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Pope’s trying to reform church’s elitist culture

The June 13 article on the U.S. Bishops Conference in New Orleans epitomizes the wayward mindset and culture of modern Catholic clergy. Cardinal Donald Wuerl defended use of the upscale Hyatt Regency Hotel by stating: “We have to meet at a hotel that’s big enough to hold us … and to allow media to attend.”

Of course, the bishops wouldn’t meet at some sleazy, cheap motel even if it had the space, but why the need to convene in a secular, for-profit business at all? Would it not be more appropriate for the bishops to congregate at one of the many Catholic universities across the country? There’s plenty of space and most students have left campus for the summer, so dorm rooms are available. If St. John Fisher College is good enough for the Bills and its multimillionaire players, surely Notre Dame or Georgetown University could host the bishops.

Also, Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin uttered, “bishops and priests are very discouraged by Pope Francis because he is challenging them.” It’s about time! Catholic priests and especially bishops have been far too comfortable for too long. They seem to have forgotten that Christianity literally began with the birth of its founder in a stable devoid of amenities because there was no room in the inn, and that the early disciples were forced to flee and hide from persecution from the pagan Romans.

I hope that Pope Francis’ humble nature serves to reform the church hierarchy’s elitist culture and mandate it to be more Christ-like so that formerly faithful-turned-cynical Catholics like myself (a proud graduate of Canisius High School and Canisius College who has been disgusted for years by the church’s handling of the widespread clergy sex abuse scandal) can feel welcome again to return.

Peter McNeela

Buffalo