PopeWatch: Archbishop Leonard Blair



Few things are more important about a Pope long term than the bishops he appoints.  There are 5,065 of them, and of course any Pope can have personal knowledge of only a fraction of them, and therefore an appointment of an individual bishop usually says little about the views of a Pope.  However, Archbishops and Cardinals tend to come under greater Vatican scrutiny when they are chosen.  That makes the appointment of Bishop Leonard Blair to be the  Archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut.  Whispers in the Loggia gives us some background:

A protege of the now-retired Cardinal Edmund Szoka who served as secretary to the Michigan money-whiz during Szoka’s days as head of the prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and Governor of Vatican City, the archbishop-elect is best known on the wider scene as a linchpin player in the Holy See’s controversial doctrinal probe of the LCWR, the principal “umbrella-group” for the superiors of the nation’s religious women. In 2009, Blair was tapped by Rome to conduct the initial inquest into LCWR’s adherence to certain aspects of church teaching, at whose conclusion he became one of two bishop-assistants to the delegate for the CDF’s ordered five-year “reform” process, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch views the appointment of the new Archbishop as a positive development for those in the Catholic wing of the Catholic Church.  As Father Z notes, the appointment is driving all the right people bonkers:

Over at Fishwrap (aka the National Schismatic Reporter), venomous writer Michael Sean Winters threw a spittle-flecked nutty about the appointment of Most Rev. Leonard Blair as the new Archbishop of Hartford.

I won’t go into the details of MSW’s spittle-flecks.

I’ll just observe that, under Pope Francis, bishops are not being penalized for involvement in the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR.  They are being promoted.

The catholic left is working harder and harder to maintain their hopey changey patter about the most wonderfulest fluffiest pope ehvur.

They will eventually turn on Francis.

From your mouth to God’s ear Father.  Go here to read the Father Z’s blog post and the comments.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Bishop Blair is currently my Bishop (until December, when he goes to Hartford). He is an OUTSTANDING Bishop, and the people of Hartford are lucky to get him. When we were deciding whether to move to Ohio 8 years ago, the first thing I did was look to see whose diocese we would be in. If it was Cleveland, with the Bishop they had at the time, then NO WAY. But if it was Toledo, with Bishop Blair about whom I had read some very positive things (including a piece at First Things in which Fr. Neuhaus identified him as among the rising stars of what he called “JPII Bishops”), then I was on board. I thank God that Norwalk is in the Toledo Diocese! Bishop Blair has truly been a blessing to us.

    Bishop Blair is one of those Bishops who uses his column in the diocesan newspaper, not to engage in the sort of navel gazing that we see from many Bishops, but to teach the Catholic faith in a fully orthodox and faithful manner (you can read several examples over at my blog). No sugar coating, but without browbeating. The Catholic faith taught firmly and faithfully, but gently and by a man with a very gentle demeanor (I don’t recognize Mikey Sean’s caricature of an oppressive monster, which bears no actual resemblance to Bishop Blair’s kind smile and gentle nature).

    I knew that we would eventually lose Bishop Blair – I had figured him for the Archdiocese of either Cincy, Detroit, or St. Louis when those seats were vacant, and was much relieved when he wasn’t named for those. I am happy for him now that he will be Archbishop of Hartford, but VERY sad to see him leave us. However, I was cheered up the day the appointment was announced when I read Mikey Sean’s little meltdown at NCR. This is what I posted that day in response:

    “I live in the Diocese of Toledo. I LOVE Bishop Blair, and, though I am happy for him, I have been sad all day at his imminent departure.

    “Until I read this. Thanks for cheering me up. A little schadenfreude goes a long way.

    “God bless Bishop Blair, and may he provide the same solid spiritual leadership for his flock in Hartford as he did in Toledo. (And may that leadership provide cause for Michael Sean Winters to write many more angst-filled diatribes to brighten my day.)”</em"


    The fact that the same folks who've spent the last several days trashing a kind and holy man like Bishop Blair also believe that Pope Francis's papacy means that they are in the ascendance in the Church gives me cause for concern. But it's the fact that, to those folks' dismay, Pope Francis named Bishop Blair the next Archbishop of Hartford that gives me hope that those folks will once again find themselves sorely disappointed to learn that, yes, we have yet another Pope who is indeed Catholic

  2. One other thing: Bishop Blair will now be Archbishop in an archdiocese in which the Supreme headquarters of the Knights of Columbus is located. Himself, a member of the Knights, Bishop Blair will be a natural ally to them and will work closely with them in their efforts.

    BUT 4th Degree Knights should be aware that Bishop Blair has a STRICT no swords at Mass policy. Please be accommodating to Bishop Blair’s policy and DON’T be confrontational about it, as an idiot (who is on his way to being expelled from the Order) recently did in a face-to-face (literally in the Bishop’s face) confrontation following a Mass at Rosary Cathedral a couple of weeks ago.

  3. Anyone who understands the KofC membership imperatives knows that it is virtually impossible to be ejected from the organization, no matter the reason. (Perhaps only after excommunication.) Even death seems to be no obstacle to continued KofC membership. As for the exclusion of swords at Mass – that was probably the brainchild of the same liberal churchmen who decided to excluded the term “Church Militant” from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  4. Well, Bishop Blair is hardly a liberal churchman. I’m guessing Phillip is correct here. I believe Ohio is one of those states where the conceal/carry laws are such that if Bishop Blair doesn’t want weapons at Mass he has to have a policy banning them from Mass. He’s probably just being consistent in banning ALL weapons, including KofC swords.

    Doug is correct re: the difficulty of kicking someone out of the K of C. But I imagine getting into a Bishop’s face – especially the Bishop who will soon be Archbishop over the diocese in which the K of C is headquartered – and refusing orders from the ranking officer to “Stand down!” might just be one of those instances that will fast track that guy out of the order.

  5. Has any one of the “Nuns on the Bus” come forward to profess a vocation from God to become a priest(ess)? Are the LCWR demanding that God ordain them without a vocation to the Sacrament of Holy Orders? Are these women (poor only in orthodoxy) threatening the Holy Spirit WHO is God. When the government assumes total control of the virtue of charity, it prevents the church (We, the people) from exercising our free will in distributing help to the needy. Poverty control is indeed incumbent upon all people. It is called human compassion.

    Scraping the will of God, the human soul, from the womb is atheism at its worst. Abortion is a preemptive war against God, and the virtue of JUSTICE.

    To disarm the defenseless is hardly the virtue of Patriotism. I believe that it is good for Obama to know that parishioners are “carrying”, even at Mass, might have saved Thomas A Becket, and other priests and bishops murdered while saying Mass. It is time for people to take back their authority over ordnance.

    When a murderer exists in our midst, all people suffer jeopardy of life. When the state allows a murderer to live, all people suffer double jeopardy of life. This limbo rock played by the church and the state will be taken advantage of by our enemies. It will not be long before the murderer enters our church and murders.

    Convicted capital one murderers are now the only protected group. Babies are aborted and die. Old people are euthanized (see Terry Schiavo) and the body of people are subjected to the murderers. Murderers are armed and dangerous and are in our midst.

    The Pope’s body guards use their bodies to protect the Pope. Guns and swords are an extension of their bodies. Is St. Michael’s sword real? “The Word of the Lord is a two edged sword”

    ” refusing orders from the ranking officer to “Stand down!” might just be one of those instances that will fast track that guy out of the order.” Removing the K of C sword emasculates the order.

    Peace on earth to men of good will.

  6. “Removing the K of C sword emasculates the order.:

    Well, they’re going to have to live with it in Hartford the same way those of us in the Toledo Diocese have – i.e. realize that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, and if a holy and orthodox and faithful Bishop who otherwise fights the good fight says “No, not at Mass.”, then so be it.

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