St. Louis, MO – Robert Carlson was installed as the new Archbishop of St. Louis St. Louis on Wednesday.
Hundreds of Catholics filled the Cathedral Basilica for a three-hour service where the new archbishop referred to St. Louis as the "Rome of the West".
Acting in Pope Benedict's stead, former St. Louis Archbishop, and now Cardinal, Justin Rigali performed the installation ritual.
During his installation homily Carlson spoke of St. Louis' long history as a center of active and contemplative Catholic communities.
A doctrinal conservative, Carlson made it clear that he remains rooted in core principals of the church.
"May I never be afraid to challenge the culture, which is growing everyday more indifferent to the teachings of Jesus Christ, especially on the life issues" said Carlson. "Let it be known by all we will never, ever, compromise on our commitment to life."
Carlson swore to uphold the churches commitment to life, but says he will remain open to divergent opinions.
Over fifty bishops from around the country were at the ceremony
Hundreds of priests, nuns and other Catholics attending the installation service of newly appointed leader.
Anne Carlton is a member of Cathedral Parish and says she feels Carlson will offer a more diplomatic touch than his predecessor Archbishop Raymond Burke.
"I appreciate his style more than Burke's style," said Carlton. "He sounds to me like he's thinking a lot before he speaks and he speaks more to individuals than out loud to everybody."
Father Michael Witt teaches at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He says Carlson's reputation as a spiritual innovator precedes him.
"Actually I've been following his career for about 25 years. I almost went outside and did a jig when I found out he was coming here," said Witt.
Father Witt noted Carlson's time as an auxiliary bishop in St. Paul where he founded a house for college-age men considering the priesthood.
Carlson comes to St. Louis after serving as the Bishop of Saginaw Michigan.