Bishop Named for Sw Ohio Diocese

By Khalid Moss
Dayton Daily News

October 18, 2008

Friday's announcement of Archbishop Pilarczyk's successor catches some Catholics by surprise.

DAYTON Southwestern Ohio's half-million Catholics got a glimpse of the future Friday, Oct. 17, when Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cincinnati introduced Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Duluth, Minn., as his successor.

Pilarczyk turns 75 next year the mandatory retirement age for Catholic bishops. Pilarczyk is leaving after 25 years.

The Rev. Gerald Haemmerle, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kettering, said, "I've enjoyed very much working with the archbishop. He's been my boss for 26 years now and we will miss him. He was a very good man to work for. As for the new man honestly, I know nothing about him."

The Rev. Gerald Chinchar, campus priest at the University of Dayton, questioned the timing of the announcement.

"I was very surprised that a coadjutor was appointed so early," Chinchar said. "I hadn't even heard Pilarcyzk had submitted his letter of resignation. Usually they only appoint a coadjutor if the bishop is ill, so I don't know what this means. As for Bishop Schnurr, I've never heard of him."

Kris Ward, chairman of the Dayton affiliate of Voice of the Faithful, questioned Schnurr's ability to lead a large, diverse diocese. Voice of the Faithful is a lay reform group founded in 2002 in response to the church's sex-abuse scandal.

"It appears this bishop has a mostly administrative background, so I would hope he would take time in the next year to improve his pastoral skills," Ward said. "He could start by meeting with survivors of sexual abuse. I would also like to remind him that it is a 19-county diocese. Sometimes archbishops think of it only as Cincinnati."

Joe Beyerle, who organized the annual Catholic Rosary Rally at UD Arena on Oct. 12, said Pilarczyk had his share of critics.

"You can't satisfy everybody," said Beyerle, who met with Pilarczyk on two occasions. "Some say he mishandled the priests, but that was hindsight. All in all, I think he's done a very good job. But that was one area that I didn't think he handled very well."


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