Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From Alaska to Texas — A New Bishop

It was announced this morning that P. Francis has named Edward Burns, previously bishop of Juneau, Alaska, as bishop of the Diocese of Dallas. The Diocese of Juneau had been rocked by sexual abuse scandals when Bp. Burns was installed there, much as Dallas had been before Bp. Farrell. Juneau is a very small diocese, but its lack of a Latin Mass still has some Tradistanis worried. I suppose time will tell if Bp. Burns will be friendly to the traddy community or antagonize it like some earlier Dallas bishops.

Some of Burns' articles can be read on the Juneau Diocesan website, and he has a handful of videos on YouTube. He has the same set of talking points as most USCCB bishops: immigration reform, mercy, tear-jerking pro-lifeisms, promotion of lay ministry, anti-capital punishment, etc. In that regard, at least, he will not be a surprise.

Please pray for Bishop Burns, a successor of the Apostles with the grave responsibility for many souls. May he be as St. Nicholas: "Eschewing the company of women, humble in receiving all things, profitable in speaking, joyous in admonishing, and cruel in correcting."

He will be officially installed on February 9, 2017.



  1. The progressives don't really have the numbers now among the prime bishop-age cohort to put a McElroy or Cupich in every open diocese. Burns seems more typical of what you see now in new Francis appointees here: John Paul II men with some modest Francis polishes, working a little harder to balance their old Wojtylian pro-life bonafides with the right talking points on immigration, death penalty, and mercy, mercy, mercy.

    If he were taking over a decaying Northeastern or Midwestern diocese he'd be hitting the lay leadership even harder, and would spend most of his time as a Decline Manager. Dallas however is the happy beneficiary of lots of Catholic immigration, so Burns will likely leave things mostly on autopilot. But time will tell.

    I second the St. Nicholas prayer.

    1. P.S. Speaking of decaying Northeastern dioceses, it just struck me that Burns is a Zubik protege - he's a Pittsburgh guy. (I guess lack of local connections didn't hurt him.)

      Which may help provide some clues as to how he might operate. That doesn't bode well for liturgical or devotional matters (Zubik seems to be at sea on this, fumbling toward a REBUILT model for lack of any better ideas) but Burns won't face nearly the pressures Zubik does. He is not taking over a diocese running out of laity and priests.

      I don't expect him to change much, for Tradistanis or anyone else. He really doesn't have to.

  2. Heartwarming to see such a measured post by J and response from Athelstane. My diocese likewise has a brand new bishop who seems to share the "John Paul II with some modest Francis polishes" disposition, but in our situation the previous bishop was very traditional... consequently, local internet trad circles are alight with gossip and, what is to me, an overly heavy-handed and obnoxious 'spiritual warfare' pessimism.