My primal reaction is, "HEY!!! That's MY shepherd!"
Which is, of course, completely uncharitable and unproductive. Still, I can't help but feel sadness at the departure of this wise and inspiring man, who has done so much to guide my faith. I truly admire the spirit he has infused into the Church in Denver.
John Allen has a great interview with him up on the NCR site. I particularly like his description of himself as not conservative, but rather faithful to the traditions of the Church while creative in applying them to modern life. Here's what he has to say about personal prayer:
What about your role as a spiritual leader for the archdiocese? Is there any particular devotion or practice of prayer, for example, that you want to promote?
I'm firmly convinced by a lifetime of being in the church that the traditional practices of the church are the ones we need to follow, and if we follow them, we really will be able to engage in all these issues in an appropriate way. The first thing is regular prayer, and for priests that means the divine office and the daily celebration of the Mass. Beyond that, we should embrace the sacramental life, which means personal confession as well as encouraging others to enter the sacrament of confession. There's also fasting … Jesus tells us that 'some devils can't be driven out without fasting.' We need to find time for spiritual reading, especially the reading of the scriptures. I don't think adding new devotions to the traditional practices of the church is necessary, and sometimes it's confusing and end up sapping away time.
Many people find praying the rosary daily to be a very important thing. Certainly devotion to the Blessed Mother is an intrinsically necessary part of Catholic life, because Mary is the mother of the church and our mother personally. Christ gave us Mary as our mother, and we should take that seriously. If we believe these things and faithfully apply them to our lives, we'll work our way through this.
I think devotion to the saints is also an important part of this. As a bishop, I have a huge devotion to St. Augustine and to St. Charles Borromeo. I've been blessed to have Charles Borromeo as my personal patron. His feast day is my name day. I really do depend on them a lot in the Communion of Saints. Also, St. Francis is in some sense the foundation of my spirituality.
Sigh. Denver's going to miss him so much! No word on his replacement, as far as I know. I hope Philadelphia realizes how lucky they are!