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The Walk Humbly Podcast – Episode 18

Hurricane Florence, Pope Francis meets with bishops, diocesan response to the opioid crisis, priest changes and more

September 17, 2018



Hurricane Florence’s fury killed dozens of people, damaged homes and businesses, and caused major flooding. One of the hardest hit areas was Bishop Burbidge’s former Diocese in Raleigh, North Carolina. He reacts to the devastation and implores us to pray.

Church leadership from the Vatican recently met with Pope Francis to discuss the sex abuse crisis and how to keep bishops more accountable. Bishop Burbidge offers his thoughts on the meeting.

The Church in the U.S. is preparing for the V Encuentro. Listen to learn what it is and how will it impact our Diocese.

On September 29, the Diocese will hold its first-ever conference to discuss ways in which we can combat opioid drug abuse and its negative effects.

Bishop Burbidge recently announced the transfer of five priests within the Diocese. Some people questioned the reasoning. Bishop Burbidge responds to the skepticism.

Bishop Burbidge also answers questions from the faithful. If you are interested in submitting a question, please email info@arlingtondiocese.org and include your first name and parish.

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Topics Discussed:

  • 0:52 – Bishop Burbidge reacts to the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence and implores us to pray.
    • 1:08 – “A great deal of the impact is in my former Diocese, where I served for 10 years. And so, as I look at the news coverage, and see the towns that are mentioned, I have very vivid recollections of being in those exact places. So, to see the devastation, the destruction, like all of us, it's just so sad to watch. And we know that the path of the hurricane is so slow moving that there's concern for the days ahead also. And so, I ask everyone in our Diocese to please be praying for all those impacted by the hurricane. And especially in its aftermath as we begin to recover. And, we also may be going to our parishioners in the near future to also provide other opportunities for us to assist and to support those in need.”
  • 2:25 – Church leadership from the Vatican recently met with Pope Francis to discuss the sex abuse crisis and how to keep bishops more accountable. Bishop Burbidge offers his thoughts on the meeting.
    • 4:14 – “We are well aware that we have to come out of that meeting with concrete actions and steps. What is going to be different as we continue to address this issue? As we continue in a specific way to look out for the mechanism that will hold bishops to a greater and more rigorous accountability.”
    • 4:34 – “And so, as I said previously, we're not going into that meeting unprepared. We want to hit the ground running the first day. And so, the proposals, the plans that will be discussed with all the bishops, is getting some discussion with the Holy City. So, the Cardinal DiNardo and the other leaders were there talking to Francis. As you mentioned, Cardinal DiNardo did not give specific details, but was fruitful. In other words, these are probably very good proposals and plans that should be discussed as a body bishop, and then bring back for approval. So, I'm very happy that there's such an aggressive approach, that we're going to hit the ground running day one. And God willing, come out with some very significant and specific changes to announce to the faithful after our meeting.”
  • 5:49 – Bishop Burbidge discusses the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
  • 7:50 – After investigation, the name of Bishop Kevin Rhodes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend was cleared, with the District Attorney finding the abuse allegation to be non-credible. Bishop Burbidge shares his reaction to this news.
    • 9:42 – “He had to endure the waiting to be cleared. And, he was. And so, I guess it goes back to what I was saying earlier, just previously: We allow for due process, and respect for everyone involved with the ultimate goal of truth. But we have to not just read headlines, and we have to not just jump to conclusions. That's not fair to anyone involved in a process like that.”
  • 10:14 – Bishop Burbidge will travel to Grapevine, Texas for the V Encuentro. Listen to learn more about this event, and how our Diocese is involved.
    • 11:02 – “I'm very much looking forward to it. I think we have like 47 representatives from our Diocese attending the Encuentro.”
  • 11:59 – Bishop Burbidge talks about our Diocese’s first-ever opioid conference coming up on September 29, and why you should attend.
    • 12:46 – “This is truly a crisis. And I think that practically everyone, myself included, people that you know and love, we are all aware of someone impacted by this crisis.”
    • 13:16 – “And so, I think what I'm calling for is to bring people of our Diocese together.”
  • 14:50 – This past Saturday, Bishop Burbidge celebrated a Mass for the Ministry of Lector at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Three seminarians from our Diocese (Theology-II) received the ministry: John Paul Heisler, Jeffrey Petroski and Jonathan Smith. Bishop Burbidge talks about what that ministry is in the formation of a seminary.
    • 16:17 – “I said to seminarians, you know even though Lector is not ordination, please see that as the Church affirming your vocation. Because when a candidate is in the seminary seeing if he wants to be a priest or not, he's discerning, but so is the Church.”
  • 19:06 – Following a routine announcement of priest changes in our Diocese, faithful were asking why certain priests were moved. Bishop Burbidge responds to their questions.
    • 19:38 – “I also heard from one of my pastors that a number of his parishioners brought that concern forward. And I have to say that it's very unsettling to me to hear that. I understand that we are in a very critical situation within our Church, and there's suspicion, and there is doubt. But there also has to be fairness, and justice. And all those priests, of the five priest who were transferred, are very good priests, very faithful who desire nothing but to serve the Lord and His Church. And just because we are in a crisis, for them to be put under that cloud, to me does not seem fair.”
    • 20:21 – “And it does not seem just. We have given the assurance that there is no priest with a credible accusation in priestly ministry. We are not — we are not — transferring priests from one parish or region, because of this issue that was just mentioned. These are good men. ...What happens is, when you identify a pastoral need, and one of the parishes involved, there's really a pastoral need here for a priest to be assigned to that parish to fill a void that was there. Anyone in business knows that, with personnel, this is what happens. There's a domino effect.”
    • 21:16 – “It's done in discernment, in consultation with the priest. I have the help of a personnel board that assists me in deciding. But these are great priests.”
  • 21:45 – Bishop Burbidge answers: “What can we do to strengthen laws related to guardianship and rights of visitation for the sick and elderly?”
  • 24:35 – Bishop Burbidge answers: “Is it possible to change God's mind with prayer?”