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Gerald Kicanas passed over as leader of Bishops conference

If you’re up on the news this morning you’ve heard that the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops went against

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas

precedent and voted against elevating Tucson’s Catholic bishop to president of the group.

Gerald F. Kicanas, who came to Tucson to lead the diocese’s 350,000 Catholics nearly 10 years ago, received 111 votes to the 128 votes received by New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. The Times called it a “surprise pick” and labeled Kicanas as representing the “more liberal ‘social justice’ tradition of the American Church.” Normally, I think New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein is spot-on on her reporting, and maybe she’ll fill out the piece more as the day goes on, but right now it is in great need of some nuance. Let Godblogging supply just a tad.

First, Kicanas is about as “liberal” as I am pope. He’s a moderate that leans slightly right. Trust me, I used to write for the Catholic paper here, and as a columnist, my views were moderate and leaning slightly left. I’ve spent plenty of time chatting with him about various issues and more times than not, Kicanas sides with (or at least gives in to) the more “conservative” wing of the Church.

Second, saying that a Bishop who supports the Church’s longheld teaching on sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and welcoming the immigrant is “liberal” is just poor reporting. Kicanas is right down the middle on that one; simply because some conservatives see abortion as more important than other forms of social justice doesn’t mean other forms of social justice are liberal – or, God forbid, less.

Let’s give Kicanas the liberal test: Does he support women’s ordination? Nope. Optional celibacy for priests? Nope. Married clergy? Nope. Ordaining openly gay men? Nope. Does he fight abortion? Yes. Does he fight euthanasia? Yes. Does he fight war? yes. He is, in other words, pro-life, not just anti-abortion, and sits – for the most part – squarely in the moderate middle, for which many a Tucson Catholic is grateful.

But because he doesn’t fall off the cliff and refuse communion to politicians who support abortion rights, apparently some in the conference think he’s too liberal. That and the fact that groups like reared their heads and brought up the one thing they could find on Kicanas – that he approved the ordination of a man whom says Kicanas knew molested a minor. Kicanas denies knowing about the minor and knowing Kicanas – and having held him over a hot iron as a pretty aggressive reporter myself – I’m certain he didn’t. Did he make a stupid decision (as so many priests in leadership did 20 years ago) in allowing a guy was caught having sex with other seminarians to stay in the seminary? I’d say yes. But you know what, then I’d be accused of being biased against homosexuals in the priesthood. You can’t win for losing with that one.

But I digress. Point is, the conference may or may not have wanted to have the whole sex scandal brought up again and that may be why they voted for Dolan (although he’s obviously not clean as a whistle in that area either). But more likely than not, this vote has to do with abortion,  homosexuality and politics. Kicanas has not refused communion to politicians who say they support legalized abortion rights in some form or fashion, unlike other bishops who have said they would deny communion to such politicians. Ditto for politicians who are out and proud with support of same-sex marriage.

I’m fairly certain that if a group of let’s-abort-all-the-babies-we-can politicians showed up at the Cathedral en masse to make a statement by trying to receive communion, Kicanas would deny them. He would not be denying them because they were pro-abortion rights politicians, per se, but because they were showing up to mock the sacrament.

Some may say that a politician who supports abortion rights (or, the other bugaboo in the Bishops’ Conference, same-sex marriage) is mocking the sacrament. Yet, that is not the case. One can personally be against an evil and still think there is another way to end it other than ONLY through legislation. (Yes, really, people can think this.) In the end, the receipt of communion is between every individual and God. Period. Kicanas gets that. Apparently, the Bishops’ Conference – full of completely sin-free men, no doubt – doesn’t.


17 thoughts on “Gerald Kicanas passed over as leader of Bishops conference

  1. So far, you’re the only person who feels the need to discuss sexual orientation and pedophilia, so that discussion apparently presents issue only with you.

    The Vatican declared having a homosexual orientation inconsistent with the priesthood.  By actively admitting avowed homosexuals to USML, the administrators, including Kicanas, violated Vatican policy; and the seminary  faced investigation because of that fact.  This investigation or “visitation” became public long ago.  In the 1990’s far more seminarians at USML possessed homosexual orientations over heterosexual orientations.
    If outsiders know your previous bishop left under less than glowing terms, certainly you must.  Consequently, an astute newly appointed bishop would prove foolish to implement similar decisions that forced his predecessor out of office.  Kicanas possesses a great deal of savvy and chooses his battles well, so it’s no surprise he learned from the errors of the past through vicarious lessons at Bishop Moreno’s expense.
    Kincanas spoke ad naseum about tolerance when rector and dispatched conservative seminarians but not liberal seminarians.  Personality sets prove consistent after ages as young as five, and though people like to think others change – it proves highly difficult at best.  Kicanas tolerates conservatives when he must, including obeying superiors.  Had he not done so, he would not stay, just like his predecessor. Don’t mistake Kinanas carrying out the mandates of supervisors who ousted Moreno for changes of thought patterns; indeed research verifies little positive correlation between beliefs and actions.
    Certainly the contemporaries of Kicanas sent a clear message in the vote, and it would prove patently obvious to the learned prelates whom among their candidates proves most in allegiance and continuity with Rome and the Pontiff.

  2. The Bishop is WRONG!!!!!!!!!! He supports amnesty and ignores the facts! How many Illegals are in our prison system? 1 out of 3 or 4!   How many are here to commit crimes?  Their is a legal way to enter the country and become a citizen USE it!   The Catholic church is way off to the left! It’s funny that they are against abortion etc etc etc & yet a big number of the Catholic diosese votes democrat!   Bishop Kincanas’s stance on Immigration comes down to one thing & thats money!  Make the illegals legal get more members into the church and increase revenue!!! Nevermind the anti- christian democrats!!!  What a bunch of fools!

  3. First of all Tucson has had a Latin Mass community for many years that has rented space at a couple different parishes and they existed long before Bishop Kicanas arrived on the scene in ’03. Because of details related to a deceased Priest’s will, the Bishop declared the Latin Mass community an Oratory under the Institute of Christ the King in the summer of ’08. Kicanas has not allowed any parish to start up a Latin Mass per the request of parishioners under the spirit of Benedict’s Moto Proprio. He only allowed what was already there to remain! Like they say, “you know someone by who he hangs around with”. If you read what the Bishop publishes he will proudly tell you who he partners with to advance his chosen political agendas, like immigration/Obamacare/anti-SB1070/etc. One group he partners with is linked with Marxist Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. A couple religious groups promote abortion and homosexuality. Another group has many members who express ‘gay/sexual issues’ as their agenda of choice.  He stood in front of the press and TV cameras with the radical supporter of abortion, Rep Giffords. When opponents of Obamacare expressed their views in summer ’09 Kicanas was very concerned by “their lack of civility”. Of course when SB1070 protestors, on the day it took effect, marched with vile signs and walked on American flags 2 blocks from his office downtown and terrorized motorists on I-19 at Ajo, did the Bishop release a statement of  being very concerned by the “lack of civility” of the people who he politically associates with? NO! There are also many instances where Kicanas has spoken out to defend liberal causes/persons but remain silent when a conservative issue/person presents itself, often making himself look hypocritical because of his silence. When the conservative National Catholic Register published a blog on the Bishop’s allowing the sex abuse related seminarian to be ordained, he immediately wanted his point of view published to clarify his position, which NCR did. When the left wing dissident Rainbow Sash group publicly endorsed him a week before the election, the Bishop was SILENT. Why? As a person who has spent years working in analytical jobs, my radar screen turns very much to the left in analyzing Bishop Kicanas!

  4. The NY Post may consider itself to be Americas oldest newspaper, but they need some improvement with their copy editing.  IT’S Not Bishop Ticanas it’s Gerald F. Kicanas,, Bishop of Tucson.

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