Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Bishop David Zubik. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.
Bishop Zubik: 00:00 Well, if I speak up on issues, I am not doing that for any kind of political interest. I’m not a politician, have no desire to be that I’m a pastor. And so I have to weigh my words based on what the words and the power of Jesus and, and in the scriptures tell me. And so that’s when, when I’ll leave because I think that, you know, as a leader and recognized as a leader, I don’t think that that leadership stops in my own church.
Doug Smith: 00:32 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 166. What’s up, everyone? Welcome to another edition of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am the founder of L3 Leadership. We are a leadership development company devoted to helping you become the best leader that you can be. In this episode, you’re going to get to hear my interview with Bishop David Zubik. He is the bishop here in Pittsburgh and it’s a fascinating interview. We talk about his journey to becoming a bishop when he actually started out his career wanting to become a lawyer. We talk about his advice to young leaders when he believes leaders should speak up for injustice and so much more. There’s so much in this interview. You’re gonna love it. But before we get into the interview, just a few announcements. I want to let you guys know that we recently introduced L3 Leadership membership.
Doug Smith: 01:15 That’s right. You can now become a member of L3 Leadership. You might say to me with Doug, why become a member? Because I believe every leader needs a group of leaders to go through life with that will encourage them, hold them accountable to their goals and help them reach their potential. At L3 Leadership, we’ve developed a community of leaders that will help you do just that. As a member, you’ll get access to our community of leaders. You’ll have the ability to join a mastermind group, which I believe is absolutely critical to your success. You’ll get access to extra resources, content and a member only forum on our member-only website. Memberships only $25 a month and you can sign up through L3leadership.org/membership I also want to let you guys know about an amazing new leadership conference that’s coming up called the Future Forward Conference.
Doug Smith: 01:56 It’s being held on October 24th through the 26th at Amplify Church in Pittsburgh and it is a leadership conference for church leaders and their staff and it’s led by Amplify senior pastor and my friend Lee Kreicher. I’ve had Lee speak at one of our events and I’ve interviewed him for this podcast. He is a phenomenal leader in what him and his leadership team have been able to do at their church has been nothing short of amazing and so you need to sit under their leadership. I encourage you to check out the conference and check out all the great work that Amplify Church is doing. To learn more about the conference, go to Futureforwardconference.com I want to thank our sponsor, Henne Jewelers. They are jeweler owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura and I both got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers and they are just an incredible company. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. John gave Laura and I a book to help us prepare for our marriage and he’s been investing in me as a leader, a dad and a husband now for many years. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, checkout Hennejewelers.com. And with all that being said and joy, my interview with Bishop Zubik and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements. Bishop Zubik thank you so much for taking the time to do interview. And
Doug Smith: 02:59 why don’t we just start off with you giving us a brief overview of who you are and what you do.
Bishop Zubik: First of all, Doug, thanks. It’s good to be with you today. And for anybody who will hear this, uh, this podcast, um, I’m on Bishop David Zubik. I’m the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. I have been a priest for 42 years and have this 42 years. I’ve been a bishop for 20 and have this 20 years as a bishop. Uh, I’ve been the bishop of the diocese of Pittsburgh for the last 10 years, and as bishop of the diocese, I’m responsible for, about 630,000 Catholics to be the pastor of all of this folks. And that encompasses six counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. So Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence, and Washington counties.
Doug Smith: No big deal.
Bishop Zubik: Well, it’s a big deal from the perspective of what God wants to see happen.
Bishop Zubik: 04:01 And so I don’t take those responsibilities lightly.
Doug Smith: Yeah. I was gonna ask you this later, but since we’re already talking about it, when those, how do you, how do you do that? How do you, how do you steward the influence of 630,000 people? Their spiritual growth and it, I’m just curious.
Bishop Zubik: So I think, I can’t do it alone and, and I won’t do it alone. You know, I think first of all that, I can’t do what I’m doing without God’s help. And so that anything that I do has to be embraced, and grounded in prayer, in their prayers, a very important part of my life every day. And I can’t do what I’m doing unless I have good people to advise me, you know? And so, members who are on my staff, uh, you know, most of them I’ve had, the privilege of choosing to do an outstanding job because they are experts in their field.
Bishop Zubik: 05:02 And third of all, I can’t do what I’m called to do without the support of the people. And that’s why I try to listen carefully to what the needs of our people are and try to, you know, move in the direction that God wants us to move in. And, and I think, if there would be one simple answer to, what I know that God calls me to do as the pastor of the Church of Pittsburgh is to really do everything that I can do to help everybody get to heaven. And so of all the important things that I do, that’s the bottom line, you know, across the board. And that’s not just for people who are Catholic. You know, I think that as a public figure, and a public religious figure, you know, I hope that the impact that I make on other people, really causes them to take God more seriously and to fire up in them the deep desire to get to heaven as well.
Doug Smith: 06:02 So, so given the influence that your position does give you,and given what you just talked about, how do you prioritize your week? Like what does it, what do you, what does a week look like in the, in your life?
Bishop Zubik: Well, I think probably what I want to say is I’d be even boil it down to a day. All right? So, normally I get up very early and, work out, on the treadmill because if I don’t do it, then I’m not gonna get it done, you know, and then get ready. I’ll, you know, spend some time in quiet prayer. And then what I usually do is either go over to the chapel of the seminary here, where I live to have mass with the seminarians or if I, have early meetings in my office in the, Diocese of Pittsburgh and town.
Bishop Zubik: 06:48 I’ll have mass in my private chapel of my apartment, but, mass has to always be a part of my life as well as the prayer. And then, you know, every day, involves, either having individual appointments like this one, or I might have, meetings of the various diocesan boards that we have. And then the even may find me, going out to our parishes. You know, especially in this, in the fall, in the spring, I go to a lot of our parishes to celebrate what we, Catholic school, the sacrament of confirmation. So I have to say to that in the midst of everything that I do, I see myself as a pastor. And so it’s really important for me to have personal contact with as many people as I can so that I can be a good servant to them.
Bishop Zubik: 07:37 And I know that the people who are on my staff really helped me to do that.
Doug Smith: I love that. What, what’s the hardest part of reading at the level that you’re at?
Bishop Zubik: You know, there was a president of the 1940s that last part of the 1940s and the first part of the 1950s, Harry Truman and he says, and he had on his desk the, the phrase the buck stops here. And so in the end, you know, while we’re talking through whatever decisions have to be made, in the end, you know, the difficult challenges that, I’ve got to make those, those decisions and bear the responsibilities for them. So that’s not always easy because they’re always, you know, multiple sides to every decision. But I have to be in the end convinced that it’s the right decision to make.
Bishop Zubik: 08:24 So it’s just a matter of getting to, they’re getting to that point. And then making the decision.
Doug Smith: Yeah. I’m curious, can you tell us a little bit about your journey? I read the new, you wanted to become a priest in first grade, but eventually, you considered law and then you made your way back.
Bishop Zubik: Similar to your own story, you know, as a little kid in, in the 1950s, uh, and in every Catholic school, I think in the first grade, every boy wanted to be a priest and every girl wanted to be a sister, you know, and then I found myself moving along grade school and, uh, discover the beauty of the opposite sex. And, you know, it was very much a, you know, attracted to girls. I pretty much didn’t think any more about becoming a priest but was very much attracted to the possibility of becoming an attorney.
Bishop Zubik: 09:11 And as a matter of fact, my pastor, at the, in the little town of Ambridge where I grew up was thrilled when I told them I wanted to be an attorney because he said, we have no attorneys in this parish. And I’m really looking forward to that happening. But I had a very good friend, who invited me to go on my first retreat. Never went on a retreat before I did and it was a terrible experience. Oh, it was awful. I felt like it was like I was in a prison camp instead of, you know, being in a spiritually renewed experience. And, everything about it, the surroundings, the, it was in the dead heat of summer. It was really hot. It was uncomfortable. Well, you know, I felt we were forced to become, do recreational activities and I wasn’t real crazy about.
Bishop Zubik: 10:01 And I came back off the retreat and said that my friend, I never want to do or treat again. And a couple of years later, the same friend said, would I go on a retreat with him and I said, nope. I said, I did it once. I’m not doing it again. But he persisted and he got into my heart by saying, well, like, if you don’t want to go on the retreat for yourself, would you do it for me? Because I don’t want to go myself. And so I did, and I’ll never forget it because it was during that retreat that my eyes were open to a different reality. And I began to see that maybe God was calling me to be a priest. It was on the Saint Paul Retreat House, which is on located on the south side of Pittsburgh. It was a retreat that was given by all three bishops of Pittsburgh at that time, Cardinal Ryan and Bishop Lennon and Bishop McDonnell.
Bishop Zubik: 10:52 But the thing that I see that most impressed me was that, all the deacons who were going to become priests, that following spring were also there too. And it was a chance for all of us guys who were there to talk to those men to see them in action. And I think that’s where, I became aware of the, of the, seed that was planted. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make cause I still wanted to be an attorney. But in the end, you know, it’s kind of like that wrestling match with God, you know, he won out and I’m, I’m glad, that he won.
Doug Smith: And I’m just curious, so you became a priest. What, what’s the journey to becoming a bishop? I mean, does someone have to recognize leadership ability in you? Did you have to pay an extra price, so to speak, to, to go to the next level?
Bishop Zubik: 11:40 That’s a mystery because, whenever a person becomes a bishop, first of all, the person has very little knowledge, if any. And I didn’t have any that I was even being considered to be a bishop. And in the end, in the Catholic Church, the only person who can name a bishop is the pope himself.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bishop Zubik: So that, you know, I know on the other end of the process, um, you know, the pope has an, has an ambassador in the United States and his primary responsibility is to help identify candidates for Bishop. And I know on this end of it, since I became a bishop, what will often happen is that, you know, get a confidential letter from the pope’s ambassador and said, and it would be like this to say, well, the diocese of Pittsburgh is now open. Like, what do you see are the needs of that diocese from what you know about it?
Bishop Zubik: 12:36 And, and second of all, are there any people that you would like to recommend for that? And then there’ll be some times when I’ll receive a letter and I’ll just be using my own name like this. Well, Father David Zubik cause is being considered to be a candidate for the priest, for the, for it to become a bishop you know, then there are a whole series of questions, several pages long, very detailed that I would have to respond to and then send that back to the pope’s ambassador. And then they take all that information that’s given, they send it to Rome. And then there’s a, there’s a congregation, they are called the congregation for bishops. And there are a number of cardinals that are on that. They review all of these, possible candidates for the particular diocese, and then they vote on, you know, what the, what’s called a turnip, a listing of three candidates and they give it to the pope and then he makes the choice in that.
Bishop Zubik: 13:34 So, but if a person, a person is being considered to be a bishop, he doesn’t know that.
Doug Smith: Was that ever a desire of yours at all?
Bishop Zubik: No, I never, I never can give it a slot. All I ever wanted to do and be in my life was a, was a priest in a parish. And so that’s why it became very difficult when my bishop, who, or Deacon Bishop Leonard two years after I was ordained, said, I want you to go into secondary education. And it really broke my heart because I thought all I ever wanted to do was to be a parish priest, you know, and, I never saw that common, in the end, I said yes to doing that and they get special training for it. But I have to say that probably that assignment more than any other assignment I’ve ever had in my life helped me to learn the lesson of what it remains to let go, what I think, is my direction in life and take a look at where glad spirit wants to take me. Cause I have to say that, I worked 13 years in secondary education and while I tried to do my best to, teach my students about what they needed to do to, to develop a good relationship, Jesus
Doug Smith: 14:52 in the very end, I think they taught me more than I taught them, you know, and they weren’t even aware of it, but God used them to teach me some important things about letting go so that, you know, I could let God deal with my life what he wills.
Doug Smith: Yeah. I’m curious, what do you, what do you wish you would’ve known then when you started out, now that you’ve had, you know, 20 years experience being a bishop, what do you wish you knew about leadership when you started then you didn’t know?
Bishop Zubik: You know, I think,
Bishop Zubik: 15:22 I have to say about that is, is I think that it’s, it’s wise that things happen the way they do, you know, because I think it’s the end folding of experiences that, that help us grow to be leaders. You know, obviously, you know, we all, misread sometimes when God wants us to do, sometimes we resist what God wants us to do. And there are lots of times where, you know, we can make mistakes, that help us to form leaders, you know, or think, in reflecting on getting ready to talk to you today, that the one question is like, what, what was the biggest mistake that you can remember making in your life? You know, as a, as a potential leader, and I have to say was back, in 1980, when I, went into, secondary education full time and I was given the responsibility of teaching seven different classes of sophomores.
Bishop Zubik: 16:24 And, I was scared. I wasn’t sure how to approach things. And what happened was I went into the classroom being the teacher without recognizing that I needed to work to establish a relationship with my students so that we can connect. And so it was like whatever this teacher supposed to be when he comes in and it was a disaster for the first month. And I realize there was that things were not working. And so when I took a look at, I thought, well wait a minute, you’re not being yourself, like you’ve decided to put on this persona of someone who I was and thinking that, well, that’s what you gotta do. You gotta put your teacher face on when you come into the classroom. And it wasn’t working because I wasn’t being myself. And the kids sensed that. And so, you know, they really put me through the wringer for the first month and I can still remember, it was the end of September of 1980 and I was praying about it and that’s what the Lord brought me to to say, be yourself.
Bishop Zubik: 17:26 And so I went in and after that it was a beautiful experience. And so I think that mistake has taught me that I always have to be myself. I’m not the brightest guy in the world. I’m not the greatest leader in the world, but I am who I am. And some people will like me, some people won’t, but I can’t do anything else except for being me. And so I’ve tried to follow that. And that was, that was probably the biggest mistake I made is a leader. But it’s one that has helped me all the way up to now.
Doug Smith: 18:05 And you, you may have already answered this, but you brought up, you know, just being you, I’m curious about criticism. I was reading an article about you and I thought it was interesting. The article started out like, believe it or not, bishops actually get criticism from people and they get hate letters and things like that. I’m sure
Bishop Zubik: 18:20 I saw that letter too. Cause I have an idea and I have a 94-year-old aunt, who will, if I haven’t seen in the papers. Did you just see that letter that somebody wrote about you and the the Post-Gazette or in the trip? So, you know, if I don’t see it, she reminds me how that, you know, so I’m well aware of how people look at me and how they can make judgements about what I’m doing.
Doug Smith: 18:41 Yeah. So how do you deal with that? Right. I’m sure there’s, there are times where you’re the town’s hero and then the next time they want you out and they’re saying, you know?
Bishop Zubik: 18:47 It’s the environment that we live in about leadership. I think that sadly, you know, people have become so disillusioned with leaders that, many, many times people would jump the gun and won’t even give a person who’s a leader a chance. And I don’t, I think that happens a lot, but I also know that I have a lot of people who encourage me. People’s advice to me will be how it can become a better leader, they’re understanding. You know, and so I hope always to be able to listen very carefully to what people have to save. If somebody writes something that is completely off the wall and it doesn’t, it’s not me at all, then, I can either try to respond to that person individually. And lots of times, you know, if a person’s really bent on not wanting to appreciate, appreciate me as a leader, not even that personal intervention may help, but you just have to respond by once again, what I just said a couple minutes ago, be yourself, if the criticism is valid, then I have to take a look at it.
Bishop Zubik: 19:58 If it isn’t, if it’s just appreciate somebody misunderstanding of me and keep on going on. Cause I think it’s important to operate from what I know of myself to be myself, but especially to try to be the kind of person that God created me to be.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Doug Smith: 20:15 Can you talk a little bit about the price that you’ve had to pay to sit where you sit today?
Bishop Zubik: 20:20 I don’t think it’s any different than the price that, that are husband and wife have to pay when they fall in love with each other. Or when a husband and wife become a mother and a father. Because when you take a look at sacrifices, think a lot of times people will ascribe to the definition that they’re suffering involved in it. I would like to say that like whenever you, when you sacrifice, you know, there’s the etymology of the word sacrifice comes from two Latin words, sanctum sacrarium which means to make holy. And so it seems to me that when you have a man and a woman who, love each other so much that they become married, you know, then, all through their lives, if that marriage is going to be successful, they have to think of the other person first before themselves.
Bishop Zubik: 21:17 And when you become parents, you have to do the same thing there. Well, that’s the same thing that happens, happens to me as a priest. There are lots and lots and lots of times, and it’s only increased since I’ve become a bishop, where it’s a matter of sacrificing. Now if I’m going to take a look at sacrifice as somehow an invasion of my privacy and what I want to do, then that’s not a holy sacrifice. But if I take a look at it within the context of my heart and the love that I owe my people, then, there’s a cost to it. But, but the end cost to it is, is joy because you know, that experience of doing what you want to do for other people out of love for them. And so that’s, you know, and I think that, so in a sense is sacrifice easy?
Bishop Zubik: 22:08 I don’t think, I don’t think it’s ever easy because, you know, it is a difficult challenge at times to not put yourself first. You know? And I think, to be honest with you, I think that’s one of the saddest challenges that we’re facing in our world today, is that I think our lives have become so insular. And Pope Benedict when he was pope, used to talk about, the evil of relativism that people would determine, the world in which they live, they live in is if the world revolved around themselves and that’s not love, you know, love does demand sacrifice looking for the good of the other.
Doug Smith: 22:51 That’s so good. Along as it doesn’t rise. I love that definition. Sacrifices to make holy, something I’m always interested in is how people grow and develop character. I’m just curious, how can leaders grow and develop their character over time?
Doug Smith: Well, I’m gonna Start again when you say what are the important things of my day? And I think for every person, every person’s
Bishop Zubik: 23:12 life, we got to discover who we are. And I think for a person of faith, we can only discover who we are by connecting with God. And I’m going to use a fancy term around that which is called to discern. And I think God helps us to come to understand ourselves. And I think that, you know, the more that we take a look at, who we are and learn that from God and we also learned it from God through other people, then we learned that none of us has all the answers and we can also become very comfortable to know that, there are things that I can’t do and there are things that I can do. And so that’s, but that’s only an important lesson for us. You know, it’s an important lesson for us to learn about others. I know another like a difficult lesson that I’ve learned in leadership is sometimes that I will not intentionally, but I make, may wrong make a wrong decision about asking somebody to do some particular task.
Bishop Zubik: 24:27 And in the end they can’t do it. And it’s not generally a fault of theirs. It’s a matter that, it’s simply wasn’t a gift that they had, you know. So I think it’s a matter of me, especially as I’m working with other people to get to know as much as I can about other people when I’m going to ask them to take on a leadership role with me so that they can soar. Soar that you know, they can succeed and, I think that I’ve come to recognize just as I can’t do everything. There are things in my life that I couldn’t do because I know God hasn’t given me the gift to do certain things. That I need to recognize it and other people and at the same time help them to take a look at what are the things that you can do wel? And what are the ways in which you can sort of do that? But once again, I have, I go back to the discernment with God. And so, you know, when I have to make major decisions and in my life as a bishop and those decisions will always be affecting people’s lives, I have to think about, how was this going to be good to them, good and good for them.
Doug Smith: 25:41 I’m curious, you talked about, the Pope and how he was challenging people not to have the world revolve around them. If you had to speak to leaders today and just give them a message on, on how to make an impact in the world, how to matter, how to make a difference, what would you tell them?
Bishop Zubik: 25:55 Well, I think to be quite honest I think the millennials get a bad rap. You know, cause I think that an awful lot of people will criticize mind meals and say they’re selfish. They’re only concerned about themselves. They’re not going to work unless they’re gonna get a seven-figure salary or they’re going to have the corner office in a building, and have everything that they want, three cars, magnificent home. I honestly don’t believe that that is where millennials are, at least most millennials. And as a matter of fact of seeing exactly the opposite. Now it is true, an awful lot of people are concerned as I am too, about how many, young people today will leave organized religion and that
Bishop Zubik: 26:44 goes across the board. You know, in every, I think denomination of Christianity, I think it’s true of Judaism. And I think that what happens there is one of the things about millennials is that they want to be invited to be involved. They want to make sure their voices heard. And so, you know, my first advice to young, young people who are seeking to become leaders is to make sure that you speak very clearly what your voice is and as you seek to, have your voice heard, make sure that you do the same in return to other people as well. So I think that’s an important consideration. I think the second piece of advice that I would give to young people today is don’t be afraid of work because I think if, um, if people don’t see the bigger picture to what they’re doing, then work will be a only as important as the salary that you get or the benefits that we’ll crew or when you have a day off.
Bishop Zubik: 27:56 And I believe that, uh, every single occupation is the part of God’s design to likewise help people get to happen. I remember that. Uh, and I wish I could remember the poem, uh, but it was around the time of when Martin Luther King, died in 1968 when he was assassinated. And I don’t remember if he said it or somebody, did a poem in honor of him, but it was like, even this, the street sweeper, if he does what he does out of love, he’s helping to create a better world. I remember one of the famous saints in, in our Church, Saint Teresa, of the little flower who died when she was 22. She said, even if you pick a it pin off the floor, out of consideration for other people, you’re helping to create a better world. You’re helping people to be saved.
Bishop Zubik: 28:59 And so I think we all need to think about that. You know, that what we do, what we say, how we do what we do can and will have an effect on other people even if we don’t know it. And that goes on both sides of the spectrum. You know, there are times when I worry that, you know, if I becoming patient or I become angry, that that could have a bad effect on other people. You know, and I think we have to keep on weighing everything around our behaviors. So all we seek to do what we do in a loving way, in a considerate way, and that we’re gonna make mistakes, you know, and I think part of the deal is in, in those mistakes, that’s where we can be so grateful we have a merciful God, you know, sitting here in this interview looking at the crucifix of Jesus to say, I mean, that’s why the cross is there because we are going to make mistakes and hopefully when we make those mistakes, we don’t know how to love each other more deeply.
Doug Smith: 29:53 I love that. I would just want you to talk about the Catholic Church. What do you wish people knew about the Catholic Church?
Bishop Zubik: And they may not know. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of people, a lot that people don’t know about the Catholic Church. The first thing I would hope that people would understand is what does it mean for us to be the church? What does the church mean? And I want to go back to a passage in the scriptures where as Jesus is about ready to leave the earth to ascend into heaven. He then reminds his followers who are there and says, now you go and you make disciples of all the nations. And that was basically his charge, before Pentecost. That the most important thing that we need to remember we who are members of the Catholic Church is that we are the body of Christ.
Bishop Zubik: 30:46 That even though Jesus isn’t here physically with us, as he was when they lived 2000 years ago, he really is with us. And that everything that we do as a church needs to be done as the body of Christ. Now, one of the things I can say that in a Catholic Church is as we took a look at as both human and divine, that we’re guided by God’s spirit. But we’re also human individuals and we can make mistakes and sometimes very serious mistakes. What we’re called to do, always to strive to be as the body of Christ. And so that’s the reason why the church will the church must always speak out about injustices that take place, that the church always has to remind the world that we have to be conscious of the needs of the forgotten, of immigrants.
Bishop Zubik: 31:37 You know, of the poor of the elderly. You know, that the church always asked to be calling people to the truth that comes from God himself. You know, that the church always has to be an example of mercy. The church always has to always be an example of what it means to say, I’m sorry. You know, and I’m not sure that people see that the Catholic Church that way. I know there surprises me. The more that I get around and mixed with people of different faiths, how many people will ask the question where like, they won’t see the Catholic Church, us as Catholics, as Christians and I’ll say well we are Christians. Well, they’re kinda shocked about that and I’ll ask, well, why is that so because the Catholic Church is a cult and that’s a major misunderstanding. I mean, we are followers of Jesus Christ and, and as the followers of Jesus Christ, that analogy of the church being the body of Christ is really crucial and we always have to continue to work to them even, especially when we as a church make.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Doug Smith: 32:40 Can you talk a little about, about sweating you and reed carpenter doing here locally in Pittsburgh? I think it’s so interesting you’re having these reunion meetings basically bringing leadership from the Catholic world and the Protestant world together and I’ve been at those meetings. It’s absolutely wonderful. I’m just curious, can you talk to the leaders on both sides and why it’s important for us to get together?
Bishop Zubik: 32:58 Yeah, because I always like to call these kinds of events, meeting in the middle of the bridge, you know, because of things so often, you know, in the world in which we live, we focus too much attention on how we’re different from each other. And sometimes in those differences, we become prejudiced against each other. We make rash or false accusations against each other. We come to the point where we don’t even recognize who the other person is, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You know, when we take a look at everything that Jesus did is recorded in the gospels, what did Jesus try to do? You always try to bring people together, at least appreciate each other in a different light. You know, I’m thinking of that story in John eight where the woman who was caught in the act of adultery come there, that she, she brought before Jesus and they’re trying to trap Jesus about what should happen to this woman because a woman who’s caught in adultery had to be stoned to death.
Bishop Zubik: 34:09 And Jesus was pretty ticked by that, you know? And I think, you know, the scripture that he goes down on the ground and begins to write, nobody knows exactly what he put there, but I think he may have been writing the name of the guy who was involved with a woman. He may have been writing maybe some of the sins of these people were standing there before them. And I think that you know what happens as a result of all of that is that Jesus is helping people to, to recognize the need to respect other people and not condemn. And so at that particular point, they were no longer gonna be condemning the woman because they recognize that they were as guilty as she was. And it was also in that moment when Jesus says to the woman, you go and you send no more. So, you know, I, I think that, you know, the, the whole issue of how we work with each other, so that we come to a deeper understanding of each other so that we can walk away after we’ve been in the middle of the bridge, appreciating the differences that exist, but see them as opportunities for us to love each other more rather than to condemn each other.
Doug Smith: That’s good.
Doug Smith: 35:22 you mentioned earlier, I think tht’s interesting about speaking up against injustice. Yeah. We live in a culture where we’re there. There are no black and white answers, at least according to our culture, right? There’s no ultimate truth. My truth is the truth. At least that’s people’s opinions can just talk to leaders of faith. When, when do we speak up? When do we, I don’t know. I don’t even know how to, to word this question correctly. But when and how does that look like for leaders or maybe just how do you approach speaking up for injustice
Doug Smith: 35:50 in the world we live in?
Bishop Zubik: Well, if I feel people’s voices are not being heard, then I feel I have to step up to the plate. And that demands embracing minor, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is courage. Instead, I have to tell you the recently I was, had a meeting with, you know, with one of the political leaders and first he came in and he said I want to talk to you about that letter that you sent out. And I sent out a letter recently about the healthcare debate and how I felt that at that time, the first version of the Senate, Bill I thought was, was morally unacceptable. And I said, really? And I’ve, I looked at it that way because I felt that the people who were in most need of health care would be losing it.
Bishop Zubik: 36:41 The poorest of the poor, the elderly. And I felt it was important to, I did write to our senators to tell them what I thought about the bill and ask them they would vote against in our two senators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But I also wanted to state that publicly in the hopes that other people would write as well too, to say he, you know, this is not an, I have to say to very clearly, if I speak up on issues, I am not doing that for any kind of political interest. I’m not a politician, have no desire to be that I’m a pastor. And so I have to weigh my words based on what the words and the power of Jesus and in the scriptures tell me. And so that’s when I’ll leave because I think that you know as a leader and recognized as a leader, I don’t think that that leadership stops in my own church.
Bishop Zubik: 37:37 I think one of the things that I learned a great deal from my predecessor who is now Cardinal Whirl, and I had the chance to work with him, from the very first day he became bishop of Pittsburgh until I left to go to Greenbay. But the very first day he said, you know, it’s really important. And it was talking about himself for me as a leader to make sure that, that I’m involved not only with leadership in our church, but I joined with all the leaders of other religions, but also with other leaders in, in, you know, the faith communities and evolved Pittsburgh. And so, um, uh, I learned that from him. And so, four times a year, you know, I invite, people who are CEOs of all the major companies in the Pittsburgh area, to come together so we can have breakfast together and some of those people aren’t Catholic, some aren’t Christians.
Bishop Zubik: 38:35 But it’s an opportunity for me to share with them what we’re hoping to do in the Catholic church. But it’s also important for me to hear from them what their response is because there’s something together about working together. There’s a number of different initiatives that I’ve been invited to be a part of that, that are not directly involved with the Catholic church, but it is involved with helping the community to become a better place. And I have to say, I don’t know of too many other places in the United States where there is such a willing, a willingness for people to work together for a common cause. You know? So, I think that’s an important point of leadership and I’m so humbled at times to be invited to join lots of other people in those kinds of efforts.
Doug Smith: I love that. Just a random switch of subject by, I’m just curious on your thoughts on, on money.
Doug Smith: 39:31 What have you learned about money throughout your life and then what advice do you have towards people in their view of money and how they manage money?
Bishop Zubik: First of all, money is not the God and I’m afraid that I think so much of what happens in a life is based on money. The acquisition of it. The hoarding of it. I was really lucky to, to, to grow up in a family that was lower middle income. My dad worked hard, every single day of his life. My Dad worked hard for 47 years before he retired. And he and my mom were very wise stewards of the money they had. They were a beautiful examples, you know, of not being focused on know money as the end all be all of life. And I think that, you know, the, the more that I’ve moved through life that we need to be able to use the resources that we have, to really help people who are less fortunate.
Bishop Zubik: 40:40 And so, I’ve known you know, a lot of people, you know, and I think there are three very powerful individuals, just this, these last couple of months who have died, who had lots and lots and lots of money. But boy, I’ll tell you what, what they did was they shared so much of that money for, for the help of other people. And so the people I’m referring to as Jack Donahue and Henry Hillman and Dan Rooney, you know, these were guys who had lots of money in yet, in very quiet ways, they were able to use that money, not for their own purposes, but to help other people. And all three of those men were very humble and not wanting to have this splashed acrossed the front pages of the, of the papers or on the evening news, but they did it quiet lane. So I think no matter how rich or how poor we are, you know, we have an opportunity to not hoard but to share.
Doug Smith: 41:38 Yeah. And so you’re responsible for kind of 39,000 people. And I’m just curious, do you do fundraising as part of your job? Is that part of your job and if so, what have you learned about fun?
Bishop Zubik: Yeah, well, I mean we have that and I think the fundraising, first of all has to be very clear to our people to say why we’re fundraising. We recently did a major fundraising capital campaign for the Diocese of Pittsburgh is the first time that we did it in our history or 174 history of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. And we wanted them to be very clear about what the objectives were. Every parish, all the parishes of the diocese had their own fundraising effort as part of this. And we did as a diocese, and I have to say that luck of the lid, 17 buckets that we called, you know, 15 of those were in the areas of where we were going to specifically help people who were disadvantaged or needed some assistance.
Bishop Zubik: 42:35 And I think that’s the important piece of the fundraising. It’s not to make the church richer, it’s to help the church become more able to do the things that we’re called to do once again as the body of Christ.
Doug Smith: I read somewhere in some article you talked about, I think it was your decision to live here versus wherever. And you said that I don’t know if you said the Catholic Church or just people in general need to lose their, their love of buildings or something along those lines. Can you speak to that now?
Bishop Zubik: I just, yeah, I think my concern is I think sometimes we become too attached to two buildings and we become detached sometimes in the process from God. You know, we’re going through a very major reorganization of, our parishes now and some people are getting very anxious to say, well, like when all this is said and done, will my church building remain?
Bishop Zubik: 43:34 And while I don’t know exactly what those decisions are, I don’t have all the information and I’m not going to be making those decisions until next spring. What is of concern is when people say, I’m just telling you this much, you close my church and I’m leaving the faith. You know, we’re all run into people even these days and say, I love everything that you’re doing, just don’t touch my church. And what I respond always to say to those folks, we need to be concerned about the church as the body of Christ. And I think I can speak from personal experience because the church in which I was baptized, the church in which I received my first communion, the church where I received confirmation, the church where I made my first confession, the church I celebrated my first mass as a priest.
Bishop Zubik: 44:33 And one of my first masses as a bishop is no longer in existence because the town of which I grew up in has had a drastic drop in the number of people. When I was a kid growing up, we had more than 17,000 people in the town of Ambridge. Now there’s less than four. And those effects, of course, you know, make a decision on a well, how do we best serve the needs of that community. And so at one time you know, it might’ve been important to have five church buildings. Well now there’s one, but I think the issue is you know, we got to take a look at once again, it’s not it, while church buildings are important because of what happens in it, we got to realize that you know, what happens in it is what constitutes the church, not necessarily the building.
Doug Smith: 45:24 Hey guys, thank you so much for listening to my interview with Bishop Zubik. You can find ways to connect with him and links to everything that he’s doing and everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode166 and if you enjoyed this interview you can also hop on episode number 167 to listen to part two of my interview with Bishop Zubik, which is just our lightning round with him, which is a bunch of fun questions for leaders so you can check that out. In episode 167 I want to take a minute and thank our sponsor Alex Tulandin. Alex is a realtor with Keller Williams Realty, whose team is committed to providing clients with highly effective premier real estate experiences throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and he would love the opportunity to connect with you.
Doug Smith: 46:06 If you’d like to learn more about Alex and ways to connect with them, go to Pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com and lastly, if this podcast adds value to your life, it would mean the world to me. If you would subscribe and leave a rating and review on iTunes or whatever app you use to listen to podcasts, it really does help us grow our audience. Thank you so much for being a listener. If you want to stay up to date with everything that we’re doing here at L3 Leadership, you can sign up for our email list at L3leadership.org is always, I like to close with a quote and I’ll quote Gerald Brooks, who I quote often and he said this, “When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself.” “When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself.” Thanks for listening and being a part of healthy leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we’ll talk to you next episode.