Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pittsburgh needs a revolutionary Bishop

The Tribune Review ran part of my editorial today stating that the Pittsburgh Diocese should appoint a "young" priest to the position. Here's the rest. Most people agree with me...let me know your opinion. The entire letter to the editor is below:

Bishop Donald Wuerl has left his hometown of Pittsburgh for Washington, D.C. The post looks to be a promotion because of it is a higher profile in our nation’s capital. In actually, the constituency is much smaller.

The Pittsburgh diocese is at a cross roads. As reporter Craig Smith notes in his June 22 article (Challenges await Wuerl’s successor), our churches have trouble filling pews and our Catholics are either changing religions, or most appropriately, abandoning organized faith altogether.

At least eight different candidates were recently suggested. All of those mentioned in the article are accomplished; however, none seem to be a revolutionary pick for Pittsburgh. All but one are 56 or older.

What is needed in Pittsburgh is a young voice. Pittsburgh deserves a bishop who not only provides a young face, but a leader who espouses vitality, optimism and energy. The new Bishop needs to be from Western Pennsylvania. He needs to be young. He needs to be someone who can make Catholics from around the country stand up and take notice.

When Karol Jozef Wojtyla was appointed the 264th Pope on October, 16, 1978, he was seen as a "Rock Star" of sort, an impossibly young Pope who was outdoorsy and the leader of youth.

Roman Catholic churches and schools are closing all over Pittsburgh. Appointing a new Bishop who is incapable of relating to young people and families would be a grave injustice for Catholics. And such a choice would be unremarkable.

The diocese and those in leadership in Pittsburgh need to do something remarkable. They need to "lead" by doing something "out of the box."

The diocese needs to pick a bishop who is 45 or younger; someone who can serve for 20 years in Pittsburgh and make a “real” difference.

A new Bishop in Pittsburgh would need to be no-nonsense when it comes to scandals and controversies. And he would need to be able to serve for an undetermined, indefinite period of time.

Pittsburgh needs someone with the personality and people skills to lead and hopefully "grow" the faith in Pittsburgh.

Thomas Leturgey


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