Pittsburgh bishop gets hate mail over St. Pat’s meat ruling

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PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s Roman Catholic bishop says he got hate mail for allowing church members to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day, which this year fell on a Friday during Lent.

The Tribune-Review says Bishop David Zubik touched on that subject and others during a Friday breakfast with reporters marking World Communications Day.

Zubik says some Catholics wrote to tell him, “You’re sending us to hell. Who do you think you are to be able to tell us we can eat meat?”

“I mean, it’s over something as simple as that and it draws out hatred, real hatred,” Zubik said Friday. “There’s an intolerance that is ugly all across the board, politically, ecclesiastically, and that’s why I say the first thing we’ve got to be able to do is know what it means to listen.”

Zubik says there is a need for less hatred and fear in the world.

In January, amidst protests over President Trump’s initial travel ban, Zubik said there is too much fear and that the first victim of fear is rational thought and the second victim is rational policy.

He’s hopeful that President Donald Trump and Pope Francis will have a positive exchange when they meet during Trump’s trip abroad. He says he would “love to be a fly on the wall.”

“You can pretty much expect what one person is going to say and maybe be fearful about what the other one is going to say,” he said.

“It will be a meeting of the minds, but I hope not only a meeting of the minds but a meeting of the hearts,” Zubik said.

Zubik said he expects the pope to talk to Trump about immigrants, refugees, the poor and the persecuted.

“It’s important that you take a look at the little people, and you know that’s where the pope’s going to be coming from,” Zubik said.

The pope won’t be shy to speak his mind with Trump or anyone, Zubik said. He was in Rome for meetings with the pope shortly before the pontiff left for a trip to Egypt. The pope’s staff was “freaking out” about security for the trip, Zubik said.

“He didn’t care about that,” Zubik said of Pope Francis. “What he cares about is doing exactly what he did, and he went out and he spoke about, ‘Hey, folks, you’ve got to come together to have peace; you gotta stop persecuting each other.’ ”