Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver as the new bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, succeeding Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who is retiring at the age of 77 after two decades as bishop.
Under Bishop Bruskewitz’s leadership, Lincoln consistently led US dioceses in the ratio of seminarians to Catholics, and his diocese remains the only one in the United States that forbids female altar servers. In 1996, he gained national attention when he decreed that Lincoln Catholics who persist in membership in Call to Action, Masonic organizations, anti-life organizations, and the Society of St. Pius X face automatic interdict and excommunication. More recently, he was responsible for the majority of the translation of theCompendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church into English.
Bishop Conley, 57, is a convert to Catholicism; he was received into the Church at the University of Kansas as a student in John Senior’s Integrated Humanities Program, an innovative great books program that was ultimately suppressed by the university. Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wichita in 1985, Father Conley worked for the Congregation for Bishops and served as a pastor before his 2008 appointment as auxiliary bishop.
“I have great love and appreciation for the Tridentine, or ‘extraordinary form’ of the Mass,” Bishop Conley said in 2011. “But I also see how the ordinary form, the Novus Ordo, has nourished and sanctified the spiritual lives of countless souls over the past 40 plus years.”
“And yet … something has been lost,” he added. “Something of the beauty and grandeur of the liturgy. Something of the reverence, the mystery, the sense of the transcendent … the problem is not the Novus Ordo — but the license that people sometimes take in celebrating it. I would add that another big part of the problem has been the translations we’ve been using. There is a banal, pedestrian quality to much of the language.”