Friday, January 30, 2009

Live God's will, new archbishop tells crowd

Archbishop Allen Vigneron called upon the bishops, priests and laity of the Archdiocese of Detroit on Wednesday to commit themselves to lives of love and total abandonment to the will of God.

Vigneron accepted Pope Benedict XVI's orders naming him archbishop of Detroit during a two-hour Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in front of more than 600 members of the clergy and other Catholics, some of whom had traveled from across the country.

Some in the cathedral said they attended the Mass to welcome Vigneron to Detroit.

"This is a momentous event for the archdiocese, to have a new leader," Daron Gifford of Troy said of the event that occurs in most Catholic archdioceses about twice in a generation.

"He is bringing a message of hope to the archdiocese, especially in the troubled times we have now."

During his first sermon as archbishop, Vigneron summoned an image of Jesus Christ freely accepting his Crucifixion.

"In every age, the wisdom of this crucified love has been mistaken as foolishness by many," he said.

"It is certainly so in our own time, with our own ethic of radical autonomy, which in exalting the rights of the individual sees no sense in sacrificing oneself, and one's comfort, and one's convenience for the love of others."

Vigneron said the lesson of such love makes the difference between a life lived in pursuit of riches and acclaim and one lived discerning God's will, between protecting the lives of others and the violation of the right to life and between attending to the happiness of one's family and thinking the family exists for one's happiness.

"This wisdom of total abandonment to God and his will for us does not direct us to turn our backs on the events or circumstances of this age," he said.

"Rather, it teaches us to see that the trials and triumphs of our times are guided by our heavenly father's loving providence.

"This wise love -- this crucified love, this love of Jesus Christ -- is our main source of strength in these challenging economic times," Vigneron said.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Vigneron said that amid economic challenges he would seek to keep open Catholic schools, that he hoped to vitalize the role of the laity in the archdiocese -- though not in administrative roles -- and that he viewed the ethnic and racial diversity of Metro Detroit as one of the great strengths of the region.

"One of the parasitic viruses that we have lived with here for generations is racism," Vigneron said. "There are some wonderful priests who in the past have tried to combat that. I think we still work very hard at that."

Vigneron also said he would seek to continue interfaith work begun by Cardinal Adam Maida.

And, when asked, he addressed the concerns of many Jews in Metro Detroit that recent actions by the Vatican are affronts, including the restoration of an excommunicated British bishop who publicly questioned some of the historic facts of the Holocaust.

Vigneron said Pope Benedict XVI had intended the action as "a move towards reconciliation and in no way is it meant as any sort of endorsement of the views about the Jewish people or the history of the Jewish people."

"The Catholic Church remains committed in its outreach and reconciliation with her older brothers and sisters among the children of Abraham," Vigneron said.

"I would do everything I could to try to reaffirm that and to confirm that I'm very sure that that's the pope's attitude." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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(Source: DCN)