Skip to comments.Bishop Wuerl named archbishop of Washington D.C.
Posted on 05/16/2006 3:49:18 AM PDT by Antioch
Bishop Donald Wuerl of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been named archbishop of Washington D.C., the Vatican announced this morning. No new bishop has yet been named for Pittsburgh. The Rev. Ronald Lengwin. spokesman for the diocese of Pittsburgh, does not expect one to be appointed for some time. "We have no expectation because the process calls for questionnaires to be sent out in order for people to identify our current needs," Father Lengwin said. Wuerl replaces Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington D.C.
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There used to be someone on FR who was really against him, though. I can't remember who or why.
Ping for you.
Wasn't Bishop Wuerl the one who helped correct the mess out in the Seattle? area?
More information about the Bishop at this thread.
I live in the Pittsburgh area. Bishop Wuerl and his predecessors was one of the reasons why I became a lapsed Catholic. I don't hate the guy...but I don't like him either.
Still I wish him well in his new post in Washington DC.
That should have been "were" not "was." Need coffee. Sorry.
Not that I am aware of. He's been in Pittsburgh for some time now.
Wuerl is the type of lukewarm bishop that the Church seems to produce too frequently. There's nothing really bad about him, but there's nothing to indicate he would be any type of great reformer or anything.
What was it about Bishop Wuerl that you didn't like?
"There's nothing really bad about him, but there's nothing to indicate he would be any type of great reformer or anything."
I agree. While he's a vast improvement over McCarrick, I think of Wuerl as a "status quo" bishop. If only we had status quo bishops around 40 years ago instead of liberal renegades, then I wouldn't care so much, because there would be a lot less clean up action required today. We need more Bruskewitz's, Chaput's, Burke's, and Finn's installed in "influential" sees. Save the status quo types for after the mess is cleaned up.
After the "visitation" to Seattle back in the mid-1980s led by Archbishop Hickey, the Vatican sent Wuerl to Seattle as a coadjutor bishop. Several areas of jurisdiction were taken away from Abp. Hunthausen and given to Wuerl. He was suppose to clean things up, but was unable. Reports say that Hunthausen loyalists froze Wuerl out.
I think Wuerl is orthodox. He is no liberal. However, his ineffectualness in Seattle makes one wonder if he will be a leader among the bishops or just another decent if lackluster bishop.
Of course, the "progressives" in Washington state were entrenched in the 60s when the Vatican at the time refused to uphold excommunications for dissent on birth control.
Much of my disillusionment with Bishop Wuerl goes back to the period where he had to close and consolidate a number of parishes because of declining population and attendance. Where I used to belong the churches each had their own traditions. Most of them were founded by groups of immigrants for example, the Poles had their church, the Italians had theirs and so on. At the time the closings were going on, we had something like five or six churches, all within the same square mile, but maybe a total combined active membership of at best a hundred or so people. Obviously, some of these churches had to close. I understand that. But it was the way the closings were handled by the Bishop that left a lot to be desired.
For example, when the churches in my neighborhood consolidated, the promise was made that the traditions and cultures of the various ethnic groups would be preserved and continued. That did not happen. As soon as the new pastor for the consolidated church was installed, he immediately did away with most of the traditions. A number of parishioners appealed to the Bishop, but the appeals fell on deaf ears. Still more parishioners left. I know of one group of parishioners of Polish ancestry who joined the Polish National Catholic Church (not under the Pope).
To be fair, our last good Bishop was the late Cardinal John Wright. None of his successors (Wuerl, Bevilaqua or Leonard) ever came close. Maybe it was that Wright was a tough act to follow. I dont know, but I wouldnt mind seeing someone of his caliber and integrity as Bishop here again.
Thanks for the reply.
Is it possible that with only a hundred or so members, maintaining all the customs and traditions of the previous parishes just wasn't in the cards?
I know that in my own parish, we have a Knights of Columbus Council. Everyone loves all the things we do in the parish and the community. However, our parish registration has declined by about a third over the past few years, and as an organization, we are not unaffected.
Anyway, like I said, folks love all the stuff we do: Communion breakfasts, basket bingos, golf tournament, making and selling funnel cakes during community events, Keep Christ in Christmas event, Catholic school scholarship fund, parish spaghetti dinners, etc.
However, there are perhaps 12 or 15 folks on whom can be counted to come out and work an event. It gets hard to do everything we do. Our previous pastor helped by permitting us funds to substitute for labor (it's easier to hold a spaghetti dinner when you get the local Italian restaurant to bring in the food, it's easier to hold the annual golf tournament when you get the local rib place to cater the event, etc.) and often gave us parish funds to support these events.
Our new pastor, looking at the books, declining registration, etc., has determined that the parish just can't afford to subsidize some of our events, no matter how worthy they are, and we, frankly, just don't have the participation to substitute elbow grease for funds. So perhaps some of our events may go away, despite the fact that they're quite popular.
We have around 600 families in our parish. I can't imagine the kind of difficulties a parish would have keeping up all sorts of different customs and traditions with only a hundred or so families. I wonder whether some of what I see in my own parish was happening in this consolidated parish.
I supposed it might have been inevitable for traditions to die off as the older folks pass on and the younger ones, who are working and don't have the time to spare, no longer keep them going. But as I said, in this particular parrish, things were handled badly. People became alienated and it just accelerated the decline.
It really made me sad when I attended the Greek Festival at St. Nick's in Oakland. This ia a vibrant parrish -- they even had very small children dancing the traditional dances and young and old keep their traditions alive (not to mention that wonderful food). I was thinking of how the traditions I learned as a child are gone -- the young in my neck of the woods don't know the first thing about them and now with the older folks gone and the younger ones no longer active participants, the future generations will never know.
I wasn't there, so I'm just speculating. However, my speculation is that the people of these diverse parishes were overpromised rather than underserved. Perhaps to buy peace, Bishop Wuerl overpromised what could be preserved in the new, consolidated parish.
Thanks for your opinion. As I said, I know the Bishop had a job to do -- it was actually overdue. The diocese was maintaining these big old churches with maybe a handful of active parishioners and no money coming in for the expensive upkeep. For a lot of years, we had bishops and priests who really had no understanding of the ecomomy and business and were just letting the diocese slide into financial ruin. No doubt the closures probably should have been done years earlier. So I appreciate that the severity of the problem and that the Bishop was in a difficult position.
My objection though is how he went about it. There were some allegations that his decisions were influenced -- perhaps he was bribed into allowing some parishes to remain open, while closing others. Or he had friends in these parishes who used their influence with him. These allegations were never proven, but there were a few closings which didn't make sense. There was plenty of disillusionment and a number of people never really recovered. They could not adapt to the loss of what was in some ways their idenity and felt alienated. Had the traditions been maintained, perhaps that alienation could have been allieviated.
But whatever... as I said before, I wish the Bishop good luck in his new position.
Kudos to Bishop Wuerl, he's a great person and respected church leader, trustworthy, listened to by all segments of the community, he smooths things over, no controversies from his office. From the TV coverage in Pittsburgh, it seems like a lot of people are sorry to see him leave. I remember him conducting the funerals of three deceased firefighters that was broadcast on local TV, with his thoughtful words, he brought the community together in their sorrow.
Wonder how long it will be before Bishop Wuerl wears a cardinal's hat?