The following was provided to CalCatholic by A Shepherd’s Voice, the blog of Fr. John Malloy in San Francisco.
This morning in Rome the Holy Father named Bishop Kevin Vann, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Orange. Bishop Vann will replace Bishop Tod Brown, who has reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. Bishop Vann is 61.
The well-informed Rocco Palma gives a quick sketch of the new bishop:
Over recent years, it’s hard to think of a national project on which Bishop Kevin Vann hasn’t been intimately involved.
From serving on the three-member USCCB team that oversaw the Stateside implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus and mediating the bench’s oft-delicate relations with the nation’s Catholic hospitals, to filing suit against the Federal government over the contraceptive mandate of the Obama administration’s sweeping health-care reform, the 61 year-old prelate has cris-crossed considerably more ecclesial turf than the sprawling 28 counties of Northwest Texas he’s overseen since 2005.
Here are some examples of the bishop’s attitude in defense of life and the family:
In October of 2008 Bishop Vann, along with his brother Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, issued a joint statement clarifying the meaning of the USCCB’s Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document. The statement asserted the absolute centrality of legalized abortion to our culture. (All emphases in the original):
“Therefore, we cannot make more clear the seriousness of the overriding issue of abortion – while not the ‘only issue’ – it is the defining moral issue, not only today, but of the last 35 years. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, more than 48 million innocent lives have been lost. Each year in our nation more than one million lives are lost through legalized abortion. Countless other lives are also lost through embryonic stem cell research. In the coming months our nation will once again elect our political leaders. This electoral cycle affords us an opportunity to promote the culture of life in our nation. As Catholics we are morally obligated to pray, to act, and to vote to abolish the evil of abortion in America, limiting it as much as we can until it is finally abolished.”
He is very serious about this. In the runup to the 2004 elections, while serving as a Monsignor in Chicago, he said he would deny Communion to John Kerry and other pro-abortion politicians. The “Pro-Life” webpage of the Ft. Worth diocese has a full page devoted to exposing the evil of Planned Parenthood.
On the 2008 statement, Bishops Vann and Farrell go on to say:
“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, in paragraphs 34-37, addresses the question of whether it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil – even when the voter does not agree with the candidate’s position on that evil. The only moral possibilities for a Catholic to be able to vote in good conscience for a candidate who supports this intrinsic evil are the following:
a. If both candidates running for office support abortion or “abortion rights,” a Catholic would be forced to then look at the other important issues and through their vote try to limit the evil done; or,
b. If another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion. While this is sound moral reasoning, there are no “truly grave moral” or “proportionate” reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.
To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or “abortion rights” when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.”
His Excellency is equally clear on what marriage is, and what it is not, and what it cannot be. In a letter to the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, Bishop Vann wrote:
“Marriage is possible only between a man and a woman because it is only between them that the full expression of marital love is possible. In creation there is a unique complementarity between man and woman. Implicated in it is what Pope John Paul II called a “nuptial meaning”—a capacity for mutual self-giving which is total, extending to the depths of each person. The nuptial meaning of the body and of the person does not exist between persons of the same sex—they cannot have intercourse—and therefore a marital communion between them is not possible. It is thus that God’s will for man and woman to come together in a communion of love in marriage is written in the very nature of human beings. Such a union between persons of the same sex is impossible because human nature intrinsically does not allow for it.”
His Excellency also expressed gratitude that the TLM was celebrated in his (now former) Diocese of Ft. Worth.
Welcome to California, Bishop Vann!