INDIANAPOLIS — The new Roman Catholic leader for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis called on church members Friday to cultivate a culture of mutual respect, mercy and hope.
Archbishop Charles Thompson was installed as the sixth archbishop of Indianapolis during a two-hour Mass attended by several hundred clergy and lay people at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Thompson, who had been bishop of the Evansville, Indiana, diocese since 2011, told parishioners that they must dare to counter a growing polarization and division that breeds fear, hatred, prejudice and radical ideologies.
“Our role as people of faith — and I especially hold myself accountable as bishop — is to be willing to stand in the breach of the divide, drawing people back from the ledges of extremism and self-indulgence and self-righteousness, by serving as bridges of unity, ambassadors of hope, instruments of peace,” Thompson said.
Pope Francis named the 56-year-old Thompson last month to the Indianapolis position as the replacement for Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who became the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, in January. Tobin; Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich; and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the pope’s ambassador to the United States, were among church dignitaries at Friday’s Mass.
Thompson, previously a priest and the second-ranking administrator for the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, concluded the Mass by thanking the pope for his confidence and the people of the Evansville diocese for breaking him in as a bishop.
“Please, please pray for me,” he asked the congregation.
The Indianapolis archdiocese includes about 225,000 Catholics across 39 counties in central and southern Indiana.