Bishop Kevin Vann's appointment means that one more foundation stone is in place in a critical - and rapidly growing - Diocese in the United States of America. Benedict the Builder continues to fortify the Church with living stones. When this papacy is recounted in history, Pope benedict XVI's apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate the new missionary age of the Third Millennium. His appointment of Bishops is key to that entire undertaking.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - In the wake of the announcement of Bishop James Conley's appointment to Lincoln, Nebraska we hear another announcement of good news, Bishops Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, will soon be the fourth bishop of Orange, California.
Benedict the Builder is placing the Foundation stones in place upon which will be built a firm foundation for the Church in the United States. She is being secured and made ready for the challenges we face. From the beginning of his service to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been about rebuilding the Church.
When this papacy is recounted in history, Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate the new missionary age of the Third Millennium. His appointment of Bishops is key to that entire undertaking.
I believe that Pope Benedict XVI will also be credited with stemming the slide of western civilization into a new paganism. The Church is the only hope to preventing such a slide. She is not some irritant, preventing progress, she is the very path to authentic progress and human flourishing.
In continuity with the 2,000 year teaching of the Catholic Church and helping to ensure that the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council within a hermeneutic of continuity, Pope Benedict XVI is re-securing the foundation stones of the Catholic Church in the United States in many ways.
His selection of Bishops proceeds from his unwavering conviction that the Catholic Church - and the message of authentic and true human progress which she offers the world - is what is most needed in this critical hour in human history.
What is happening in our Nation and the West constitutes a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, involving competing definitions of human freedom, human flourishing and human progress. The positions being espoused and lifestyles being affirmed as "progressive" by some currently using the term as a political label are anything but. They turn the clock back on true human progress.
It is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the fullness of which is found within the Catholic Church, that alone can paves the path to true progress!
Pope Benedict XVI is placing in pastoral leadership over the Catholic Church precisely the kind of Shepherds we need in this vital moment of Church history. He is leading the Catholic Church through a New Evangelization so that she can engage in a new missionary age. He just returned from another apostolic visit. While many would have delayed that visit to the Middle East, given the current dangers, he went right into the heart of it all! What a Pope!
Though things may seem to be getting darker, I believe - even more than I did on that day when I heard those words "Habemus Papem" - that Pope Benedict XVI is laying the foundation for the springtime that his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, prophetically anticipated. I know that in some Catholic circles the notion of a "New Springtime" is mocked. I will not join the cynics.
Let's consider some points of hope. One example is the Personal Ordinariates for returning Anglicans represent the beginning of a great homecoming in the Western Church. It was Benedict the Builder who championed their return and made it possible. Archbishop Vann was integral to the implementation of the historic Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter in the United States.
Pope Benedict drew the blueprint and championed the process, protecting orthodoxy and orthopraxy within a refreshing witness of legitimate diversity; offering a vision for the coming full communion of the Church more like the first Millennium.
We are witnessing under his papacy the beginnings of the longed for full communion of the Church, East and West, as the "two lungs" on the One Body of Christ begin to breathe together again in order to animate this new missionary age. Can it happen? Yes, it truly can, because it is the Will of the Lord. (John 17)
We are witnessing the recovery of the Catholic academy through the rebuilding of some institutions almost lost to the Church - and the building of new ones. We are seeing the flourishing of good, solid theological and philosophical work - along with a flourishing of the arts and human culture led by the Church - as we have seen in ages past.
This task of rebuilding the Church - so that she can win the world - has not been easy. And, it will probably become even more difficult. The old adage is true; it always seems darkest before the dawn. Those who wanted to try to change the teaching and doctrine of the Catholic Church are deeply disappointed.They were unsuccessful.
However, for those who hunger for a vibrant, faithful, dynamically orthodox Catholic Church, the source of all truth, the God who is Truth has once again been faithful to his promise to Peter, "upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her". (Matt. 16:18)
Bishop Kevin Vann's appointment means that one more foundation stone is in place in a critical - and rapidly growing - Diocese in the United States of America. Benedict the Builder continues to fortify the Church with living stones.
Bishop Vann was courageously standing out front in the defense of the First Freedom, Religious Freedom. His was one of the first of multiple lawsuits filed against the Obama Administrations "mandate" which seeks to compel Church outreaches to violate their deeply held religious convictions in direct contravention of the First Amendment's protections.
He served the Fort Worth Diocese with great distinction, always evidencing what I like to call "dynamic orthodoxy". He is in love with the Risen Lord, faithful to the Magisterium and happy! Being faithful to the Church does not mean being cranky! Having one more Bishop filled with joy, hope and genuine affection for all men and women is critical in this hour.
This combination of living faith, unwavering fidelity to the Magisterium and human warmth seems to be evident in all of the recent Episcopal appointments made by Benedict the Builder. Though I do not know Bishop Vann personally, I have heard repeated testimonies of his pastoral warmth, holiness, genuine compassion, theological depth and likeability from people I trust.
Finally, I admire the fact that he is one of a growing number of "Bishop Bloggers", immensely comfortable with the technologies which are so essential to the work of the Church in this hour. His excellent contribution can be found on "Shepherd of Ft Worth" http://fwbishop.blogspot.com/ I trust he will change the name soon.
Bishop Vann will soon lead the tenth largest and fastest growing Diocese in the United States. Rocco Palmo of the "Whispers in the Loggia" offered comments from this good Bishop as he prepares to take the field
We offer some excerpts below which reveal the humility, humanity, holiness and hope so obviously present in the character of this good Bishop. We ask our readers to pray for him and for the faithful he will now care for as Christ's Shepherd:
"Dear members of the media present today, and all who are here. I am very grateful for your presence and for your welcome. I especially thank Bishop Brown and [vicar-general] Msgr. [Michael] Heher for their wonderful welcome. .
I have learned over the years to try to place each day, every decision in the presence of the Word of God as it starts, to surround me and guide me, and all of us. Today is the feast day of St. Matthew, Apostle and evangelist. The first reading for today's feast day in the Church's calendar is from St. Paul to the Ephesians when he says:
"Brothers and Sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
I cannot think of a better section of Sacred Scripture for me, for all of us today, to describe to what we are called as the Body of Christ. One of the many blessings I have learned from the Hispanic people is that the Church called by them as the "Family of God".
And, that, I believe with all my heart is who we are: this is what I have learned from my years in Fort Worth, and from what I have learned about all of you so far from Bishop Brown. You see, when Bishop or a priest is transferred from one parish to another or one Diocese to another, they leave one family behind and gain another.
I have so much to be grateful to God for the people of the Diocese of Fort Worth, and north Texas and beyond. I will miss them very much. But, I promise that as we grow together in this exciting and dynamic time of the Diocese of Orange, I will love you and do my best to serve you, with the Lord's help. That is one thing I learned in Fort Worth, and what I will live here.
We are at an exciting time here in Orange: with the acquiring of what will be Christ Cathedral, we have the opportunity - with the gift of God that this is, as Bishop Brown has said - to continue to preach the Word of God here. We are also at the beginning of the year of Faith, a time and promise of new energy and celebration of Faith as we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
I am truly blessed to be here with all of you now as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese, appointed by Pope Benedict. I thank Bishop Brown for his dedication, commitment and shepherding of all here in the Diocese, and promise my support and friendship for him in this new time in his life.
This is a time of transition in my own life to be sure, with the death of my mother earlier this summer and now my leaving Fort Worth and coming to you. The Diocese of Fort Worth and Diocese of Orange have many similarities.
But your welcome, warmth and vibrant Faith is a blessing and great encouragement to me. Being new, I cannot say that I have any plan or specific idea at this time. But as we live and strengthen the bonds of our Faith and family, I know that God's purpose and plan will be shown to us each day.
The patroness of the Diocese is the Mother of God, Our Lady of Guadalupe. As she leads us to her Son, we listen to her words not to ever be afraid or worried, but walk ahead always to her Son. Two years ago, Pope Benedict made his historic visit to England, for the beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman.
As we thank the Lord for this moment in time, and for the plans He has in mind for us, I can think of no better words than Newman's hymn: "Praise to the Holiest in the height and in the depth be praise: in all his words most wonderful, most sure in all His ways!"
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