New Archbishop of Detroit

It was announced this morning that Allen Vigneron, lately Bishop of Oakland in California, has been named as successor to Cardinal Maida. Archbishop Vigneron takes possession of the see on January 28.

You might be interested to know that Archbishop Vigneron is a good friend of men such as Archbishop Burke.

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  1. jarhead462 says:

    Congratulations to His Excellency. Now he can get away from that horrible eyesore.

    Semper Fi!

  2. TNCath says:

    I’ve heard this is a very good choice! Speaking of Archbishop Burke, are their any rumblings of an upcoming consistory or replacement in St. Louis and/or New York?

  3. Andrew says:

    The diocese of Oakland isn\’t exactly known for being friendly to the \”Burk-likee\” types at all. I lived in the diocese for two years during his time as bishop, and as for him being anything like Abp. Burke, i guess i have to say \”i\’ll believe it when i see it.\”

    Maybe this will be a good chance for California to gain more solid, traditionally-minded bishops.

  4. SteveJ says:

    We will miss Bishop Vigneron; he has been a very good friend to the TLM, welcoming the Institute of Christ the King, and himself celebrating a Pontifical High Mass in the Exraordinary Form at our parish.


    PS I’m not sure what jarhead462 has against my town, but we will somehow manage to bear up under his/her displeasure.

  5. joe says:

    The friend of my friend is my friend, yes?



  6. jarhead462 says:

    Steve: I’m Sorry- Nothing against your city,I was referring to that (ahem) Cathedral. It is truly hideous.

    Semper Fi!

  7. SteveJ says:


    Steve: I’m Sorry- Nothing against your city,I was referring to that (ahem) Cathedral. It is truly hideous.

    Ah. Agreed on that; please forgive the shot from the hip. Next time I’ll remember to “think before posting”….


  8. Terry says:

    Yes I agree concerning the new cathedral. It looks like a disaster.

    Hopefully his theology is better than his taste in architecture.

  9. Woody Jones says:

    I was going to add the same comment about the cathedral; perhaps it was already in the works when Bishop Vigneron arrived, though?

  10. Diane says:

    This is very good news for us here in Detroit. I couldn’t post much this morning as news broke on it just before I headed out the door soon after 6:00. I plan on posting more later.

    I’d like to know more about that Pontifical High Mass he celebrated. When was it?

  11. Fr. BJ says:

    Hopefully his theology is better than his taste in architecture.

    If I am not mistaken, planning and construction for the Cathedral were well under way by the time that Bishop Vigneron got there. I don’t think he has as much control over it as would have been desirable.

  12. TJB says:

    Detroit also has an excellent Auxiliary, Bishop Daniel Flores, originally from Corpus Christi, TX. I know him to be a brilliant philosopher and a very holy man. I am sure he will be given his own diocese soon.

  13. Chris from St. Mary's says:

    It appears Fr. BJ is likely correct about that. More history about the new cathedral at and related pages.

  14. Serafino says:

    Yes, Bishop Flores is a fine orthodox bishop. Now that Bishop Edmond Carmody has reached the canonical age of 75, and will soon be on his way,(Te Deum Laudamus!) we are praying that Bishop Flores will return to Corpus Christi as its new Ordinary.

  15. Aelric says:

    Rocco, as usual, cannot avoid innuendo at “Whispers in the Loggia”:

    “where initial anxieties about the prelate’s conservative repute were effectively put to rest and he went on to win wide regard among his priests and people”.

    Note the apposition of “conservative” with “winning regard.” Funny, I don’t recall our Lord telling the apostles to go out and “win regard” amongst the Gentiles.

  16. peregrinator says:

    1) Fr. BJ is correct; the hiring of an architect, plans, funding work etc. for the new Oakland Cathedral were already complete before Bishop Vigneron’s arrival in the diocese. There wasn’t much he could do about it one way or another.

    2) In response to Andrew’s initial comment, (third from the top) living in the diocese for a couple of years is not enough to give you a very good perspective on Bishop Vigneron’s status as “friend of Burke.”

    I was born in Oakland and lived in the diocese for some 20-odd years, almost of all which were under Bishop Cummins. There has been a wonderful, palpable, (if not flashy) change in the diocese under Bishop Vigneron.

    While the diocese certainly has a long way to go, (it takes a while to repare some 25 years of stagnation) I offer this as an illustration. When I was a child, I cannot remember the diocese ever publicly supporting a pro-life event. Perhaps my memory is warped; nonetheless, I remember getting the distinct impression growing up that it was unacceptable in the Oakland diocese to be “too Catholic.”

    Under Bishop Vigneron, that seems to have changed. The diocese now officially particpates in local and national prolife events, and the Bishop has signaled his approval of things “too Catholic” by (for example) celebrating the TLM and the Pauline Mass in Latin.

  17. peregrinator says:

    Aelric, I stopped reading “Whispers” regularly because of Rocco’s slant. Plus, he tries to hard to be expert in everything everywhere. He had some analysis up after the election that misrepresented the situation in California pretty badly.

  18. jarhead462 says:

    Steve- Mea culpa, I was not specific.

    I think that the Cathedral looks a little like the NFL hall of fame, and the Alter and Sanctuary looks like it should be at the foot of Mount Seleya.

    Semper Fi!

  19. RBrown says:

    My understanding is that, as some have said above, the architecture of the new cathedral is the consequence of Bp Cummins’ 28 years as the ordinary of Oakland.

    Of course, the SF archdiocese has its own magical entry. Its cathedral looks like a giant washing machine agitator.

    And then there’s the Cardinal Mahoney contribution in LA . . .

  20. Liam says:

    Actually, the design for the cathedral was altered significantly after Vigneron’s advent in Oakland. The design of the new cathedral bears his impress, not merely those of his predecessor.

  21. Marc says:

    I can find a word or two of praise for the new Oakland cathedral, thus differing from you all; but am very glad to know that Mons Vigneron is a ‘Friend of Mons Burke’ and to be reminded that he is on the side of the angels.

  22. A Random Friar says:

    The Cathedral of Christ the Light, while it was not begun under Bishop Vigneron’s watch, had much input from him. I know him well enough to say that he really loves his (note I’m using “his,” not “the”) new Cathedral (minus the usual roof leaks that somehow always creep into buildings).

    We will miss him here in the West. He is a great voice for faithfulness. And yes, he is a great supporter of Pro-Life. God bless him. Ad multos annos!

  23. sacredosinaeternum says:

    Indeed, the plans for the new Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland were well underway before Bishop Vigneron arrived. However, at the presser this morning in Detroit, he named it among one of his “accomplishments” in Oakland and went on to praise it for its beauty, contemporaneity, etc. “Accepting” it and making it your own with great praise are two different things. Kyrie, eleison. That said, he is known to be a very orthodox and good man. A great appointment by our Holy Father to a major See. Let us pray that he will bring overhaul to Detroit!

  24. Folks: Isn’t discussion of the cathedral in Oakland a bit of a rabbit hole?

  25. A Random Friar says:

    Although I don’t think his prayers will help the Detroit Lions much, considering the state the Raiders have been in. ;)

  26. ED says:

    Archbishop Vigneron wasn’t responsible for the new cathedral,it was already planned by the modernist Bishop John Cummins. I would say on a scale for 1-10(with 10 being outstanding) he was a 4 at most,his predecessor was a 0. there are almost no orthodox priests in the Oakland diocee to work with ,any good ones were forced out years ago by Cummins,so he had nothing to work with, i expect he will be better in Detroit. Now for us on the West Coast we get ready for another appointee by Cardinal Levada ( hes on the Bishops selection committee in Rome and was former Archbishop of San Francisco) He has already selected liberal bishops in SF, Salt Lake City, Reno, Santa Rosa and San Jose. Please God bypass him and finally send some SOLID ORTHODOX Bishop to the West Coast a spiritual desert!!!!!

  27. peregrinus says:

    From what I have been reading here and on Catholic Answers Forums, this is a good sign for Detroit.

    Hopefully, he will be able to clean up the Arch-Diocese’s equivalent to the Left Coast (i.e the western suburbs).

  28. nick says:

    Vigneron is very happy with his Cathedral and could have prevented the whole thing if he wanted to. The $53 million abuse settlement could have been a good reason to delay such a costly project. His years here were almost completely occupied with placing this $100 million debt on the faithful of the Diocese. Like all of these “conservative” bishops of late, they all carefully advance their own career. Very little has changed in Oakland. He did not support his most faithful priests and gave in and even protected the many homosexual ones. He is a good friend to Burke, but he has no courage at all. He should have remained a professor.

  29. He’s a great choice. Here is a link to a great column he wrote in 2005 that reflects his mature, balanced sense of judgment:

  30. lizaanne says:

    Praying for our new Bishop – and hoping he will clean house! He will need all the prayers he can get here in Detroit – there is a great deal of liberalism he will have to deal with. May God bless him with wisdom, faith, and holiness.

  31. Maureen says:

    I’d be worried more if California or Oakland’s biggest problems were cathedrals that some liked and some didn’t — and some very orthodox folks have taken a liking to the place. I suspect it’s one of those modern buildings that can seem beautiful or blah depending on what’s going on and what the light is like that day. We have a big glass-walled library at a university in my town, and I didn’t think much of it when it was first built. But it really can be a noble and uplifting space, depending on how it’s treated and what the weather’s like.

    Anyway, Detroit has a lot of economic and religious stuff going on, some good and some bad, and that’s what Vigneron has to deal with. Detroit is not running low on churches, so nobody has to care about V as a builder of churches. More info is needed on topics more relevant to his future doings.

  32. A Random Friar says:

    Bishop John Cummins supported the Latin Mass at St. Margaret Mary, btw, back since 1989 and has celebrated it himself there a few times, I believe, and various confirmations.

    And I agree with Maureen: Christ the Light Cathedral is not my cup of tea, but many solid, orthodox priests I know love the place (and many agree with me). Oh well. I will file this under “De gustibus non est disputandum” and move on. The one thing I know we all agree on is that the confessionals really need some soundproofing. Too open and echoing. But that can be fixed. Pretty much everyone I know seems to think that the organ will be magnificent when it’s fully in place.

    I think Bishop Vigneron dealt with some difficult situations in Oakland very well and prudently. I know some will disagree, but I don’t think anyone has the full picture (me included — I’m outside his see).

  33. A good choice…being away from the left coast is good for HE’s soul :)

  34. TJB says:

    Serafino, Yes that would be wonderful for the Diocese of CC, though I know that Bishop Flores was sent to Detroit because he is fluent in spanish and there is a large hispanic community there. So it seems unlikely that he would be moved unless another spanish Bishop can be assigned to Detroit.

  35. Savonarola says:

    The important first step for the new Archbishop will be to clean out chancery personnel totally before he becomes their prisoner.

  36. Amelia says:

    Bishop Vigneron won my affection when I watched him hammer Bp Trautman at a USCCB conference.

  37. lizaanne says:

    Savonarola – I could not agree with you MORE!!!!! AMEN to that!!!

  38. Deirdre says:

    Prior to Bp. Vigneron, perhaps under 10 parishes offered regularly scheduled Eucharistic Adoration – now over 50 do. (See, for example).

    Prior to Bp. Vigneron, I cannot recall much support from the diocese for the pro-life movement. In the summer of 08, the Diocese of Oakland co-sponsored a conference on Humanae Vitae. Bp. Vigneron walks in the Walk for Life, and, immediately after the Supreme Court struck down the ban on Same Sex Marriage, issued a strong statement in support of marriage.

    Prior to Bp. Vigneron, the Cathedral was designed to be in the round – now it has a definite orientation towards the altar. Sure, Bp. Vigneron affected the design of the Cathedral – but for the better.

    There are many ways of having a backbone: sometimes you crush those in opposition to you (heads rolling, etc.) and sometimes you gently persuade them.

    His Excellency, Bishop Vigneron, has been a blessing for our diocese, and we are very sad that we are losing him – but happy in his elevation.

    For all you Bp. Vigneron naysayers out there – I say, with the utmost sincerity – thhhbbbpt! – and I’m praying for you. :)

  39. TJM says:

    The people of Detroit are indeed fortunate to have Archbishop-designate Vigneron as their new shepherd. He’s orthodox, a supporter of traditional
    liturgy, including the EF, and is a native son to boot! Tom

  40. Lucy says:

    Could we in California please have a good bishop ? Is it too much to ask ? Why do we go sorrowful and be afflicted whilst other cities get good bishops ?

  41. TJM says:

    Lucy, you did have one – Bishop Vigneron. I’m sure help is on the way. Tom

  42. EJ says:

    Excellent news! Rather extraordinary that a former auxiliary bishop of a diocese is selected and recalled there later on as its Ordinary, though this was also the trajectory of then-Auxiliary Bishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow. It is also likely that he will be named a Cardinal in due time. May God bless and be with His Excellency.

  43. mpm says:

    Dear Deirdre,

    “For all you Bp. Vigneron naysayers out there – I say, with the utmost
    sincerity – thhhbbbpt! – and I’m praying for you. :)

    Is “thhhbbbpt!” what we call the “Bronx cheer” here in the NYC area? If
    so, thanks for showing me how it’s spelled! ;>

  44. Deirdre says:

    Dear mpm,

    It is precisely that. Here, we call it Giving a Raspberry. :)


  45. Ben says:

    Lucy wrote:
    Could we in California please have a good bishop ? Is it too much to ask ? Why do we go sorrowful and be afflicted whilst other cities get good bishops ?
    What about Bishop Jaime Soto?

  46. Joe says:

    Aelric, “apposition” is when two things are put side to side to show that they are the same referent. I think you meant the opposit, which isi “opposition”.

  47. matt says:

    I’d be surprised if Detroit remains a ‘cardinal’ see. At this point, the archbishops of DC and Baltimore have been bypassed, while a red hat was moved down to the south. Detroit may not have a cardinal again for a very very long time. This isn’t a reflection on the new archbishop, but the realities of where things are at nowadays in the area.

  48. Andrew A says:

    I really like Bishop Soto of Sacramento. He gave an amazing speech for gays and lesbians in which he reiterated Church teaching on the subject. He said that homosexuality is a sin! No one applauded. It was extremely courageous of him to speak the Truth to those people. I do not know about him liturgically, but he seems very orthodox theologically. Plus, Sacramento has quite a beautiful cathedral. I don’t think that all Californian bishops are bad.

  49. Bro. AJK says:

    Dear Matt,

    DC’s and Baltimore’s have not been passed over yet. Their former archbishops are still eligible to vote in conclaves. Witness Archbishop Vingt-Trois of Paris. He received the red hat only after Cardinal Lustiger was no longer eligible to vote in a conclave.

  50. Martin says:


    he has been a very good friend to the TLM,

    is not true. He has been at best lukewarm and has not provided any effective help to those who have requested the TLM from various corners of the diocese. The new cathedral has the NO in all kinds of vernacular language, but not a single one in Latin, not even a Latin NO.

  51. TJM says:

    Martin, I guess Bishop Vigneron celebrating the TLM himself isn’t good enough for you? Tom

  52. Maynardus says:

    Can’t believe His *Excellency* Bishop Gumbleton was passed over when the see of Detroit was to be vacated ;-)

    Oh, wait a minute, isn’t he over 75? That *must* be the reason!

    Tears are surely being shed over at the office of the National Catholic Distorter!

  53. A Random Friar says:

    One of my brother priests showed me a letter from the diocese to all parishes (not sure if it was Bishop Vigneron or his vicar, but I’m pretty sure it was him), speaking of three current TLM’s in the diocese, and asking if anyone was willing to train to do supply work in case the priests had to go on vacation, supporting anyone who did so. He may not support it as much as you’d like, but he certainly does support it.

  54. Joseph Ravago says:

    I had the opportunity to be Bishop Vigneron on a trip with the Patron of the Vatican Museum. He said he was
    studying the churches since Oakland was building a new Cathedral. Unfortunately, none of those lessons
    were used in the design the new Cathedral.

    I am glad that he has supported the Institute and the TLM.

    I pray that he will successfully lead the Faithful in Detroit.

  55. Martin says:

    No, it certainly is NOT sufficient. One shall not confuse “necessary” with “sufficient”.
    Saying a handful of traditional Masses may simply indicate a tendency to play politics.

  56. Dave DeCleene says:

    I just heard from a friend tonight who had dinner with a former high-ranking priest of the Diocese of Honolulu, currently transferred to the West Coast: Bishop Silva of Honolulu has been offered the post in Oakland (where he hails from) but hasn’t yet decided.

  57. A Random Friar says:

    Martin: I respectfully submit that you do not know Bishop Vigneron well enough personally to make that assertion, and are wandering into calumny. Also, please remember that the NO is the Ordinary Form. St. Margaret Mary is not that far from the Cathedral, and from the comments here, do you believe that people would WANT to celebrate the EF there, regardless? St. Margaret Mary is perfectly capable of handling the EF needs for that part of the diocese.

    I can’t remember who mentioned that the number parishes with Adoration has increased since Bishop Vigneron took over. I take this opportunity to remind the faithful that they, more than the priests, have launched these endeavors. The priests can’t man the chapels for hours on end, and can’t run the schedules necessary to ensure that there is always someone there.

  58. Martin says:

    Dear Random Friar:

    With all due charity, I will have to disagree with you: what I wrote is not calumny. I only responded to a previous comment that was asking me whether the saying of a few LTMs was *sufficient*. To which, I responded that it was not, pointing out the difference between sufficient, and necessary, conditions. In other words, A=>B is not the same as B=>A. This is not calumny. This is propositional logic.

    In addition, I illustrated that the saying of a handful of LTMs could not be considered sufficient, because just doing it *may* (please read my previous post carefully) boil down to mere politics. I did not assert that someone in particular was playing politics (that would be calumny). I provided this counter-example to illustrate the absurdity of the assumption according to which the saying of a few LTMs would be sufficient. It was a reductio ad absurdum.

  59. A Random Friar says:


    The comment you responded to was addressed concretely about Bishop Vigneron. “May” in this context is, as Scott Adam’s creation would categorize it, a “weasel word.” We were not speaking of an abstract. It’s much as the media use of “alleged.” It’s legally accurate, but it still has the effect of besmirching a reputation, regardless. You cannot make the distinction that it does not damage a reputation. As many later-found-innocent parties or acquitted persons lament: “Where do I go to get my reputation back?”

    You are also defining terms loosely. How can you say A>B if you give no number or even ballpark for either condition? So I will ask concretely: how many Latin Masses has Bishop Vigneron celebrated? If the number is too few, how many would be good? Also, can you form an informed opinion either way if he has been supportive of the TLM? You are welcome to contact the good fathers at St. Margaret Mary, for one, personally. They would not use “may.”

  60. Andrew says:

    Readers of this particular column many be interested in an email I received from a priest who is a friend of mine in California:

    Bishop Vigneron is a very good man. He is orthodox and even
    conservative. Having said that, however, he is a bit timid. He has done very little to
    clean up Oakland (which is a swampland of heresy) and he went ahead with the atrocious
    cathedral. He did succeed in getting an actual crucifix installed there and also a visible
    tabernacle but that’s it. Ridiculous it seems to be for an Ordinary. I concelebrated
    Mass there and they still use glass vessels and other liturgical aberrations. He
    doesn’t like it but doesn’t stop it either. We need STRONG Bishops not timid ones.

    That being said, I am sure all our prayers are with Bishop Vigneron as he takes on his new assignment in Detroit. When he was the rector of Sacred Heart seminary over there he told a local priest, “I want to make this a place that the Holy Father would be proud of”.

    So he may surprise us, including my friend.

  61. Deirdre says:

    Would more souls be lost if His Excellency had employed an approach that involved heads rolling, or a gentle persuasion? I’m inclined to think that prudence and timidity may sometimes be mistaken for each other.

  62. krephas says:

    I’m glad for B. Vigneron to be freed from the lion’s (heretics) den. Canonically, he is helpless from the “magnificent seven” (minus the retards, oops retirees). I pray Rome will ordinate a strong, holy bishop for this diocese, otherwise… just let it sink (if it isn’t in the bottom yet) or just be run by mullah priests.

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