Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New Bishop in DC

The question on everyone's mind is whether or not Bishop Wuerl will bring the smacketh down on the pro-abortion politicians in DC....I sure hope he does. Here's the intro to an article from the NY Times today:

Pope Names New Archbishop for Washington

Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh was named by Pope Benedict XVI today as the new archbishop of Washington, succeeding Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.

Bishop Wuerl, 65, has served as Pittsburgh's bishop since 1988, and is considered one of the more prominent of the nation's conservative bishops. His first appointment after being ordained a bishop in 1986 was in an unusual power-sharing arrangment in Seattle, where he was sent as assistant bishop by Pope John Paul II while Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen was under investigation by the Vatican for unorthodox views.

Cardinal McCarrick, who was regarded as more moderate on many issues, praised Bishop Wuerl as "one of the great churchmen of the United States." He spoke of his prayers that the Pope would pick a great bishop to take his place, saying, "He has done that, in spades."

Cardinal McCarrick, who had led the archdiocese since 2001, submitted his resignation to the Vatican last July when he turned 75, as church policy requires. It had been refused by the Pope, and a spokesman for the Cardinal said last fall that it was expected that he would serve for another two years.

At a press conference in Washington today, Bishop Wuerl said that the appointment was being made now because the Pope had agreed to Cardinal McCarrick's request that he be allowed to retire now.

Cardinal McCarrick had hinted that a change would be coming soon in an interview with The Washington Post last month. In the interview, the Cardinal listed ideal traits for a successor, including that he "not be afraid of the media."

While the archdiocese of Washington is not a large one — it serves 560,000 Catholics compared with some 800,000 in the diocese of Pittsburgh, according to their respective websites — it has traditionally been a high-profile position, due to its location at the heart of government, and its leader has traditionally been elevated to the rank of cardinal.

Bishop Wuerl showed himself at home with media attention during the televised press conference, sidestepping several questions and bantering that reporters should direct all hard questions to the Cardinal.

Asked how he would deal with Catholic politicians who support abortion rights while personally opposing abortion, he responded, "I think that the first task of a bishop is to teach."

A growing number of Catholic bishops contend that the church should deny communion to Catholic politicians who take positions contradicting church teachings. Cardinal McCarrick was the most prominent bishop to oppose that approach.


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