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Bishop Zubik Addresses Pope's Visit And Changes To The Catholic Church

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Andrew Rush
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AP Images
Bishop David Zubik greets a small crowd of supporters outside of Saint Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

Keeping the family intact, streamlining the annulment process and the “Pope Francis effect” were among the topics addressed by Pittsburgh Catholic Dioceses Bishop David Zubik in a wide-ranging discussion on 90.5 WESA Essential Pittsburgh Friday. 

As the bishop and others prepare for the Pope’s visit to the United State next week Zubik joined others in praising the Pope for his ability to connect to the people.

“Pope Francis is a pastor,” noted Zubik.  “For example he frequently says ‘don’t be a sour puss.’ Who would have every thought something like that would come out of the mouth of the Pope?  But it does because he understands the common experiences we all have.”

Zubik believes that core foundation leads the Pope to spend time talking about mercy in nearly every one of his public addresses. 

Pope Francis has called for an “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” in 2016 offering widely expanded indulgences.  Most notable among them is his announcement that priests would be allowed to forgive the sin of abortion.

Bishop Zubik admitted that the more pastoral approach that has been taken by the Pope has resulted in what many are calling the “Pope Francis effect,” where Catholics who have fallen away and those who are not even followers have been drawn to his message of love and inclusion.

“I think number one people do recognize he talks about mercy and he talks about it from the perspective of knowing the struggles that we all have as human individuals and secondly he does so sincerely,” Zubik said.  “He not only talks the talk but he also walks the walk.”

Zubik said the new model of “Pope as pastor” has forced him to “step up his own game” in finding ways to be more “other-centered” than “me-centered.”

“If people do not start to address, within us, things that need to be corrected, then we just move along very comfortably… I think there have to be questions that are posed to say ‘I have to examine my conscious here and see if my behavior needs to change,” Zubik said.

Bishop Zubik will travel to Washington DC next week to see Pope Francis speak to a joint session of congress and then to Philadelphia will among other things the pope will offer mass to thousands of pilgrims.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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