL lied and said this is not against the ‘Doctrine of the Faith’, and it is merely pastoral.

        Proof of Wuerl’s lies:
        DOCTRINE of the FAITH on this matter: CCC – # 1650, 2357 & 2396;
        1415, 1450, 1355.
        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

      • On the APPOINTMENT of US BISHOPS – – –
        BobOne, you are wrong again.

        Cardinal DONALD WUERL is the ONLY American on the “CONGREGATION for BISHOPS” which makes recommendations to the Pope for future Bishops in the USA (and throughout the world).

        Of its 33 total members, Pope Francis in 2013 appointed:
        Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico
        Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.
        Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota, Colombia
        Cardinal Kurt Koch of Switzerland, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
        Cardinal João Braz de Aviz of Brazil, prefect of the Congregation for Religious
        Cardinal Pietro Parolin of Italy, the Secretary of State
        Cardinal Beniamino Stella of Italy, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
        Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri of Italy, Secretary General of the Synod for Bishops
        Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England
        Archbishop Paolo Rabitti, the retired archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, Italy
        Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Perugia-Citta della Pieve (Italy)
        Bishop Felix Genn of Münster, Germany.

        Pope Francis replaced Cardinal Burke with Cardinal Weurl.

        This is the current procedure:
        The members of the ‘Congregation for Bishops’ meet in Rome. Appointments for four dioceses are reviewed in a typical session.
        Before the meeting, congregation members are sent documentation on the candidates for each diocese.
        At the meeting, one member takes the role of the presenter (ponente), reviews the information and makes his own recommendation from the list (terna) of three candidates.
        Each member, in order of seniority, offers his assessment.

  7. Let me see if I can lift this conversation up a bit.
    We have a new Archbishop in Santa Fe. He is Bishop Wester from Salt Lake City. Congratulations!!! We will pray for you. We hope you like your new assignment. We hope you and the people in that Catholic community will work well together in the vineyard of the Lord! Can I hear an Amen?

  8. Tom Byrne says:

    I worked with then-Fr. Wester (a former fellow parishioner) when he was president of Marin Catholic High School 1984-5. We were on the campus ministry team together. He is certainly orthodox, and don’t let the mild manner fool you.

    • Linda Maria says:

      Sorry– he may have been “orthodox” at a Catholic school, along with others on his team, for support– but he is really “political,” swaying with the breeze, a true liberal-at-heart, a true-blue “Abp. Quinn protege!” I have seen BOTH sides to him, as I, too, tragically worked with him, when much younger! I have seen him publicly praise and support radical, anti-Catholic immoral feminists, activists, LGBT’s, and many who hate the Church, including “wayward” clergy! BIG SHOCK! These “liberal clergy,” who also may spout exact Catholic teaching, in a sermon or talk, are TWO-FACED LIARS!! 100% “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” “political,” and UNTRUSTWORTHY!! When he was called to be a Bishop– we were tragically told the reason– at that time, he was young and good-looking, had a good public image, and it was thought by Levada and others, that this would be a good PR point, for Church leadership! I almost died! I said, “HOW AWFUL!! DID YOU TELL FR. WESTER THIS??”

    • Linda Maria says:

      I will continue, with what I was saying, above. I believe that choosing a fine priest to be ordained to the episcopacy, is very serious! The priest in question, should be very holy have an excellent record, have leadership ability– and be very orthodox and faithful to the Church’s teachings! He must— above all else– be an outstanding, holy priest! My God! But the Catholic Church does not think this way! The Catholic Church– is sadly— “POLITICAL!!”

    • Linda Maria says:

      It is so sad, for me to criticize our prelates! But I hurt very much from the “liberals,” who at times also look very faithful to Christ’s teachings– Wuerl, Cupich, Dolan, McGrath, McElroy, Levada, Niederauer, Quinn, Wester, and many others! Even the Pope! They are all alike! Each time you get all excited, when they seem to be doing the right thing by the Church– next thing you know, you are tragically betrayed!! And they always give the same reason— they want to “please,” to be “diplomatic,” to “make friends with those who disagree with the Church,” etc. etc. The Catholic Church cannot be viewed as the “bad guy,” hated by the world!! I would have to say– that most all of the USCCB, is sadly “liberal,” although they will readily state, on paper, their true allegiance to the Church! The Pope is likewise! Oh– it hurts!! Sorry for the criticism!! But they are all so TWO-FACED!!

  9. Catherine says:

    Taken from Catholicism has the Answer

    “Saint Peter Damian is one of the great Doctors of the Church, and as with each of the Doctors he has been given a particular appellation that describes his particular contribution to the Church. Saint Peter is known as: the “Monitor of the Popes”. He lived through one of the most terrible times in the history of the Church as he describes:

    “In the ecclesiastical order, discipline is neglected almost everywhere; due reverence is not given to priests; canonical sanctions are trodden underfoot; and the work of God is done only for temporal gain. Where are robberies lacking, where thefts, where false oaths, where sinful allurements? Who fears sacrilege? In fact, who has a horror of even the most atrocious crimes?” –Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072), Cardinal-Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Letter 51-52, written to the Cardinals of the Church. And what is most terrifying is that not so long ago a Cardinal of our own day addressed his fellow Cardinals in similar strong language about the Church:

    “How much Christ suffers in his own Church. How often is the Holy Sacrament of His real presence abused. How often must He enter empty and evil hearts. How often do we celebrate only ourselves without even realizing that He is there. How often is His word twisted and misused. What little faith is present behind so many theories and so many empty words.

  10. ‘Catholic community’ and other terms are words the left uses to confuse Catholics, and make the Church more Protestant.

    • Herman, Catholic Community is not a leftist term. But, let me explain why I used the term. The “local” church in a part of the New Mexico is the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. It consist of the Cathedral church, the church for all Catholics in its borders, and a number of parishes affiliated with it. The local parish is an extension of the Bishop’s church. So, I couldn’t refer to just the Diocese or the Cathedral, so I referred to the Catholic Community of Santa Fe, which includes all of the parishes in the Metropolitan’s area. Many parishes refer to themselves as Catholic Communities, because the think their parish as a community of believers. They also think of themselves as a community that provides opportunities for worship, for growth in the faith through formation, a place for creating a community of people through hospitality and welcoming each other and other sinners. It is also a community that together can serve the needs of the people in their area and the wider community of the town, county and state. I think that is being Catholic, not leftist. What word would you have used instead? I’m open to suggestions.

      • BobOne, stop fooling around. Use the correct terminology – “DIOCESE”.

        CCC: ” 833 The phrase “particular Church,” which is first of all the DIOCESE (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession.
        These particular Churches “are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists. “

      • Anonymous says:

        Communion.

  11. Bishop Wester is a real Catholic, a real man, and a real compassionate shepherd for his flock.
    I have known him for many years, and we were very sorry to lose him to Utah, as he was doing great ministry here in San Francisco as Assistant Bishop – even inviting the protesters into the Chancery Office when they showed up, angry about child abuse issues.
    Unlike other Bishops who refuse to speak with such injured Catholics, Bishop Wester led them inside, sat down with them, dialogued with them, and learned a lot about what they and their children had suffered.
    This is the kind of shepherd who can truly get to know his sheep (the painful parts of their history, the happy part of life, and the confused parts of their faith) and lead them faithfully to the truth.
    Bishop Wester, my wife, children, and I will pray for your beautiful new ministry in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, a city we all adore!

    • Linda Maria says:

      Bishop Wester has an amiable personality, and a “good public image” as they correctly say. He and all the other prelates are “smooth talkers,” and low-key, trying to soothe and please the public (I always would say, “you mean, the “Catholic Faithful,” don’t you, NOT “the public?”) However– I nearly broke down in tears, when learning of the sex abuse crisis, with many evil child molester priests of the San Francisco Archdiocese– and I recall, stating to Bishop Wester (as well as to Levada and other prelates) — “you have known the truth of these terrible and dangerous criminal priests all these years, and never did anything about it? You do not care, if the whole Archdiocese, and even the whole world, has these “criminals” for priests? You simply DO NOT CARE about good Catholics, and their families and children? Why not just go down to the city jail, get yourselves some criminals, take them to the Cathedral, bypass the seminary– and ordain them, and give them to us– for phony, dangerous, CRIMINAL priests?? You really DON’T CARE! NO MORAL CONSCIENCE!!”

    • Linda Maria says:

      One last thing– Levada, Wester, and other prelates, all said, that they didn’t believe in turning in criminal priests, to the police! WHAT A SHOCK!! They also did not seem to understand, that child molestation is a horrible crime! They all seemed to make light of the secular world, and that their world, is totally set apart– and sacrosanct!! Levada even said, “a priest or a bishop, does not belong in jail!” I disagreed! That is too arrogant– and not “Christian!” They all also seemed to lack a normal understanding, of a moral conscience, and a sense of responsibility, for the welfare of their Catholics! They seemed to think that a priest or a bishop is somehow “above society,” and “above the laws of society!” Quite a SHOCK to me! Even worse– they seemed to DISREGARD crimes of the clergy, and deviantly seek ways to “use their talents,” (for free, of course!) in the Church, rather than to get a good, responsible priest or prelate, to do Church work– or to use Church money, to hire a layman, from the outside, to do the needed work!!

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.