Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Clergy Consultations

As one native Pittsburgher told me the other night about the diocesan clergy there, "They're not rock-the-boat guys, they're generally conservative -- but if they see something they don't like, they'll say so."

Given that background, Ann Rodgers of the Post-Gazette interviewed a number of Pittsburgh priests about the qualities they seek in their next bishop. As she put it in today's paper, "they want a living saint, gifted administrator and good listener with stellar people skills."

That shouldn't be hard, eh?

Those interviewed shared a sense of pride in a diocese that they viewed as having many strengths and no dire problems. The widest concern was the declining number of priests.

A few feared that any new bishop would have a hard time living up to the standard of teaching and leadership that Bishop Wuerl set.

"Bishop Wuerl's management style was very thorough, very complete, and it's really hard to imagine anyone matching that, quite honestly," said the Rev. John Rushofsky, director of clergy personnel.

"After an 18-year tenure, there are bound to be comparisons. I think that would be very unfortunate for a new bishop. We have to take him as he is, with whatever strengths he has."

The Rev. John Haney, pastor of St. Gabriel in Whitehall and a member of the College of Deans, called for continuity, saying things were going well. The basic requirement "is a very pastoral bishop who likes to visit parishes and be with people," he said.

I've heard the selection process for the 'Burgh be referred to as "The Bishop's Race." Never heard anything of the kind before, but so it is.