January 17, 2020
It is with great sadness that I have received a letter from Bishop-Elect Susan Haynes stating that, due to the controversy of the proposed use of St. Bede Catholic Church for her consecration as the bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, she has decided to find another location for the ceremony to take place.
In granting permission for this ordination to be held at St. Bede, we were welcoming, as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council encouraged, those who have in common with us “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Decree on Ecumenism, 3). We were following the example of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis who enthusiastically engaged in ecumenical outreach and hospitality.
We look forward to continuing our ecumenical dialogue with the Episcopal community, and to working with Bishop-Elect Haynes in fortifying the long standing, cordial relationship between our communities and our joint service to the poor.
As I assure Bishop-Elect Haynes of my prayers for her and the community she leads, I ask our Catholic faithful to pray for them, too, and to pray that the fruits of the Holy Spirit, along with humility, kindness, gentleness and joy, be expressed and strengthened in all our faith communities.