Opinion

New President of Catholic Bishops Conference Models Real Leadership

AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

Catholic
Archbishop Timothy Broglio

Real leadership is hard to come by, perhaps especially in religious circles. An old joke has it that a little boy was at a cathedral when a new bishop was being consecrated. When the man was laying prostrate on the floor in prayer, the boy asked his father, “What are they doing now?” The father answered, “This is where they remove his spine.”

One man whose spine seems to have survived is Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the United States Military Services, which provides Catholic ministry to America’s servicemen and women. He was recently elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to a three-year term as its new president. The squawking from the Catholic left was immediate since Broglio has been a stout opponent of abortion, defender of religious liberty and conscience rights, and a man generally willing to speak out on tough issues the cultural forces say that traditional Christians should shut up about. Broglio’s career and his appointment show us some important lessons about leadership.

Timothy Broglio was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1951 and attended St. Ignatius High there before going on to study classics at Boston College and then theology and canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. After ordination for the diocese of Cleveland, he spent two years working in parishes before heading back to Rome where he entered the Vatican Diplomatic core in 1983. In this work, Broglio learned a number of languages and served not only in Rome but in places as far-flung as Ivory Coast, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

In 2008 he was named to his current role as the archbishop of the Military Services. And it’s in that time that his reputation was made.

In 2010, in the midst of the legal battle concerning the ending of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, Broglio defended the policy publicly. He acknowledged that he was not an expert in Constitutional Law, but he foresaw the dangers in the shifting culture of the U. S. at a time when the Obama Administration had begun to refer to “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion,” with the implied understanding that Americans might pray the way they wanted to but were not free to teach their faith or operate their own organizations according to their religious views. Concerning DADT, he noted that the teachings on homosexual behavior were not peculiar to Catholics and warned of potential dangers for chaplains of many faiths. “There is,” he warned, “the danger that teaching objective moral precepts or seeking to form youngsters in the faith could be misconstrued as intolerance.  Then indeed, freedom of religion would be compromised.”

Broglio saw those threats to religious freedom and he saw them in the last few years during the COVID crisis, even when many leaders in the Catholic Church were reluctant to see or act upon them. In 2020, he sought relief from a rule in some Naval commands forbidding sailors from attending religious services indoors when they were off base. While he did not advocate for disobedience of orders, he rightly saw that this command was “odious” to religious believers and asked plaintively, “Should those who swear to protect and defend the Constitution be obliged to surrender their First Amendment Rights?”

The same went for his defense of members of the military who sought conscience exemptions from the COVID vaccine mandate. While Broglio had defended the morality of taking the COVID vaccines and even of a mandate for them, he also noted that those who were bothered by the use of stem-cell lines derived from aborted fetuses should be defended. And he forthrightly spoke out on the necessity for the military to accept such acts of conscience. “The denial of religious accommodations, or punitive or adverse personnel actions taken against those who raise earnest, conscience-based objections, would be contrary to federal law and morally reprehensible.” As many observed, Broglio was just as comfortable arguing from the U. S. Constitution as from the Catholic position on the conscience.

Even on internal Catholic matters, Broglio has not been afraid of speaking the truth about controversial issues. In 2020, Broglio released a letter of clarification in the wake of a documentary that seemed to show Pope Francis approving of same-sex civil unions, leading some to think that Catholic teaching on marriage had changed or was changing. Broglio noted that the comments clipped had reference to certain particular political situations. While Catholic teaching on both the love and respect due to all persons made in the image of Christ, including those with same-sex attractions, was as always in place, so too was the permanent teaching on marriage and sexuality that ultimately comes from God. He tartly concluded the letter by noting that it is “useful to remember that the Church teaches through official documents with degrees of importance that vary. She does not issue official teachings in interviews, off-the-cuff remarks on airplanes, or even in merged statements in ‘documentaries.’”

While some left-wing Catholics pretended that such an explanation of Pope Francis’s words was somehow disrespectful, what Broglio was doing was what bishops (and indeed all believers) are required to do: correct false impressions of Christian morality. What most likely bothered the critics was that Broglio was not urging a change in Catholic moral teaching on sexuality. Given that the publications airing such grievances felt no compunction about not only explaining but denying any validity to the teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, I think that’s a safe bet.

Broglio’s plainspokenness on such hot-button issues continues. Answering questions upon his election to the bishops conference presidency, he did not deny the connection of homosexuality to the priest scandals. “That’s certainly not to point a finger at anyone but I think it would be naïve to suggest that there’s no relationship between the two.” Given that the vast majority of the victims identified by the 2011 John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on the abuse crisis were post-pubescent males, this should be obvious. But it is politically incorrect even in many Catholic circles to bring it up and the authors of the John Jay study refuse to consider the possibility.

Broglio is a man who doesn’t hide behind others. He is also not afraid to do what he considers right even if other bishops are not following him. Some have accused him of being somehow disloyal to Pope Francis or of fomenting some sort of division in the Church because of his style. But there is no evidence for that either. In fact, Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who has known Broglio for 25 years, spoke to his knowledge of and experience with Broglio as a man of unity and a loyal son of the Church: “I’ve served the past two years on a planning committee that Archbishop Broglio chaired and I was consistently impressed by both his collaborative style and his explicit commitment to integrating the priorities of Pope Francis into the life of the Church in the United States. His service in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, moreover, has assisted him in developing exceptional listening skills while giving him a first-hand experience of many of the issues that are at the heart of Pope Francis’ teaching.”

No doubt Timothy Broglio approaches many of Pope Francis’s characteristic themes from a different angle. That’s to be expected given the different situations and backgrounds of the men. Pope Francis has himself advocated a more open and listening Church; for critics to then accuse everyone who does not mimic the pontiff’s particular opinions, ways of doing things, or style as disloyal is to make nonsense out of these themes.

The National Catholic Register’s editorial on Archbishop Broglio’s election was much more perceptive than the narrow-minded clerical and journalistic critics. It observed that Francis’s own documents point to the importance in Francis’s thinking of a “healthy decentralization” in the Church and the corresponding roles of conferences of bishops in determining what is needed to advance the Gospel and true communion in particular places. “By discerning the specific challenges facing the U.S. Church and society and electing a candidate well-suited to meet them, the bishops are demonstrating greater fidelity to Pope Francis’ vision than if they had picked a conference president who simply regurgitated Vatican talking points.”

Indeed, Broglio is not only a model for leadership in the Catholic Church but also in broader society, both of which are often overwhelmed by a managerial and bureaucratic tendency that simultaneously allows those in authority to hide behind others when things get hot but also allows the kind of groupthink that stifles recognition of uncomfortable realities and makes for bland action. Such tendencies make for leaders with whom the buck will never stop.

Archbishop Broglio has charted a different path: willingness to put his name and his authority behind positions that are sound but controversial; willingness to speak out on real threats facing Church and nation; willingness to take in all sides of important questions; and willingness to work with everybody without sacrificing his own particular duties. Those are lessons for which we could all use a refresher. 


We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!


Subscribe
Notify of
56 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hons
1 month ago

The Catholic Church Jesuit Priests are instructing illegals how to lie to gain asylum into our nation.
How can anyone believe anything they say when they violate their own commandments.

Vicky
1 month ago

This priest has fallen for the lies about the jab. He needs to listen to the thousands of Doctors who know the poisons they put in these vaccines that weaken you immune system and change your DNA.

Mary Ann Lucadamo
1 month ago

Excellent article and so happy to have him for the bishops’ leader.

Dolores Reilly
1 month ago

Excellent article on Archbishop Broglio!

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago

This gives me a glimmer of hope after so many years of doubt about the direction that the Vatican is taking the religion for which I have so much respect and love.

Dave
1 month ago

You can be rest assured that they don’t mean a word of it…

The Vatican Community Fire Department is on the job…

James P.
1 month ago

I remember what my parish priest once taught us: “Being a good Christian is really very simple, but at the same time, it is hard.”

Well said.

gin
1 month ago
Reply to  James P.

St. Paul said this in Romans chapter seven verse fifteen. For I do things that I do not understand. For I do not do the good that I want to do. But the evil that I hate is what I do.

Mercedes
1 month ago

This man glorifies GOD by teaching and showing the courage to direct what God wants people to believe and follow.

David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Mercedes

Wrong again.

Morbious
1 month ago

This is how priests used to be; brave, manly and articulate; before the fairies took over. Godspeed to him.

Kay
1 month ago

I pray this man will hold the truth of the HOLY BIBLE and speak and preach against abortion, and religious rights set forth in the good book. Our country morals have been lost and unless we bring our country back to religious beliefs, we are a lost nation. Pelosi and puppet biden should under no circumstances be allowed to take holy communion.
they have blasted the name of the Catholic Church and no only sinned against the church but have destroyed our country

David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Kay

The holy bible is filled with lies which is why the republicans read it so much.

gin
1 month ago
Reply to  David Smith

Poor David. The Holy Bible is full of truth, and predictions of end times are happening more frequently. God is very patient with the human race, but He eventually judges. A place in the bible that shows end times are upon us is Second Timothy chapter three verses one through seven.

Rex
1 month ago

After only reading articles about the slide the Catholic church has been on the last few years, this article has been a nice change. It is not my church, but I regard it as one of the mine canaries of our society’s general condition.

AudreMyers
1 month ago
Reply to  Rex

Excellent analogy, mine canaries. What happens in Rome can easily be (and in some cases is) in our churches as well. I am blessed to belong to a jurisdiction of the Anglo-Catholic Church that does not kneel to society’s whims.

Nick
1 month ago

Those of you who say you that “there can be no Catholic left,” congrats, you’re the reason I’m an atheist. Now that I’m older I actually do believe you can be progressive and also be a Catholic, but that ship has sailed because I realized that God is a lie.

John D. Beach
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

There is no intellectual satisfaction in the missing link of atheism’s evolution and none in “big bang’s” inertial directionality without an outside force to act upon it to have formed what is visible, in terms of order, in the universe. If Scripture were not true, there would have been no point to it having been written.

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  John D. Beach

Of course there’s a point to it having been written. It’s good storytelling and some good philosophy. It’s the source of many of our most common and useful idioms. Just because there is no all-powerful deity controlling the universe doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t a good piece of literature.

Ali
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

Nick – there is NO “deity controlling the universe” especially when it comes to man – GOD gave us a choice – sent us an example and has allowed us the decision to believe or not…If what I believe is wrong – no big deal – – if what YOU believe is wrong – you will miss out of the GREATEST LOVE that man has ever or will ever know!!! Give it a review with eternity in mind and release the Narcissism!

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali

I may not know God’s love but I have been with two women at the same time while stoned on edibles, and isn’t that what matters?

Ali
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

Nick, remember…ETERNITY is a VERY long time to spend in the HEAT!!! Review your life – realize somehow that FAITH in GOD makes LIFE easier and the prospects of eternity a lot more pleasant.

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali

Yeah, I’m going to h*ll, but so are you. And so is everyone who isn’t a Zoroastrian. That’s the one true religion. The rest of us are heathens destined to burn.

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

You’re funny. I love arguing with atheists. I can drive them crazy by asking how? Where did that first “spark” come from?

David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Ali

There’s no such place and if it existed Trump would be the first one to go there after all the damage he has done to the nation.

Rev Fr Deacon John Berstecher
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

That is sad. But you will know for sure someday, hopefully, sooner than later,

David Smith
1 month ago

What’s sad is churches campaigning for evil politicians such as Trump and lying about everything.

anna hubert
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

Never say never it ain’t over yet I do not know of anybody calling on Karl Marx when in pinch

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  anna hubert

I’m calling on Karl Marx right now to give you a massive case of wet farts. Let me know if it worked!

Tony
1 month ago

What does he have to say about Biden

David Millikan
1 month ago

Hope he doesn’t believe that every country should be Communist like the Pope said some months ago.

David Bonnet
1 month ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Why would he not believe something that he said here? This seems close to burying one’s head in the sand instead of facing the music about this guy.

Smike
1 month ago

I’m generally not very impressed with the Catholic church and even less with the “rock n roll” Baptist church of late. Who in their right mind thought replacing songs and music all could participate in with loud drums and shouting something you can’t understand or sing along with. Perhaps we finally really do have a religious leader who is more with God than the left wing.

Peter, not that one
1 month ago
Reply to  Smike

That’s called worship

Philip Hammersley
1 month ago

Is it? That’s your opinion.

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago

Yeah, in Baptist, Methodist, and every other kind of religious ceremony. Joyful noise! Give me my religion of personal reflection, meditation, and praise of Jesus Christ

Ali
1 month ago
Reply to  Smike

What it SHOULD “boil down to” is the beliefs of a faith – they are NOT all alike – one must check them all out – YES a BIG task – however, faith can be very advantageous to individuals as well as to society.

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago
Reply to  Smike

Since Vatican II, the intent was to grow the church community. I spent years with the Latin Mass and loved the solemnity and reverence that invoked. The mass now in English or any language where it is celebrated, that sign of greeting and shaking hands with strangers has put me off. Lay people dispensing Communion to me is sacrilegious..I wish someone would have the courage to take the church back to the days of true solemnity and stop this wave of protestant entertainment.. ..

Pam
1 month ago

Great article and info! Well done and to the point! ???? Thank you, it’s good to know this!

Gene Thomas Gomulka
1 month ago
Reply to  Pam

Too bad what was written in the article is not the whole truth. See: gomulka.net/BroglioLori.pdf

A.Grace
1 month ago

Catholic left? Either you’re Catholic and believe what is taught or you’re not a Catholic. You can’t pick and choose what you want to believe. The Catholic faith has strict beliefs and that includes no abortion.How can a person profess to be a Catholic if they believe in abortion? Do they not question in their heart’s how God feels about people killing his creation of unborn humans? Why is it against the law to to murder people and not against the law to murder human babies in the mother’s womb?Man’s laws don’t mean they are God’s laws. Think, who is going to judge you on the Great Judgment Day?

Beagle Boy
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Grace

It seems Pilose and Biden have convinced themselves and their many “like minded” supporters that you can be for Abortion, Same Sex Marriage and Demand Obedience to their Authority and still be a Catholic in Good Standing. Sadly the Pope falls very short on this for not chastising or condemning Jack-Catholics for their heresy. Even the Pope must realize someday he will stand before the Bema Seat of God In personal judgment.

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago
Reply to  Beagle Boy

Frank, the Argentine communist that is called Pope is a charlatan. Who believes that Benedict retired (first time ever) willingly?

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Grace

The laws of Moses say that a miscarriage does not involve a human death. Therefore inducing one would not either.

If all you have to go on here is “thou shalt not kill,” then that’s just circular reasoning. You have to provide evidence that the Bible equates abortion with killing. And there is no such evidence.

Larry
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick

That is a misinterpretation. It is speaking of a premature birth and not a death of the child. And the second misinterpretation is your quote on the commandment. Kill is interpreted thou shalt not commit murder. Taking an innocent life is murder. It is premeditated.

Philip Hammersley
1 month ago
Reply to  Larry

Don’t confuse Nick with facts!

Chet
1 month ago

Let’s all pray for Nick’s soul.

Nick
1 month ago
Reply to  Chet

That’s okay with me. Prayer doesn’t go anywhere but as a meditative practice it’s good for your body and mind. Keep it up.

Cathryn Pindzola
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Grace

“You can’t pick and choose” goes for any Bible-based faith, not just Catholic. That’s what I’ve been taught as a Baptist, as well. Actually, your whole comment is not limited to Catholics. Again, all that you’ve said is what I’ve been taught all my life as a Baptist.

DeEnna Matthews
1 month ago

But Baptists deny the virgin birth of Jesus to Mary. I don’t know how they feel about how God’s only Son became man. I don’t know if you believe in the Holy Trinity or not, but I’ve done home care in the south and have come in contact with many Baptists and have been impressed and baffled.

Vicky
1 month ago

Don’t know of any Baptists that deny the virgin birth of Jesus to Mary. Southern Baptist certainly celebrate the virgin birth of Jesus Christ to Mary.

David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Grace

You are brainwashed.

Spitfire?1940
1 month ago

I’m sure he would excommunicated both of them.

Ronald Sendre
1 month ago

Sounds like a good potential candidate for a future Pope. I’ll bet he would not give Communion to Biden or Pelosi with their positions on abortions.

A.Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  Ronald Sendre

I agree. That’s probably why the Catholic “left” are upset. I don’t know how a person can profess to be Catholic if they believe killing babies is okay. On the Great Judgment Day God will let all know how HE feels about abortion.

MBerens
1 month ago
Reply to  A.Grace

HE already has made known how he feels about abortion. PROVERBS 6:16-17 (NKJ)”These six things the LORD hates, yes seven are abominations to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD …”

56
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x