The new vicar of Hartford

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And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever Pope may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

When Leonard Blair was named the next archbishop of Hartford two months ago, insiders saw him as former archbishop of St. Louis and culture warrior-general who bestrode the Vatican’s Council of Bishops like a colossus.

As Bishop of Toledo, Blair made his bones by heading the “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most American nuns. Defending the effort “to remedy significant and longstanding doctrinal problems connected with the activities and programs of the LCWR,” he looked and sounded to me “like he’s been sucking on a lemon.”

But the times they are a-changing.

Yesterday, Burke was deposed by Pope Francis from the Council of Bishops and Blair stole a line from His Holiness and declared at his installation that the church has no place for “sourpusses.” He also appropriated the pope’s characterization of the church as “a field hospital for the wounded,” suggesting that his ministry is now all about “the Lord’s warmth and tenderness.” And 84-year-old Eucharistic minister expressed the hope that Blair “follows the example of the pope and takes good care of the poor in the diocese.” I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.