Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


“Bernie” Jumps the Line…New Archbishop Coadjutor in Newark, NJ

September 25th, 2013, Promulgated by DanielKane

This likely represents the first authentic “Franciscan” appointment and the appointment engine is back in gear.

The Archdiocese of Newark is very, very troubled. Archbishop Myers is 72…typical retirement is 75ish. His axillary bishops are 70+. Francis is bringing in a young (54 years) bishop help out as coadjutor. A coadjutor immediately takes office at the time of retirement or death of the reigning bishop. He is a sort of bishop in waiting.

I am comforted by this appointment knowing that we too will get a “shepherd who smells like his sheep”. To me, this is a stellar appointment to a very troubled place. In time, we will get the same level of attention and hopefully, an bishop of similar quality.

Rocco, as always, does the heavy lifting and places this all into his interesting perspective.

Pray for Francis and it is never too early to pray for our new bishop – he’s out there some place.



29 Responses to ““Bernie” Jumps the Line…New Archbishop Coadjutor in Newark, NJ”

  1. avatar Frank H says:

    I believe the correct term is “co-adjutor”

  2. avatar DanielKane says:

    Thank you Frank H you are correct and I have edited the piece to correct the spelling.

  3. avatar ROBERT says:

    Frank H,
    How low can you go! Either is correct! [Daniel did leave a lot to be desired, but he is still reporting what’s going on. Thanks Daniel.]

  4. avatar Tommy says:

    All you right wing conservatives whined and moaned until you got rid of Bishop Clark.
    Well that was Benedict, this is Francis, you may not like what you get.
    And you deserve it

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Please provide an example of a time where this blog proposed (beyond a clearly stated opinion) something that is other than official Church teaching or bemoaned something that isn’t against Church teaching. If you cannot do so, then you are equating Church teaching with “right wing conservatism” and essentially calling Pope Francis a right wing conservative. Not sure if you saw the news where Pope Francis recently excommunicated a priest in Australia for espousing the very same views we’ve been battling in the DOR over and over again.

    you got rid of Bishop Clark

    hardly. Ratzinger was already familiar with +Clark from multiple incidents.

  6. avatar DanielKane says:

    Dear Tommy you are mistaken.

    Bishop Clark resigned in accord with Canon Law at the age of 75 and retired with the permission of the Holy Father himself a few months later. This follows over 30 years of service in the DoR. His retirement was well deserved. It takes a terrific amount of energy to lead hundreds of thousands of people, manage a multi-million dollar budget and cover thousands of miles of territory; not to mention evangelize thousands of the lost sheep of Catholicism. At the age of 75 he worked longer than the average American who retires at 65 and the average public servant who retires in his fifties. Of course, he still serves the local Church through prayer and the Sacraments.

    His resignation was totally normal and totally expected. It is time for another to assume his chair just as he did in the late 1970’s. Francis teaches one thing clearly – we do not get what we deserve – we get the love and mercy of the Father through the life, death and resurrection of his Son. Of that I am perfectly certain and in that I have hope.

  7. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    The harm Bishop Clark did to souls is immeasurable. He, through St Bernard’s institute promoted birth control. 50% of all couples who routinely use birth control divorce. 3% of those using Natural family planning divorce. And all the terrible sequella of divorce. Traumatized children, emotional suffering, poor, single moms.

    Bishop Clark never appeared at a public gathering of pro life people to protest abortion and he refused to preach about abortion because he “didn’t want to offend pro-choice women”.

    Bishop Clark promoted homosexuality. Shall we mention all the medical, social and emotional ills asociated with the practice of the condition.

    You seem very angry. I hope we can rationalize the discussion without calling each other names.

  8. avatar BigE says:

    The NFP stats are admirable….but I think they’re more a result of who is willing to do NFP, rather than being a result of actually using it. It’s easy to confuse correlation with causation. My guess is that divorce rate for those families is 3% whether they used NFP or not. I’ve seen stats that say the divorced rate for couples that attend church regularly is as low as 10% already. I hope they do more studies on the issue. It certainly is an interesting statistic.

  9. avatar Scott W. says:

    Well that was Benedict, this is Francis, you may not like what you get.

    Since Pope Francis is doctrinally sound as a pound, (who said that door to women’s ordination is closed, and excommunicated a priest in favor of it along with homosexuality), even the appointment of a confrontation-phobic middle-of-the-roader bishop would be a vast improvement over Bishop Clark by about 10^5. No one deserves falsehood and error.

  10. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E. If one is getting married, one needs to know all the data in order to make his or her marriage work. Who is willing to do NFP?

    This is why all couples getting married should be mandated to take the whole course and not simply an introductory lecture. The stakes are too high.

  11. avatar Ron says:

    Richard – a small point. Bishop Clark did not take part in any pro-life protests that I can recall – that is true – but I remember a public prolife prayer service at the Cathedral led by Father McKenna which Bishop Clark attended. I recall seeing him in the pews praying with the rest of us.

  12. avatar Tommy says:

    Daniel, we all know that their was nothing “normal” about the acceptance of Bishop Clark’s resignation by Rome.
    Normally a Bishop’s resignation is accepted upon the appointment of a new Bishop. In this case it was accepted two months after he submitted his letter and an Apostolic Administrator was named, now over a year ago. This is not “normal”
    Yes I am angry and probably one of the few who read this blog who genuinely have great respect and admiration for Bishop Clark.
    Now if I slighted some who did not appreciate the term ” right wing conservative” then I truly apologize. However this blog does seem to have an over abundance of conservative views.
    One thing I do admire about those who run this blog, you do not delete comments that take an opposite view of what is normally posted.
    That is very commendable.
    Unfortunately you probably won’t get a Bishop that will please every group within the Diocese but if he is a holy, sincere and caring man who will listen then most will be satisfied.
    My pick, Christopher Coyne currently Auxilary in Indianapolis . I doubt the chatter on here about Bishop Perry is real and makes no sense but we have seen some surprises so far from Pope Francis.
    And yes , don’t bother accusing me, I am a Vatican II, Call to Action left wing Catholic , but I am still Catholic.
    Thanks again for allowing the ” other side” to post. It shows real class

  13. avatar DanielKane says:

    Tommy – I want to say that discussions with self-proclaimed left of center Catholics (I being a mere Catholic)are often the most interesting. I tend to write and comment as if I were on your deck drinking a beer with you and I hope for the same respect and candor.

    Professionally I am a physicist. So I approach things via evidence, measurement and observation. I do not think that “we all know” much of anything.

    So, re-stating my understanding of His Excellency’s retirement, every diocese is different and many factors come into play when accepting the resignation of a bishop. As I see it, after 12,138 days of service, His Excellency has literally done all that he can do for the DoR and deserved the send off he received. Presently there are nine (9) vacant U.S. sees being run by an Apostolic Administrator and five (5) bishops serving from 2 to 20 months past their 75th birthday. I doubt that all the sees with Apostolic Administrators are “DoR-like” and all the sees with reigning bishops are (ahem) conservative. I will leave it for the scorekeepers who are liberal Catholics and conservative Catholics make the call. I remain a Roman Catholic, distinct from the little l and little c.

    I see Francis as simply Catholic. While he clearly has a preferential option to the poor, and desires to place into evangelistic perspective JPII’s personalism; he certainly can draw a clear and hard line when he wants to with his recent statement at the Matercare conference (which denounced abortion in the most strident language I have ever heard) and laicized and excommunicated an Australian cleric for his disobedience, promotion of the “ordination” of women and purported abuse of the Eucharist. All this in light of an unprecedented interview in America, of which I am certain you are aware.

    I am certain that there are issues and points of Catholicism that we disagree upon. Some points are disputable (say Communion in the hand or lay pastoral administrators or dancers in the liturgy)and some are not (female priests). I believe strongly that to read any Pope, in particular Francis, looking for a proof text for one’s pet Catholic cause is foolish and will soon be frustrating.

    It is most likely that the man selected for the DoR 10th Bishop’s appointment has this background (1) A JPII priest, philosophically formed and inspired by the Blessed soon to be Saint John Paul who issued the Catechism and Canon Law he studied (2) a BXVI bishop, who is appreciative of history, respects the liturgy and is doctrinally sound and finally (3) a Franciscan appointment – a man whose priesthood and episcopacy are shaped by JPII and BXVI yet he smells like his sheep and is a “boots on the ground” leader. He will be a father that leads with a firm, yet gentle hand.

    Earlier in this thread divorce was mentioned. Francis has called for particular sensitivity to the divorced. Of course, the teachings of Scripture – that God hates divorce(Mal 2:16) coupled to the lines that say “what God has joined, no man may separate” (Matt19:6)can not change nor will our understanding of it change.

    So, the pastoral response may just be first to welcome the suffering divorced person into our midst and acknowledge their pain – and our part in it. Then pastorally ensure that the candidates for marriage undergo a through vetting and formation. DoR policy is eight hours of formation and a 150 question quiz. I would suggest that this is insufficient and if my son or daughter presented for marriage, I would ensure that they get a through vetting (plus the 8 DoR hours). Our failure at marriage is self-evident. So thinking that Catholics will be able to divorce and re-marry is also incorrect. Thinking that there is no “scarlet D” but at the same time respecting marriage and the Eucharist is pastoral and correct. Catholics should marry better and less often – the marriage prep should SEND AWAY 30 – 40% of the candidates as being insufficiently prepared for the duties of marriage. Any reason is a good reason to NOT marry.

    Tom, I hope you hang out often and offer your points with evidence and not sentiment, especially as it pertains to my own efforts here.

  14. avatar y2kscotty says:

    It is interesting that Tommy is hoping for Bishop Coyne, the aux of Indianapolis. Several months ago, I also mentioned his name. Hard yo say if it would happen, but I suspect Coyne is on his way “up” and an appointment as an Ordinary would expedite that. He already has experience as an Apostolic Admin of Indianapolis before the appointment of their current Ordinary. Coyne is noted as a liturgist. But the main question would be: is he “pastoral” in the style that Pope Francis has articulated? I think he may qualify.
    On another point, I did find that Tommy’s original post struck me as gratuitously hostile in tone. But his second post appears to be more conciliatory and courteous. Although he labels himself as “left-wing”, “Call to Action”, that’s good for us to know. But I hope that he refrains from being confrontational – he should be informed that there is often enough interesting confrontations just within the presumed “right-wing” nature of many CF participants.
    When Francis said he isn’t “right-wing”, can we wonder if he’s “left-wing”? Probably not in the Call-to-Action sense, given his statement referring to women’s ordination.

    Also, Daniel’s remarks about Bp Clark’s retirement is perfectly correct and appropriate

  15. avatar Tommy says:

    Daniel with all due respect your assement of Bishop Clark’s departure is still off the mark . Their was no reason for Rome( ie Beneict ) to name a
    Apostolic Administrator when Bishop Clark was pertly able to shepard the Diocese until your new Bishop is named . I understand and know well the background and understand the pettiness in which the whole affair unfolded.
    Yes Daniel I am a bit sentimental that is who I am and make no apologies for that but while I am not physicist I am well read and a student of church history who follows closely what is going on , and understands well the politics of our church.
    Let’s just see what unfolds in the days and months ahead.
    Forth record I do not live in the Diocese but know the area well and have many friends there including lay as well as religious.
    I write my opinions having met Bishop Clark on a number of occasions and have folllowed his career for all of his time in Rochester.

  16. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I don’t see the pettiness of the actions in removing the bishop.

    I do think that his removal indicated how far the bishop’s actions had strayed from the majesterium and Pope Benedict wanted him gone. I see nothing wrong with that.

    If anyone wants to talk about diocesan politics, one has plenty of ammo when discussing what went on for 33 years in Rochester.

    I met Bishop Clark. He is a very affible man and is very “nice” in his public interpersonal dealings. You are. however, able to contrast that with what he did in his actions and there was clearly a disconnect, especially with individuals who crossed him and/or stood for majesterial teachings. He was not very nice in those situations. And we won’t talk about how he punished priests for simply following and preaching about the majesterium.

    People and clergy supporting the majesterium did not get a fair shake from him and his administration.

  17. avatar Scott W. says:

    Over at the Over the Rhine blog, there is some discussion about Aux Bp. Coyne. He is noted for his use of blogging and other media to communicate (nothing at all wrong with that :)), and first impression is that he is middle-of-the-road with one interesting anecdote that he honored a traditional parishes request and did confirmation in the traditional Latin form and (gasp!) the Church Universal did not implode. The DOR is in a good position–no where to go but up.

  18. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Before I question myself out of commenting
    on this post (I know nothing about other bishop
    appointments, have studied no statistics, nor
    do I know why or care that Bishop Clark’s
    resignation was accepted as soon as it was),
    I will ask a question and offer a link to a Voris

    Why do we use political labels like “liberal”,
    “conservative” to describe our Catholic faith
    in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ?

    Catholic faith is a theological virtue, a supernatural
    gift. We are all familiar with Paul’s Letter to the
    Romans and Dei Verbum 5, both of which make
    reference to “the obedience of faith”.

    One either has the gift of Catholic faith or as yet
    doesn’t. Perhaps these political labels better refer
    to different pastoral/mission strategies and not to
    The Faith.

    The Pope said he is not a right winger. Good,
    neither was Jesus.

    Vatican II called the Church to read the signs
    of the times. What say you, Has Michael Voris
    read the signs of the times or is he a right winger?

  19. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    A Cardinal/ Archbishop and a priest/theologian/evangelizer:
    Clearing up confusion?
    In Dialogue with the Dioabolical?
    Doctrinal and Pastoral?
    Left wingers or Right wingers?

  20. avatar Scott W. says:

    When labels are used as a substitute for thought, then yeah, it’s a problem. As shorthand descriptions used among a batch of intelligent adults like…everyone I’ve encountered on this blog, then insisting on Catholical Correctness (I just made that up. :)) just stifles the discussion.

  21. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    ….and when someone uninformed or not as intelligent
    logs on and reads those shorthand descriptions,
    the discussion isn’t stifled and the newcomer isn’t
    evangelized, catechized or helped to understand.

    Ok, Scott W, I had originally considered not commenting.
    Now I know why I should not have bothered.

    My ‘catholical correctness’ potentially stifles
    insignificant discussions.

    Thanks. I will know better than to stifle next time.

  22. avatar Scott W. says:

    ….and when someone uninformed or not as intelligent
    logs on and reads those shorthand descriptions,
    the discussion isn’t stifled and the newcomer isn’t
    evangelized, catechized or helped to understand.

    I think he’ll manage. Seriously now. We should be able to express our thoughts without being lectured like schoolchildren.

  23. avatar DanielKane says:

    Tommy – Feelings (sentiments) are important and necessary for relationships but fail to bring forward any truth in a discussion. And that is what we are discussing, right? Mutual seeking of truth, right?

    I can not argue how you feel. I know that spicy food feels different to me than it does my wife, it is hard to argue how spicy the chili is when it is only about how you feel towards hot foods.

    At the same time, with respect to his Excellency’s timely departure or his Excellency’s untimely outing I can only confirm, as had many others, that each and every encounter I have had with Bishop Clark was an edifying experience from his installation in June of 1979 to a vocational breakfast in Auburn in the summer of 2012. A JOY to be with. So, while I might have a prudential argument with his decisions, man to Bishop, every encounter I have had, including two out of State, were great.

    After 30 years at the head of the DoR, His Excellency has made his imprint on the Cathedral, Catechesis and the USCCB. He has authored books outlining his pastoral theory and implemented his theories into practice. He has visited every parish many times, he has accepted and rejected priests, deacons and seminarians and has re-aligned parishes and schools. He has quite literally run the race. I will leave it to the judgement of history the prudence of his efforts but the breath and depth of his herculean efforts is beyond dispute.

    Now did BXIV think his Excellency a poor shepherd? I do not know. I think he simply ran the race and completed his tasks by the time he turned 75. He knew his deadlines and met them.

    From an executive standpoint it may be prudent to allow the office to remain fallow for a a few seasons so that (1) the new bishop does not appear to possess or not possess the approval of one so long in office (2) the “echo” of policies may fade and (3) reflecting on your sentimentality which is held by quite a few people – allowing the feeling to fade so that sober reflection of the next best step may be discerned. Maybe even (4) allowing the incoming bishop his own installation/ordination that is not overshadowed by the long, long goodbye of Bishop Clark who seems to intend to remain a local presence.

    Some day we will have a new shepherd. I would love Bishop Coyne on a dozen levels and would be challenged by a dozen more – just like my experiences with JPII, BXVI and Francis. To be Catholic is to be uncomfortable with the challenges of the leadership as they illustrate your own short comings that one typically attenuates with pride.

  24. avatar Tommy says:

    Amen Daniel, I saw few accolades regarding Bishop Clark in this blog which led me to my original rant.
    One does like to take a stand for people we like and admire.
    Had I seen just a bit more of what you have said about the Bishop, I would have been less critical.
    I do agree with you that it will be difficult for any new Bishop to take over after a 33 year reign.
    I understand completely as I am from the Albany Diocese and we lose a wonderful Bishop in the months ahead after a 36 year tenure and we are very axious and concerned for our future as well.
    As for my prediction about Bishop Coyne I may be off the mark, Portland Maine is open which is closer to his home and family in Boston the last Bishop came from . Or my own Diocese as well in that he is a great communicator and one needs to be in a Diocese containing the State Capital.
    So the months ahead will be interesting.
    Great articles today in the Albany Times Union on Bishop Hubbard and a separate piece on the succession process.
    This will be my last post about Bishop Clark, maybe there will be something else to rant about in the future.
    Peace to you Daniel and all good things.

  25. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I had sort of decided not to comment on this thread, but after all these posts, I still think there is a significant element that is missing. Everything we know about Bishop Clark wasn’t in the media or the public image, and there is no point in arguing from that base. I agree that Bishop Clark was a ‘nice’ bishop; he was polite in public, had an approachable image, seemed widely accepting (perhaps too much so, some would say) and welcoming. In spite of my differences with him, he was always, in person, polite to me. And maybe he did the best he could do.

    However, the public image did not convey what reading the pleadings to Rome would indicate. There were numerous complaints, from individuals and from groups, and significant personal investment of individuals and of parishes in pleading for relief under Canon Law. People don’t make such investment in time and treasure to bring their cases before the Curia and Apostolic Signatura on whim.

    One of Bishop Clark’s key strategies in dealing with sincere, even agonized, complaints was simply to ignore, to minimally respond when necessary under Canon Law, to refuse dialogue, to stretch timelines until after the pain had already been inflicted, and to use and approve double talk (like “St. Thomas the Apostle is NOT closed.” Oh, really?) Rev. Matthew Clark spent a lot of time in Rome, before becoming a bishop. He was well connected; some Rochester-based complaints seemed never to see the light of day in the Curia.

    What I believe Bishop Clark was most handicapped by in his shepherding was his lack of significant experience in being a simple pastor in a parish, close to how the people think and feel, and what they really need; i.e. what Pope Francis calls the smell of the sheep. Bishop Clark created space to accommodate their hot buttons, whether in his writings pro-women’s ordination, or gay Masses, or incredible delay in handling the Spiritus Christi situation. Perhaps if he had first spent about 10 years as an on the ground pastor of souls, his actions wouldn’t have been so Curial. The greatest service to souls is to lead them to salvation the way Christ intended, not in the way that just makes them feel good, as supposedly with clown Masses, half-dressed dancers or LGBT support. Or closing schools and churches when the wolf was at the door. It is all really very sad.

    But I do not see the rapid acceptance of Bishop Clark’s resignation as mean-spirited. I see it as Rome’s response, finally, to the often expressed needs of the flock. I have seen just a few of the communications to Rome; I am assured by those who know that there is a very large volume. Some people wondered why nothing ever seemed to happen with their complaints (although front page D&C pictures mailed to the Pope showing Mary Ramerman elevating the consecrated host is an example on one quick response!)

    There were reasons. It is VERY difficult to remove a bishop. And if he is moved elsewhere, then other souls are affected. The lack of promotion to a larger diocese, over 33 years, is one indication that two Popes were not pleased with him. Another visible sign to the flock was the rapidity of accepting his resignation. That isn’t mean-spirited; it is just — JUST. If it had not been accepted rapidly, it would have been one more slap in the face to those who “faithfully” had complained and begged for relief. It may even have figured into Pope Benedict’s own timing, to stay on until something necessary had been completed. My understanding is that Pope Benedict actually had accepted the resignation on Labor Day (not an Italian Holiday) in September 2012, his first day back from vacation rest at Castel Gandolfo, and that Cardinal Dolan as the Metropolitan interceded to wait until after the celebratory good-bye Masses were held, which Pope Benedict accommodated graciously.

  26. avatar DanielKane says:

    Very well put DH.

  27. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I think Bishop Clark did his perceived job to try and change the Catholic Church. All of what Diane mentioned ws his ploy(s), to minimize opposition to his agenda. And I must admit he did it well.

  28. avatar Rich Leonardi says:

    What I believe Bishop Clark was most handicapped by in his shepherding was his lack of significant experience in being a simple pastor in a parish …

    Significant time, e.g., ten years, as a pastor should be a prerequisite to episcopal elevation.

    Many of Cincinnati’s problems under Archbishop Schnurr can be traced to the fact that he never served as pastor over a parish. He is a lifelong bureaucrat, and it shows in his decision-making. With Clark, that sort of background was coupled with infidelity, and the results were disastrous.

  29. avatar Tommy says:

    Beware Rch, Schnurr may be in the top 5 list to be the next Rchbishop of Chicago and a red hat.
    Look at the history of this Archdiocese and his background and it could happen.
    I would love to see Wilton Gregory return to his home but that’s probably not going to happen.

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-