Wuerl shrugs off descriptions of role in papal election: I'm no power broker
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a Pittsburgh native and the city's bishop for 18 years, won't comment on international reports that labeled him a major player and power broker in the election of Pope Francis.
“You've got to remember I grew up in Mt. Washington and I came out of a wonderful family, a great community. But I don't think in any of my wildest dreams, I don't think those adjectives would have been applied to me, and I'll leave it at that,” Wuerl told the Tribune Review, laughing.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Tribune Review, Wuerl conceded that “an element” of the church drifted away during the 1970s and '80s. But he attributes much of the contraction in the church here to demographic changes and said the church is experiencing a newfound strength among youth.
Wuerl predicted the church will grow as people come to know the new pope from Argentina, known for his simplicity and love of the poor.
“He just happens to be a beautiful image that is the face of the church, the face of compassion and caring,” Wuerl said.
He dismissed the sexual abuse scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church in North America and Europe in recent decades as a thing of the past.
“I have a hard time really thinking today that there is this whole world full of people abandoning the church because there were serious failures. We're talking about 15 years ago. The only people bringing it up are the media.
“We've dealt with that. We've attempted to respond in the way I don't think any other institution has,” he said.
While Wuerl wears a cardinal's red these days, Pittsburghers still claim him as their own.
Debbie Kostosky of Crafton said it seems as though her family has always known the man who served the Diocese of Pittsburgh before being named the archbishop of Washington.
Her mother, Dorothy Kostosky, 83, still refers to Wuerl as “Father Donnie.”
“My father and he grew up in the same neighborhood. And my mom worked at a bakery near St. Paul's Seminary when Cardinal Wuerl was rector there. He may be slim, but he has a sweet tooth,” Debbie Kostosky said.
Kostosky said her mother was thrilled to greet Wuerl when he returned to Pittsburgh to give the commencement speech at Duquesne University on Friday.
“He was so kind to her and all the ladies at the bakery,” Kostosky said.
Wuerl, 72, will return again on May 11 to give the keynote speech at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
The cardinal, who once taught theology classes at Duquesne, holds a chair at Catholic University in Washington. He said he enjoys lecturing there from time to time. Wuerl acknowledged he has concerns for new college graduates strapped with debt and faced with a tight job market. But he said that problem extends across the spectrum of higher education in America.
“We providing a Catholic education are attempting to be there for as many students as possible, but I think there has to be on the national level, a really effective debate on how we provide our young people with the best education possible and do it in a financially reasonable way.”
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Overnight snowfall plagues public transportation, schools, commuters
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Drilling group says Wolf overestimates expected tax revenue
- Officials will train camera on Neville Island coke plant
- Nonprofits offer help with Pittsburgh pension problems, Peduto says
- 4 World War II veterans from Western Pennsylvania honored by French government
- Roadwork detailed for Pittsburgh’s East Ohio Street
- North Hills Girl Scout volunteer sentenced for stealing from camp fund
- ALICE program aims to protect students from active shooter in school
- Artist born without arms, legs gives Hampton students peek into her world
- Police say teen driver was drinking in Butler ATV crash that killed passenger