Monday, June 19, 2006

Cousin heads to D.C.

Yesterday was Archbishop McCarrick's last day in D.C., so bring on my cousin...

From the WaPo:

In May, Pope Benedict XVI picked Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh to replace McCarrick, overseeing an archdiocese of 560,000 Catholics and 115 parochial schools in the District and Maryland. Wuerl, scheduled to arrive in Washington today, will deliver his first Mass as archbishop Sunday at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Northwest Washington. McCarrick said he is confident that Wuerl will have no trouble picking up where he is leaving off.

"Whatever good I had, he's going to double it, and whatever stupidity I have had, he's not going to have," McCarrick said.

As priests and prelates donned their robes in the sacristy before the Mass, McCarrick leaned casually against an altar where his vestments had been carefully placed and chatted about his plans for the future. He will continue to serve the church, he said, traveling extensively on church business over the next several months to Rome, Moscow and possibly the Middle East. He'll split his time between Washington and New Jersey, where he lived for many years, and hopes to catch up on his reading, fishing and napping. But much of his time will be spent praying and preparing for what he says is his final journey.

"I'm going to get ready to go home," he said.

Compact and energetic, with lively hazel eyes, McCarrick looked ready for anything yesterday as he strode across the polished floor of the basilica toward the dais. He paused several times as some in the audience reached out to touch him and whisper their thanks. He nodded to some and gave a jaunty wave to others as he mounted the steps to the throne one last time.

The Mass marked the end of an era for a religious leader who has been beloved but also unafraid to take controversial stands. In the final days of his tenure, McCarrick was a vocal supporter of a Senate bill to allow thousands of illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens. His longstanding work with the Latino immigrant community has drawn a mix of criticism and admiration, as was his decision to oppose conservative church leaders who said in 2004 they would bar Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry from taking communion because of Kerry's abortion rights advocacy.

It would have been hard to find critics of McCarrick yesterday among the hundreds gathered beneath the gilded dome of the basilica to hear his final words. There were no long goodbyes or lengthy speeches. McCarrick briefly thanked his fellow clergymen and women and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams for coming. Then he thanked those who had come from far and wide to see him.

"Most of all, I thank God for you -- God's people here in Washington," McCarrick said.

True to form, McCarrick delivered a simple message for a town that often seems to thrive on complexity.

"In humility, we always find hope. Hope is impossible without humility," McCarrick said. "Because to have confidence in someone else, we must be humble."

As McCarrick delivered his final words, the audience began to clap. Moments later, McCarrick, with a lei of gold and white flowers around his neck, walked down the steps of the dais for the last time and turned to wave to the people he will miss the most.

Can't wait to see my cousin over'll be a good thing for the people of Washington, although we'll miss him in Pittsburgh!


leticia said...

You forgot in your glowing report, to mention the Cardinal's insistence that all Catholic Schoolchildren attend immoral sex-ed classes which undermine their innocence and Church teaching or be expelled from school. This rule was revoke the day the Cardinal left office. Coincidence? Or his public endorsement of civil unions to protect the 'civil rights of gays'. Good riddance to him, and may God have mercy on his immortal soul!

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