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.