Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Birthday: 30 June 1944

Bachelor’s in Philosophy – Saint Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Master of Divinity – Saint Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Licentiate in Canon Law – Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Ordination: 23 May 1970
Episcopate: 11 January 1984
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Archbishop Robert J. Carlson on the Issues

Viganò testimony

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Amoris Laetitia

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Pro-life leadership

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  • In his homily for the 2017 Memorial mass on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Bishop Carlson urged 1,000 attendees to oppose a pro-abortion city proposal. About 650 people, including seminarians, prayed the rosary with Archbishop Carlson after the mass outside a Planned Parenthood center. (St. Louis Review)


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  • In 2014, the Archdiocese of St. Louis issued a statement defending Church teaching on marriage in response to the City of St. Louis’ decision to grant civil marriage licenses to homosexual couples. The Archdiocese said it was disheartening to see the city cast aside God’s laws for the family unit. (Archdiocese of St. Louis)

Abortion politics

Upholds Church teaching on abortion politics
  • In 2017, Archbishop Carlson sued the city of St. Louis over a city ordinance that could result in the Archdiocese being fined for not employing persons who publicly promote abortion and for not providing abortion coverage in their insurance plans. Carlson denounced the ordinance as an attack on religion and a “terrible moment” for St. Louis. (Church Militant)
  • In February 2016, Carlson cut ties with the Girls Scouts due to their promotion of contraception, abortion, and role models in conflict with Catholic values. (LifeSiteNews)
  • There is a “scale of values” Catholics need to keep in mind when voting, Bishop Carlson wrote in a pastoral letter ahead of the 2008 presidential election. Abortion kills about 1 million children every year, he continued. This places a special burden on Catholics, who must weight all political issues correctly when voting. Carlson seemed to suggest that no combination of other issues outweighed the evil done by legalized abortion. (Diocese of Saginaw)
  • Bishop Carlson wrote a pastoral letter reminding Catholics of their duty to not vote for pro-abortion politicians and of the intrinsic evil of abortion. When the unborn are not protected, he wrote, the very foundations of the state based on law are undermined. (Right to Life Michigan News)


Faithful to Church teaching on contraception
  • Bishop Carlson wrote a press release after a ballot initiative was approved for embryonic stem cell research in Michigan in 2008. Carlson, who was serving as a bishop in Michigan, called the vote a “setback” and a “direct attack on human life.” He called on Catholics to work and pray so every child that is conceived will “have the right to live.” (Diocese of Saginaw)
  • While serving as Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan in 2008, Bishop Carlson came out against a ballot proposal that sought to legalize human embryonic stem cell research. Carlson said the practice is reprehensible, an intrinsic evil, and destroys human life at the earliest stage. He strongly urged Catholics to vote against the proposal. (Diocese of Saginaw)
  • Archbishop Carlson published a 22-page document titled “Body and Soul” on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae in 2008. The document faithfully explained the Church’s teachings about marriage, contraception, and sexuality. (Diocese of Saginaw)
  • In opposition to today’s sweeping moral promiscuity and deviant forms of sexual behavior, Bishops need to boldly dismember the myths — such as that of a “population explosion” — which falsely ground the governmental promotion of contraception and abortion, Bishop Carlson said in a 1999 letter on the duties of a bishop. Bishops especially need to proclaim the “prophetic message” of Humanae Vitae and encourage it’s “truth-centered, life-cherishing, and joy-giving principles” at home, in school, and in daily life, he added. (Catholic Culture)
  • Bishop Carlson explained the perils of contraception and faithfully defended Church teaching on love, sexuality, and openness to life in a pastoral letter published on the 30th anniversary of Humanae Vitae in July 1998. (Catholic Culture)

“LGBT” ideology

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  • Archbishop Carlson celebrated Mass at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests Conference in 2019. The AUSCP is a dissident priest group which calls for the priestly ordination of women and supports pro-gay organizations. (LifeSiteNews)

Marriage and Family Life

Upholds Church teaching on marriage and family life
  • Bishop Carlson denounced a new form of cremation that liquifies the body and disposes it through the sewer. In a video released on August 2, 2018, the Archdiocese of St. Louis said there are “moral dangers” with the practice and that it is “problematic” for Catholics because the church has always insisted that the bodies of the deceased should be treated with dignity and respect. (Archdiocese of St. Louis)
  • The Archdiocese of St. Louis has an Office of Natural Family Planning. The office schedules annual Humanae Vitae Masses and Family Gathering Masses at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, which Archbishop Carlson frequently presides over. (Archdiocese of St. Louis)
  • After cutting ties with the Girl Scouts in 2016, Archbishop Carlson disbanded the archdiocese’s Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and instead formed a Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that focuses on faith formation of girls through the diocese’s Catholic Youth Apostolate. (National Catholic Register)
  • Archbishop Carlson called on Catholics to respect the 4th commandment and honor their parents in a pastoral letter published June 23, 2010. Carlson said the family unit is the foundation for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. It is “a domestic Church,” he added. (St. Louis Review)


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  • The Archdiocese of St. Louis requires all teachers to sign a Christian Witness Statement pledging that they will educate students according to Church teaching and Catholic values. It also requires teachers to engage in public behavior consistent with the mission of the Church. “The mission of Catholic schools is the salvation of souls [and] teachers must be on board with that mission, or the mission and souls might be compromised.” (St. Louis Review)
  • In 2012, the Archdiocese of St. Louis issued a public statement defending the firing of a homosexual teacher at a Catholic school who planned to “marry” his gay partner. The Archdiocese said that every teacher is required to live according to Church teaching. (Student Life)