Burke said he will leave St. Louis for Rome at the end of August, but that because St. Louis is an archdiocese, the Vatican would be apt to name a successor soon. He would not mention candidates but said he would consult privately with Benedict to recommend bishops who would fit well in St. Louis.So, "Who will be the next Archbishop of St. Louis?" My own opinion is that either one of the two Kansas City Bishops could easily be chosen to return to St. Louis from whence they came. Both men are tall and strong Catholic bishops who have recently and successfully instituted reforms to strengthen the Church in the two dioceses of Greater Kansas City.
Their efforts have resulted in creating a new program to confront the evil of pornography, significantly cleaning up two diocesan newspapers of unorthodox opinions, instituting a major annual celebration of the Holy Eucharist, supporting Catholic communities that treasure the old Latin Mass, reforming Catholic education by appointing new and energetic personnel faithful to Catholic doctrine, etc.
Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO is a likely candidate because of his public relations/news media background that makes him an interesting and articulate leader, and who has been mostly successful in rebuilding the Kansas City diocese with loyal Catholics. Here's how Rocco Palmo of "Whispers in the Loggia" described Bishop Finn in his confrontation with uncooperative liberals who once controlled diocesan structures when Finn first came to Kansas City:
And anyone who has an eagerness for all-out warfare in Kansas City doesn't know Bob Finn and how he operates. He's way too smart -- and effective -- to be a polemicist. In his prior incarination as editor of the St. Louis Review, Finn did block an ad for a talk being given at St. Louis University by John Allen because of the editorial stances of Allen's employer. It caused a similar tempest in a teapot at the time in the Rome of the West.The other Kansas City Bishop is Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who perhaps has the better chance of replacing Archbishop Burke. This affable St. Louis native is just as good a writer as Bishop Finn, and he has shown substantial strength and wisdom in publicly instructing Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until she repents.
If anything, it seems, the more constructive (and, ergo, preferred) strategy would be not to defang the Reporter but to build up the Catholic Key as a faithful, well-crafted, informative and orthodox alternative to the gang down the street. That'd be very much in keeping with Finn's earthy, nonconfrontational style and his savvy for building the church in its best light. If anyone could pull it off credibly, it's Finn.
Sebelius is a strong pro-abortion "Catholic" who was the featured speaker last year at Planned Parenthood's annual fundraising banquet. [Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion provider in the U.S.] Gov. Sebelius is considered a front-runner for selection by Senator Obama for his vice-president.
Both Bishop Finn and Archbishop Naumann are gentlemen committed to the Catholic faith. St. Louis could not do better than to receive either of them as the new Archbishop of St. Louis. Of course, many, many Kansas City Catholics would mourn either one of them leaving us.