Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"With My Heart Racing and My Knees Knocking"

It's family reunion at the announcement press conference in Pittsburgh: Zubik calls his four most recent predecessors -- Wuerl, Bevilacqua, Leonard and Wright -- "four pillars of the church"; emotionally praises his late mother as his "guardian angel."

Appointee "stunned and excited" -- crying, laughing, comfortable among his own, reminiscing and joking with packed crowd in chancery basement auditorium. Hugs and ovations everywhere.

The newly-returned prelate said he never realized before that the Pittsburgh media were "spiritual directors" -- while, he said, he never thought he had a shot at his native diocese, thanks to his continued presence on the pre-appointment press shortlists "all of you must be in contact with God... so I will listen real carefully to all that you write and say," he said.

Call of appointment received at 3.35pm, Monday 9 July; "I still have to pinch myself to believe that this is happening".... Arrived last night from a half-vacation in Florida, says he's running through the day on 90 minutes' sleep -- "I will be on the streets of Pittsburgh today, so don't worry" -- a day that will end with Vespers with the presbyterate tonight...

...that was quick, eh?

Money quote, responding to question: "The role of the church in politics is not to get involved.

"The responsibility we face as church is to raise issues of what we believe in... it is totally inappropriate and out of line for me to suggest what candidates people would vote for."

Last in town as their #2 boss, Zubik closed presser by telling diocesan employees they had to get back to work...

...and so, on the Boulevard of the Allies, Rome's blessing in hand, the vaunted Wuerl Machine hums securely into the future.