The Gospel is the answer to a wounded society, the new bishop of Arlington said in the wake of the presidential election.
“We’ll continue to preach the Gospel,” Bishop Michael Burbidge told
CNA at a Dec. 5 press conference when he was asked what he would do as
bishop to promote unity in society and in the Church after a tumultuous
and divisive election cycle.
“Reminding us that we are all created in God’s image and likeness,” he continued. “We are all united as brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Burbidge was officially installed as the new Bishop of
Arlington, Va. in a Dec. 6 Mass at St. Thomas More Cathedral, with
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who serves as the Apostolic Nuncio to the
United States, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore both present.
Formerly the bishop of Raleigh for 10 years, Bishop Burbidge was born
in Philadelphia and served as Honorary Prelate to Pope St. John Paul II
before his ordination as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia in 2002.
motto which he chose as bishop in Philadelphia was “walk humbly with
He was also the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary until 2004,
and has continued to have an influence on vocations after that, having
served on the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Clergy, Consecrated Life and
Vocations and advising the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation
Bishop Burbidge insisted that listening will be a key part of his
first days as bishop, especially to rebuild unity within society and the
“We are a part of the human family, and share the common responsibility to build up the common good,” he said.
“And we can only do that when we respect and listen to one another,
even when we disagree, even when we have different perspectives, that we
do not label, we do not dismiss one another, but truly listen and
respectfully engage each other.”
When asked about his “vision for the pro-life cause,” Bishop Burbidge
answered that “we are united in protecting, at all times, the
sacredness of life and the dignity of every human person without
Speaking to the Latino community in the diocese, he said that “they
should be reassured that the bishops of the country are working behind
the scenes and in the public arena to do everything to make sure the
dignity of all human persons is being respected.”
He also outlined how he would engage and dialogue with local, state,
and national public officials.
The Arlington diocese spans 21 counties,
has a population of 600,000 Catholics, and sits just across the river
from the nation’s capital.
“As a bishop, I am mandated to bring the Gospel into the public
arena,” he said, noting that such engagement might not always be public,
but “many times privately and personally, where you can – where we have
a true dialogue.”