Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who's the New Arch in Denver?

With today's big event being the installation of His Excellency, Charles Chaput as the new Metropolitan in Philadelphia, I thought it an opportunity to put it out there as to my thoughts as a potential successor for him in Denver.

But first, let's look at what kind of shoes would need to be filled. In the public sphere especially, Archbishop Chaput has been outspoken on the issues of the day, especially giving a strong voice to the pro-life movement.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, he was highly critical of then-candidate Barack Obama, and especially the messiah-complex that he seemed to garner from his supporters.

His book, Render unto Caesar, reiterates this point, encouraging all Catholics to take a more active stance in public life, and for standing up for the truths of the Faith.

He has been especially critical in fighting off the advances of same sex "marriage" advocates, and well articulating the positive position of the Church's teachings in this area, and highlighting the underlying agenda by those who would see that ideology advanced.

As if that weren't enough, he has in the past also publicly disagreed with the prevailing winds of the USCCB-- that is to say, he is not afraid to be his own Bishop.

In addition, ++Chaput is a sincere and personally holy man. I have had the chance to meet him and talk with him briefly, and he is a true pastor.

All of that said, who do I think would be an ideal successor to him in Denver?

My vote:

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila.

Bishop Aquila, currently the Ordinary of the Fargo Diocese, is no stranger to Denver-- in fact, he was first ordained there. He was also the first rector of the Seminary in Denver, after ++Chaput re-opened it.

Naturally, Bishop Aquila has spent a bit of time in Rome. Since his ordination as Bishop, he has absolutely transformed North Dakota during his tenure there. With a specialization in liturgy, and also with great experience in catechesis (he has been on a USCCB committee for both), it is no surprise that Fargo Diocese is doing as well as it is.

In addition, he is a staunch defender of human life, and no stranger to entering into the Public Forum, either.

For all of these reasons, not that my own opinion makes any difference, I think he would be an excellent candidate to fill the void that Archbishop Chaput has left in the Mile High City. Given the raised profile of the Church in Denver, the candidate would have to be someone of the caliber of Bishop Aquila, and also someone of his knowledge of the mid-west and mountain regions.

As for a date for announcing this, just to keep it interesting...I wouldn't be at all surprised if whoever the successor is going to be is announced before Christmas of this year, perhaps even as early as the beginning of October; however, I am sure that the passing of our beloved Nuncio may have slowed down things a bit.

Just a thought... But at least, if I am at all correct, there is a written record.

Some have opined that perhaps +Conley, auxiliary of Denver, might have a chance. I think he would be great, but don't think it likely, as I foresee he has the potential to be heading to Lincoln, NE in the near future...

Any other thoughts as to who it might be, or who would be good for Denver? Leave a comment!

UPDATE: this speculation is fun and all, but seriously, why not take a few seconds and pray for our Bishops, especially our local ordinary, and also for Archbishop Chaput in his new placement, and for the Holy Spirit to guide our Holy Father to the right candidate for Denver.


  1. Oh! I hadn't considered Aquila. My friends in Phoenix are afraid it'll be Olmstead, because they've had him for about 7yrs, and he's way too good to stay in a small diocese like theirs for long. I'm not sure what I think yet myself...

  2. Anyone suggesting the current auxiliary

  3. I've heard that the Holy Father likes to return bishops to their hometowns...How about Bishop Nickless of Sioux City, IA?

  4. I like Olmstead, but Phoenix really needs him. Aquila's probably the better choice.

  5. I have also thought it might be Bishop Aquila. He was the first Rector for the St. John DeVinney seminary in Denver. He is from the Denver Archdiocese so fits the "return home" pattern.

  6. "With a specialization in liturgy..."

    Well enough, but I heard he's refused to make the Extraordinary Form available in Grand Forks, ND (an hour north of Fargo, one of ND's major cities), for whatever reason, although they have the EF at the Cathedral in Fargo. Perhaps some readers know what's up in Grand Forks...?

  7. has to be Aquila. Makes the most sense.

  8. Thanks for all of the comments!

    Re: Anonymous on the subject of the EF...

    Actually, that's not technically true. My understanding is that Bishop Aquila is very supportive, personally; however, there is only one priest in the diocese who knows how to offer it, and so the supply is very low.

    There is/was a Mass in the EF in Grand Forks every Sunday. My wife is from neighboring Crookston Diocese in Minnesota, and we had a priest come over to baptize our son in the traditional rite. He offers a Sunday Mass in Grand Forks regularly. Apparently, there is very low attendance, though, and so they have considered discontinuing it. That was a solid 9 months ago, so I can't really comment on the current state of things.

    God bless, and thanks for reading! :D

  9. I would love to see Bishop Ricken of Green Bay back in Colorado -- I believe he's from Pueblo! I do love Auxiliary Bishop Conley as well here in Denver. It's fun to pick faves, but most of all, I trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Holy Father in his choice. Archbishop Chaput is loved and missed here in Denver, but I know we carry him and our brothers & sisters in Philly in our hearts and prayers!

  10. I think Bishop Molino of Madison is worthy of speculation, but Aquilla might very well be the best choice.

    Personally, I feel that Olmstead will eventually go to Chicago.

  11. I think Bishop Aquila will be sent to a "fixer upper" diocese. Whomever is the choice for Denver I think will have some very high pastoral qualities as that seems to fit well here.

  12. Ones gotta think within the paradigm of Chaputs mindset. In other words, whom would make his personal terna or list of 3 choices in order of preference ? Secondly, how much consideration would Rome give such terna?
    Given that for thought:

    Lastly, the new archbishop should have some grasp of the Hispanic presence of the church in Denver. Close to 50% of Catholics of Hispanic origin. A factor not to be forgotten.

  13. How about a trans-atlantic swap? Nichols of Westminster for Aquila? Would bring red hat in time after CMOC reaches 80. Just a thought.

  14. Would love to see Bishop Aquila appointed to the Diocese of Fresno. One million Catholics and over half are Latinos.

  15. Unfortunately, Bp. Ochoa got sent to Fresno. I am afraid that he will undo all that Bishop Steinbock did to keep the Diocese of track. It would have been better if Bp. Alex Salazar went there. i think that Bp. Aquila will go to Fargo and Bp. Conley will go to Lincoln. The question is... who will go to San Francisco and to Orange as well as to Baltimore. I tend to think that Abp. John Meyers of Newark will go to Baltimore.

  16. Bishop Jackels of Wichita? Has been in Wichita for 7 years... He's definitely a possibility in my opinion