How the new bishop of Arlington hopes to heal division in society

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington VA CNA File photo CNA Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va.

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 will officially be 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. His motto which he chose as bishop in Philadelphia was "walk humbly with your God."

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 Directors.

Bishop Burbidge insisted that listening will be a key part of his first days as bishop, especially to rebuild unity within society and the Church.

"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 exception."

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."


See more - EWTN News Nightly interviews Bishop Burbidge:

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