Pittsburgh & Green Bay update

Yes, I know that sounds like an NFL football lead…

You perhaps remember the Memorandum from the Diocese of Pittsburgh about the Motu Proprio.  It was less than warm.   Of course, that diocese was without a bishop since His Excellency Most Rev. Donald Wuerl was moved to Washington, D.C.

There is today a new apppointment of a bishop for Pittsburgh: His Excellency Most Rev. David A. Zubik, at present Bishop of Green Bay.

Bishop Zubik has been very cordial toward the Institute of Christ the King.  I understand that he once reminded a group (I believe of priests) that Communion in the hand was not in fact the norm, but rather the exception to the normal practice of receiving on the tongue.  My impression has always been that he is very friendly toward traditional liturgy.

What does this move mean for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum in Pittsburgh?

Here is Bp. Zubik’s statement from the website of the Diocese of Green Bay.  That applied to Green Bay, of course, not Pittsburgh. It is suggestive of an attitude.  My emphases and comments.

July 7, 2007

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

This weekend, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI released his much anticipated Apostolic Letter entitled Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. While the Holy Father does in fact give permission for the broader use of the Roman Missal published by Pope Blessed John XXIII in 1962, he makes clear that the continued use of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970 is the ordinary and normative order of celebration throughout the world.

Most importantly, I wish to state emphatically that the Mass is not changing. The normal way that we have been celebrating the Mass for the past 40 years remains. What you and I are asked to do is to open our hearts and be more aware of and attentive to those who have a spiritual need for the extraordinary form of celebrating the Mass.  [Nice approach!]

In his important role as Shepherd of the Universal Church, Pope Benedict XVI expresses his concerns about the centrality and sacrality of the liturgy and makes provisions additionally to support the spiritual life of people who have left the church following the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council as well as those who desire “to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them.”  [Good.  He doesn’t limit this to an issue of unity for people who are separated.]

In my own read of the Holy Father’s letter, it appears that his letter is in response to serious concerns that have been expressed in countries other than our own. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we as a Church in the United States and especially we in the Church of Green Bay be particularly attentive to our Holy Father’s letter.  [Nice.]

As you are well aware, in 1998, at the invitation of Bishop Banks, priests from the Institute for Christ the King began to serve in our diocese. I have graciously extended that invitation. Those who have a particular appreciation of the Missal of 1962 have been given and have found a place to worship suitably in our own diocese. As you also are aware, splinter groups, not united with our church, have also arisen. It is those people whom the Holy Father and myself wish to have rejoined to the Church.  [Real shepherds try to heal schisms and breaks.]

Given that the Holy Father’s letter was released and that its provisions become effective on Friday, September 14, 2007, the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, it is important that we be careful not to arrive at early and false conclusions. In the next two and a half months before the Holy Father’s letter becomes effective, I ask that you work with me so that we can have a respectful understanding of its contents. Very shortly I will be inviting the priests of the diocese to a meeting where we can come to discuss the Pope’s Letter and its implementation in our local church.

In the meantime, I ask you to both pray for and to secure that unity which is one of the four marks of the Church.  [May I ask when was the last time you heard a bishop talk about the four marks of the Church?]

Finally, I also direct your attention to the USCCB website www.usccb.org for access to the entire letter and additional materials.

Grateful for our belief that “Nothing is Impossible with God,” I am

Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Green Bay

This was very nice.  It bodes very well for Pittsburgh.

In a story in the Green Bay Gazette today, Bp. Zubik stated how surprised he was at this appointment back to his native Pittsburgh, where he had been an auxilliary bishop.  He thought he was going to be bishop of Green Bay until his retirement. 

This whole thing leaves me with a very good feeling about the future for Pittsburgh and a sense of loss for Green Bay.

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13 Responses to Pittsburgh & Green Bay update

  1. Tom says:

    Being from Green Bay, we will miss Bishop Zubik a lot.

    He has not even been here for 4 years yet. There are many things he has left unfinished. I knew he was going beyond our diocese when he was appointed, however I didn’t think it would be that quick.

    peace

  2. Marcus says:

    It’s been interesting to watch the responses of the various bishops and groups, especially the ones that feel so defensive about it. I’ve noticed in my own parish that when I’ve charitably reminded someone of some teaching of the Church, they often get very standoff-ish and resentful, as if you’re taking away their freedom to decide for themselves about the matter. I believe it a great act of humility to not assert one’s self and just to submit to the Church’s teachings.

    Regarding “he once reminded a group (I believe of priests) that Communion in the hand was not in fact the norm, but rather the exception to the normal practice of receiving on the tongue”, I’ve always felt that receiving on the tongue was more reverent (and practical), but I really don’t know the history or how to explain it to others. Can someone help me with that?

  3. jmgarciaiii says:

    Is it just me, or is there a certain air of pleasant surprise at the numbers of bishops with positive (or positive-ish) reactions to SP? (Granted, it’s not as many as I’d hoped, but it’s more than I expected.)

    -J.

  4. John Spangler says:

    I believe that I have read somewhere on the web that Bishop Zubik administered confirmation at the Institute of Christ the King’s oratory in his diocese. Did he celebrate Holy Mass there, too, or just the Sacrament of Confirmation?

    Let us hope that Pittsburgh may soon have daily Mass under the extraordinary use.

    John Spangler

  5. dad29 says:

    From nearby (Milwaukee) I can tell you that the Bishop is definitely ‘conservative’ in his liturgical leanings–or perhaps better stated, he is orthodox. So are the majority of the priests we’ve seen celebrating the Mass up there.

  6. Jordan Potter says:

    From nearby (Milwaukee) I can tell you that the Bishop is definitely ‘conservative’ in his liturgical leanings—or perhaps better stated, he is orthodox. So are the majority of the priests we’ve seen celebrating the Mass up there.

    Unfortunately that rule doesn’t apply to all of the priests in that archdiocese (their bishop is a good guy, though). I’ve been to Mass three times in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, with three different priests, and each time there were progressively more and more liturgical abuses. The last time, the priest was ad-libbing so bad that my wife and I were listening VERY carefully to make sure he didn’t botch the Consecration. He basically improvised a new Eucharistic prayer. (He also made sure to counsel us not to genuflect before receiving Communion — though nobody else even nodded their head a little as a sign of reverence, and somehow he didn’t think they needed any “catechesis” din th e Communion line.) Next time we visit the Milwaukee archdiocese, we’re just going to the traditional Latin Mass, even if it means we have to drive out of our way.

  7. Guy Power says:

    Jordan Potter: He also made sure to counsel us not to genuflect before receiving Communion—

    As well he should have! After all — you are in the Real Presence of Christ… so you should have complied with his directive by kneeling for communion.

    :^D

  8. The parish I attended in the Bay Area last weekend had a brief notice in the bulletin about the MP. It had a negative tone, and included the sentence “As Bishop David Zubik stated, ‘it is important that we be careful not to arrive at early and false conclusions’ about this document.”

    Now I discover that this sentence was excerpted from a letter that was indeed very positive about the MP! Very odd.

  9. Christopher Mandzok says:

    I do not reside in the Bishop’s diocese, so I cannot attest to his being either a Modernist or a Traditionalist. I do have a few observations.

    First, the Holy Father never used the word, “normative” when describing the Novus Order mass in his Motu Proprio as the Bishop attributes in paragraph one (“…ordinary and normative order of celebration throughout the world…”) This is classic Modernist [I am not saying he is one] argument – add or change the words to suit your purpose.

    Secondly, as with so many of our priests and bishops, the Bishop writes, “What you and I are asked to do is open our hearts and be more aware of and attentive to those who have a spiritual need for the extraordinary form of celebrating the Mass.” Maybe it is just me, but why do I feel that statements like these portray Traditionalists as the lunatic fringe? Why would a Catholic have to “open their hearts” to a Catholic that wants to attend the Tridentine Mass?

    Third, “In my own read of the Holy Father’s letter, it appears that his letter is in response to serious concerns that have been expressed in countries other than our own.” I do not know if this is truly is opinion, but I do know that it mimics – nearly word for word – the “FAQ” sheet put out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops! Traditional Bishops are pushed to the side by the USCCB, and without doubt, as a group, they are Modernist. If there are “serious concerns” regarding the faith, it does not matter from where in the world they sprang – serious concerns are serious concerns. The words speak for themselves. [And think about this, the Bishops and hierarchy never state what are the “serious concerns?” They use this noun phrase without ever defining the “serious concerns.” What are they and from whom do they spring?]

    I think his last paragraph is the most perplexing. For me, this is classic maneuvering by the USCCB. “It is important that we be careful not to arrive at early and false conclusions. In the next two and a half months before the Holy Father’s letter becomes effective, I ask that you work with me so that we can have a respectful understanding of its contents. Very shortly I will be inviting the priests of the diocese to a meeting where we can come to discuss the Pope’s Letter and its implementation in our local church.” Please, read it carefully and understand what he writes – not what you think he is saying.

    “I ask that you work with me so that we can have a respectful understanding of its contents.” The contents say, “Give the Faithful the Tridentine Mass.” What is there to discuss relative to the Pope’s letter? Are the priests of the diocese too naive to read and comprehend the Pope’s letter? How can a laymen understand the contents, but this group of priests needs to get together to discuss?

    The Bishop will invite “priests from the diocese.” Not all priests but a select. Is he going to stack the deck with Modernist or Traditionalist? Will it be a 50-50 split? Will he be inviting those priests that have displayed an open disregard for the Tridentine Mass? Those Modernist priests that prefer Eucharist prayer number 9? Who will the “priest from the diocese” be?

    And, this is exactly what the Bishop Conferences do: Let’s all get together and discuss and the few Traditionalist that dare to voice an opinion, us Modernists will suppress them which has directly lead to the transgressions found in the Novus Order Mass.

    Most importantly in the last paragraph, he never states directly or indirectly that he looks forward to the Tridentine Mass. He does not say that it would be a good thing, a bad thing or an indifferent thing. He never emphatically states – as so many of the Bishops and priests said during those fateful days at the beginning of Vatican II – that the Pope has spoken and that the Tridentine Mass will be offered throughout the Diocese.

    I remain skeptical regarding the implementation of the Tridentine Mass anywhere within the United States.

  10. Christopher Mandzok says:

    Marcus: regarding Communion in the hand, this was brought about by the different conferences of bishops – mostly, I believe, in France, Germany and the United States.

    I believe that you can research the subject through Adoremus Press. I have the documents at home, but a brief synopsis:

    I forget the year – post Vatican II. The Pope convenes the Bishops of the world and asks them their opinions regarding communion in the hand. The Bishops are against it. The Pope takes it to a vote. The idea was over-whelming defeated in the vote. The bishops go home to their conferences, and….drum roll please…implement communion in the hand! Leave it to our Bishops!

    Yes, it does sound ridicules, but I am 99 % sure that I am correct in the short synopsis. I read the documents twice, and I saved them. They are in a stack of my Catholic documents. I will try to locate them, so as to directly referenced them.

    Did a quick search, here is a better synopsis: http://www.aquinas-multimedia.com/catherine/hand.html

  11. Jeff says:

    “Peter Seewald: Communion in the hand, or directly in the mouth?

    Cardinal Ratzinger: I wouldn’t want to be fussy about that. It was done in the early Church. A reverent manner of receiving Communion in the hand is in itself a perfectly reasonable way to receive Communion.”

    From God and the World, a fairly recent book of interviews.

    Adoremus Excerpt from God and the World

  12. Anamaria says:

    Having lived in the Green Bay diocese, I am not sure of what to think of the comments here. Everyone I know seemed to think that the bishop is a wonderful, warm person. Some even felt as if they had been in the presence of a saint after meeting the bishop. (You know, whatever that is worth. To me, not much, but I suppose it does go to show something about the bishop’s personality.)

    Unfortunately, I cannot agree with the previous poster who felt the priests in the area are conservative in their celebration of the Mass. Conservative compared to whom? While in the area we witnessed many abuses and a general ‘feel good’ attitude, so much so that we tried to make sure to always drive to Green Bay to the Masses of the Institute of Christ the King or visited an old, retired priest.

    The one thing that still bothers me a lot is that Bishop Zubik did nothing, even after letters from people, about the fact that the columnist in the diocesan paper is the.. well.. you insert whatever word you prefer… Fr. Richard McBrien.

  13. dad29 says:

    Jordan, I know about Milwaukee–and in one case actually did NOT attend a Sunday Mass, even though it was billed as such…

    Invalid, words of Consecration were mutilated…IOW, it was not a Mass.

    The Old Rite in Milwaukee is located on Mitchell Street at 5th. Literally 1/2 block west of I-94 as it goes south through town; use the Lincoln Ave. exit and continue north (from the south) towards Mitchell; or use the Mitchell exit (from the north) to the church.