Archbishop-designate Jerome E. Listecki, center, reacts to a comment made by Bishop William P. Callahan, archdiocesan administrator, during the press conference Saturday, Nov. 14, at Saint Francis Seminary in which Archbishop-designate Listecki was introduced as the 11th archbishop of Milwaukee. At left is Bishop Richard J. Sklba. (Catholic Herald photo by Ernie Mastroianni)

ST. FRANCIS — Archbishop-designate Jerome E. Listecki introduced himself to the Milwaukee-area news media during a press conference Saturday morning, Nov. 14, five hours after his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI as archbishop of Milwaukee was announced.

In delivering a prepared statement and by answering questions from reporters, Archbishop-designate Listecki touched on a variety of topics:

  • Bishops Richard J. Sklba and William P. Callahan: “They have great pastoral hearts and generous spirits.”
  • Archbishop Timothy Dolan: “Archbishop Dolan and I are a lot alike. We enjoy a lot of fun. He loved the church. We love being with priests and lay faithful who have the sense of Christ present.”
  • Request of laity: “To the lay faithful of the archdiocese, I ask your patience as I learn how to be your archbishop. I ask for forgiveness for any mistakes I may make during this period of transition.”
  • Interfaith dialogue: “We’re enriched by the sense of different traditions. We dialogue without the surrender of any of the personality or identity that we have. That’s what we bring to the dialogue.”
  • Clergy sex abuse: “The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has done a wonderful job extending itself to those who are victims. Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Callahan continued that tradition. As archbishop coming in, I will look at that, at what’s done, and will attempt to see if there are areas we need to tweak or areas of outreach that still need to be done. The church has truly made a concerted effort to get to the root of this problem and to address it – more so than any other institution in our society. That’s something that’s lost.”
  • Finances: “We had a successful capital campaign in La Crosse that was due to the collaboration of priests, religious, deacons, lay ministers and the confidence of the people of the diocese. It’s useless if it’s just fundraising to raise money. The whole sense of donation is taking the good God has given us and sharing it. When you approach it from that aspect, that’s what raises the consciousness of the people for the church, each other and present needs properly.”
  • Health care reform: “I haven’t read the 2,000-page bill, and that puts me in stead with most of the Congressional representatives who voted on it.… What do you mean by reform? That’s the big question. Is it reform when you take lives of the children? No. Is it reform when you deny health care to the aged? No.…”
  • Politically speaking: “I love politics…. If we don’t challenge the statements each other makes, we’re relinquishing our responsibility to the common good.”
  • Hope and vision for archdiocese: “Milwaukee is a great church because its vision has been very clear over the years – the vision of the presbyterate to serve Christ and his church. The church isn’t an organization. The church’s very foundation and roots is that it has been instituted by Christ. And the Holy Spirit. If you don’t understand that the Holy Spirit is involved, you’re missing the whole thing; you’re missing the truth of the church. The vision is already given to us by Christ, given by the Gospel, given to us by leadership….”