Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/1/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln have received a tremendous gift from the Lord.

Bishop James Conley is one of those whom I have called "Benedict's Bishops". He was installed as the Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska at 2 pm on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. His homily, reflecting this holy man, was focused on holiness. Clearly the New Evangelization has taken root in the heart and the ministry of Bishop James Conley.

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

12/1/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, New Evangelization, dynamic orthodoxy, Pope Benedict XVI, St Gregory the Great Seminary, Bishops, Benedicts Bishops, Deacon Keith Fournier

LINCOLN, NB (Catholic Online) - I make it a regular task to call attention to the wonderful Bishops we have in the Catholic Church in the United States. 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, I believe that 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 a 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. Of course, there is much work to be done. 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. 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.

Bishop James Conley is one of those whom I have called "Benedict's Bishops" in my articles over the last year. He was installed as the Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska at 2 pm on November 20, 2012 in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. His homily, reflecting this holy man, was focused on holiness.

He turned first to his brother Bishops, telling them, "If the Church is to flourish in the world today, if the New Evangelization is to really take root, if we are to truly build a culture of life, holiness must begin with us." He then spoke to his priests, asking for their prayer and pledging his own for them.  He told them, "You were made for greatness. We are all made for greatness. And your bishop wants nothing more from you than sanctity. The Church needs holy priests now more than ever. "

In a beautiful homily on the Sacred Heart, he told all present that "Our sufferings can transform our hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They can allow us to love as Christ loves". His affirming challenge to holiness was extended to the consecrated religious, seminarians and to the lay faithful whom he reminded, "Your greatest vocation is to holiness. Your holiness can transform the world."

Bishop Conley's appointment to succeed the heroic defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, was a welcome announcement. He is a true son of the Catholic Church who understands the great gift of the teaching Magisterium. He is unabashedly and uncompromisingly Catholic to the core. Yet, he also has that extra asset so necessary in our age, the gift of evangelical joy.

Bishop Conley is only 57 years old. He is dynamic, spiritually and physically. I met him several years ago when I spoke at the Diocesan Conference in Denver. However, I had followed his heroic defense of unborn children - and admired his courageous support of those who stood on the front line of the Pro-Life effort - for many years.

I was well aware of his dynamically orthodox Catholic Christian faith through the testimonies of people whose lives he had touched with his infectious love for the Lord and His Church. They were always eager to share their experiences. That should be the hallmark of a truly good Bishop,  that the faithful not only love him but bear witness to his ministry in their own lives. 

He also has a compelling life witness. Bishop Conley was raised in a Presbyterian family in Wichita. He hungered for the fullness of truth and entered into the full communion of the Catholic Church when he was a junior at the University of Kansas. It is an interesting fact of contemporary Catholic life that so many Christians from other communities are not only entering the Church but becoming a much needed resource for its genuine renewal.

One has only to look on the bookshelves in Catholic and other Christian bookstores, or check the CD and DVD rack in the back of so many parishes, to see what I mean. "Converts" and "Reverts" (former or fallen away Catholics who return home) have become one of the greatest resources of the new Evangelization in the Church.

They have encountered the Risen Lord and want to live in His Body the Church. They deeply appreciate and understand the gift of the fullness of the Catholic Faith and want to both know the teaching of the Church and live it fully. They are what I call "Catholic by Choice".  

The Bishop entered the seminary four years after he graduated from College and was ordained for the Diocese of Wichita in 1985. He is one of the many treasures of the Church who were trained at Mount St Mary's in Emmitsburg.

He has a deep knowledge of - and devotion to - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, another noteworthy convert to the Catholic Church. His Episcopal motto is "cor ad cor loquitur," which means "heart speaks to heart". That was John Henry Cardinal Newman's motto as well.

As a priest, Fr. Conley served fruitfully as a College Chaplain and for ten years as an official in the Vatican Congregation for Bishops in Rome.  His Episcopal service to the Church began in 2008 when he was ordained an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Denver under Archbishop Charles Chaput.

It was during the time he was in Denver that I had the privilege of meeting Bishop Conley. What was immediately evident in the encounter was his deep, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a man of great personal and pastoral warmth. Immediately upon meeting him you feel welcomed and cared for.

He has a gift of evangelical joy which catches you in its hopeful grasp and shakes any cynicism out of your weary bones. Let's face it, these are trying times and the struggle can wear on you.  When you encounter this Bishop, you just want to be in his presence. The experience reminded me of how people must have experienced Jesus when they encountered him. That should have come as no surprise I guess. This is a truly holy man.  

However, like so many of the episcopal appointments being made by His Holiness Benedict XVI, Bishop Conley possesses that dynamic living faith so vitally important in the times in which we live. He has had that "encounter" with the Lord which Pope Benedict so often addresses. He is, in the best sense of the phrase, an "evangelical" Catholic. In that regard, he reminds me of another great Bishop, the president of the Bishops conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

So, I was not at all surprised when the new Bishop of Lincoln quoted the Cardinal Archbishop of New York in his homily at the installation: "Last week in Baltimore, Cardinal Dolan put it like this: 'we cannot engage culture unless we allow him to first engage us. And, if we want the New Evangelization to take root, it starts on our knees with the conversion of our own hearts,"

Clearly the New Evangelization has taken root in the heart and the ministry of Bishop James Conley. The faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln have received a tremendous gift from the Lord.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful,you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

Horrific outrage erupts over proposed mosque in Virginia after Paris attacks Watch

Image of The Muslim community in Fredericksburg, Virginia has received support from the local Christian and Jewish clergy.


"Nobody wants your evil cult," declared a man at a zoning meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was lobbing his invective at several American Muslims there over a proposed mosque to be built there. "Every one of you are terrorists. I don't care what you say. ... continue reading

The revealing truth behind the traditional presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon Watch

Image of President Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to use the word


President Obama will pardon two turkeys - named Tom One and Tom Two - from a turkey farm in Modesto California on Thanksgiving Eve as part of an annual presidential tradition. Obama will make a few jokes with his family and then pardon the turkeys to live out ... continue reading

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

Planned Parenthood sues the State of Texas: Find out why NOW Watch

Image of The complainants maintain that planned intervention of the government is a violation of the federal statute and the 14th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.


Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit this week against the State of Texas for blocking its Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood says that the decision was motivated by politics - and not because of health care concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading

Terror threats spark shocking WORLD WIDE TRAVEL ALERTS Watch

Image of In either case, travelers can expect beefed-up security at airports in the coming weeks - and longer lines.


It is the start of the holiday season in the United States - and with the world still thoroughly rattled after the attacks in Paris this past November 13, travel alerts are in high effect. Even worse, those who decide to stay home through Thanksgiving and ... continue reading

Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, Catholics nurtured in the Anglican tradition, receives its First Bishop Watch

Image of Fr Randy Sly, a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012.On November 24, 2015. Pope Francis announced the appointment of ... continue reading

EVIL AGAINST EVIL: Mafia boss says his group will protect New York City against Islamist State Watch

Image of Now pursuing a screenwriting career, Giovanni Gambino says that following the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, protection is more important than ever.


It is highly ironic, an example of the kettle calling the pot black as it were . Son of New York mob boss Giovanni Gambino is warning the Islamic State that if they decide to take New York City on, they will have the mafia to contend with.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Suicide bomber and K-9 units in New York subway station - but it's not what you think (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES) Watch

Image of NYC emergency responders held a 3-hour drill at the Bowery subway station in Manhattan days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.


Following the Paris terror attacks, New York City teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday to stage a three-hour active-shooter and suicide bomber drill. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Only days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, emergency ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. John Berchmans: Saint of the Day for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • The unexpected thing one Syrian refugee did for Germany that will ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...
  • New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on'
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen, a thousand of ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67
62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr ... Read More