Wednesday, November 06, 2013

For Rochester, Rome Declares Matano Law – Vt. Bishop to Upstate NY Post

Capping weeks of speculation surrounding Bishop Salvatore Matano, at Roman Noon this Wednesday the Pope named the 67 year-old prelate – head of Vermont's statewide diocese of Burlington since 2005 – as bishop of Rochester.

In the upstate New York post, the Providence-born, Rome-trained canonist succeeds Bishop Matthew Clark, who led the 320,000-member diocese for 33 years – a length of tenure practically unheard of in recent times – until his retirement was accepted last September, two months after his 75th birthday.

While Rochester under Clark had been an outlier among Northeastern dioceses in its normative embrace of a progressive post-Conciliar ecclesiology, as was universally expected, the incoming bishop comes from a rather different cloth... so much so that Matano was believed to be a favored choice of his Roman classmate, now-Cardinal Raymond Burke, to replace Burke in St Louis on his 2008 transfer to Rome as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Accordingly, much like last week's appointment of the now Bishop Leonard Blair to the archbishopric of Hartford, the choice of a fairly conservative figure with an extensive background in law and administration will be seen in some quarters as a clash with the prevailing "Francis narrative" in the wider discourse.

A longtime veteran of One Cathedral Square – the Rhode Island Chancery, where he capped his service as vicar-general – Matano spent two tours of duty as a local aide at the Washington Nunciature before his appointment to Vermont as coadjutor in early 2005. Ordained in Burlington on the very afternoon of B16's election, much of the bishop's tenure has been taken up with the legal and financial fallout of  scores of clergy sex-abuse lawsuits, the settlements of which have spurred the diocese to sell off extensive swaths of its real estate holdings – including its Chancery – to pay for the claims while avoiding bankruptcy. While a 2010 settlement for 26 suits totaled $17.6 million, the amount of another agreement to close 11 cases earlier this year was not disclosed.

After reports of recent meetings with Cardinal Seán O'Malley (on top of being the North American member of Papa Bergoglio's "C-8," the metropolitan responsible for Vermont) and the Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò – who was said to have flown into Burlington over the last month – Matano was initially buzzed about for the Connecticut seat before its announcement last week, or even a Curial post given his sterling legal acumen. Now, those conversations can be seen as evidence of the delicacy and import with which at least some in Rome view this appointment.

As today's transfer leaves the number of vacant US Latin-church sees at ten, the number of (arch)bishop-ordinaries serving past the retirement age is now at five following last week's 75th birthday of Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany – the last of the "Jadot bishops" in active service – who's led the eldest Upstate diocese since 1977, when the native son was named at 38.

SVILUPPO: Having quoted "one of my predecessors as bishop of Rochester" – Fulton Sheen, of course – to say that "life is worth living" at this morning's presser, Matano's installation was announced for January 3rd, the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.

And here, via the local Catholic Courier, fullvideo of the Appointment Day intro of the eighth successor of Bernard McQuaid....