USCCB: Archbishop Blair and Bishop Ricken up for Liturgy Committee Chair UPDATED 11-14

UPDATE 11-14: Archbishop Blair was elected today.

At the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) taking place this November 12-14 in Baltimore, a chairman-elect of the Committee on Divine Worship will be elected, along with chairs of other committees of the conference. The two candidates for the Divine Worship position are Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford and Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay.

Archbishop Leonard Blair was named auxiliary bishop of Detroit in 1999, bishop of Toledo in 2003, and archbishop of Hartford in 2013. Blair was part of the controversial doctrinal investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious under Pope Benedict which led to a five-year visitation (which was wound down ahead of schedule by Pope Francis). Blair criticized Network, the lobbying organization which has Sister Simone Campbell as its director, for not sufficiently emphasizing opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. He also attracted national attention by attempting to convince Catholics not to donate to the Komen Foundation for cancer research and prevention because they funded mammograms at a variety of health clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Blair was a member of a committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) involved in the production of the 2011 Roman Missal, which received mixed reviews.

Bishop David Ricken was appointed coadjutor Bishop of Cheyenne in 1999, and bishop of Green Bay in 2008. Ricken is a 2009 inductee in the Catholic Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame. As bishop of Cheyenne, he co-founded the very conservative Wyoming Catholic College. In his 2011 pastoral letter on priorities for parishes and the diocese, “Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive,” he wrote, “We renew our commitment to teach and preach about the importance of Sunday Mass and, the obligatory nature and privilege of honoring God in this way every Sunday in our parishes. We invite everyone to come to love the day of the Lord and the Sunday Eucharist as the source and summit of our lives as Catholic Christians.” He called for “excellent homilies and beautiful sacred music which will greatly enhance our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist (Mass).”



  1. A Hallowe’en-ish thought comes to mind that beatings will continue until morale improves.

    Whatever’s going on with Roman Catholic liturgy in the USA, I wouldn’t hold my breath that Rome spare much bandwidth regarding it for the foreseeable future. And I wouldn’t place too much hope in new episcopal appointments, either. Of course, things can suddenly change at any time. O Fortuna!

  2. What sorts of things would the committee work on over the next few years? Things seem relatively quiet (if not always tranquil) at the intersection of church governance and liturgy these days.

  3. I believe the bishops also have the option of voting for someone else not on the list, as happened when Bishop Kicanas did not succeed to the presidency in 2010.

  4. Interesting liturgy tidbit about Bishop Ricken (I recently lived in a neighboring diocese), several years ago he asked that all churches and oratories have their tabernacles (re-)located in the center of the sanctuary behind the altar (this was likely inspired by a similar directive in the neighboring diocese of Madison under the (in-)famous Bishop Robert Morlino). By my observation the vast majority of churches in that diocese already did so, so there wasn’t much controversy. He also has a close relationship with the local ICKSP oratory in Green Bay. He’d be an interesting successor to Archbishop Gregory to say the least.

    1. Mr. Freese,
      Just to clarify, the proper acronym for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is ICRSS (Institutum Christi Regis Summi Sacerdotis).

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