Pope Francis has named Mgr Steven Lopes the first bishop of the ordinariate, which serves groups of former Anglicans living in full communion with the Catholic Church.
Bishop-designate Lopes, 40, succeeds Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, 63, who has led the ordinariate in the United States, called the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, since Benedict XVI established it in 2012. The Vatican announced the appointment and Mgr Steenson’s resignation at the same time.
Mgr Steenson said: “This is the happy outcome of much careful consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom I first made this request almost a year ago. I welcome this news with all my heart, for the ordinariate has now progressed to the point where a bishop is much needed for our life and mission.”
The ordinariate, similar to a diocese, serves parishes in the United States and Canada, its offices in Houston, Texas. Mgr Steenson wasn’t eligible to become a bishop because he is married. After 28 years of ministry in the Church of England and in the Episcopal Church in the United States, he and his wife were received into the Catholic Church in 2007. He was ordained a Catholic priest two years later.
Bishop-designate Lopes, who was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 2001, has worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2005. Since 2012 he has served as secretary of the Vatican’s Anglicanae Traditiones commission, which was responsible for developing Divine Worship, the new missal for use by ordinariates. The missal combines elements of the Catholic and Anglican liturgical traditions.
Although Bishop-designate Lopes was not raised in the Anglican tradition, Mgr Steenson said he had worked so closely with former Anglicans and with the establishment of the ordinariates for them that “there is no one who knows better” the personal stories of those who joined the Catholic Church, as well as the history of the creation of the ordinariates for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining elements of their Anglican heritage.
Bishop-designate Lopes was born April 22, 1975, in Fremont, California. He studied philosophy at the University of San Francisco and at Leopold-Franzens University in Innsbruck.
German Church article a ‘lazy slander against Africa’
An article on the German Church’s official website has been criticised as being a “lazy slander of African Christians”.
Björn Odendahl, editor of Katholisch.de, said in an article published on the site: “Of course the Church is growing [in Africa]. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith.
“It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions [of faith]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides.
“And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.”
Leroy Huizenga, writing at First Things, an American Catholic journal, said: “It beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the conference’s official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated.” Mr Huizenga is chair of human and divine sciences at the University of Mary, North Dakota.
Church condemns shootings
A priest who celebrates Mass every week outside the Planned Parenthood clinic targeted by a gunman has said the shootings were the antithesis of the pro-life cause.
Fr Bill Carmody, said: “We want the conversion of Planned Parenthood, not their destruction. The pro-life movement has no place for violence.” Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs said the shooting, which killed three people, was an “act of pure evil”.