I finally wrote the text of the letter that I intend to send to the bishops of Ohio and (with minor edits) to Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the USCCB, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio. I kept it short to make sure it would fit on one sheet of paper, and I intend to include a hand-written note with it as a PS alerting them to this website, where more in-depth information and consideration of the facts is shared.
Anyone may copy and paste this text for their own letters, or use it as the basis for one that they write. I italicized and made bold the line that should be edited for Archbishop Gomez and Archbishop Pierre.
Below the text are the names and addresses of the bishops to whom I will send it.
I am a faithful Catholic of St. Peter Parish, Diocese of Steubenville. I am also an entrepreneur, business owner, and co-founder and president of a non-profit that aids low-income children in Steubenville’s inner city.
I am writing in opposition to the proposed extinctive merger of the Diocese of Steubenville into the Diocese of Columbus.
I have seen the reports of what actions Most Rev. Jeffrey Monforton has taken in this regard and the rationale he has given for those actions. I write to you as a bishop in the state of Ohio to entreat you to reconsider your support of this suppression.
Bishop Monforton took this action without consulting anyone in his Diocese. When pressed on this point he admitted to a reporter that he had discussed with certain priests and local leaders the various subjects of concern — the job market, population questions, the number of Catholics in the pews, etc. — but he never raised them in the context of a diocesan merger.
That approach fails to meet any reasonable understanding of “consultation,” but the problems with his approach and reasoning do not end there. The fact is, when looking into the numbers he relied upon you’ll see that our situation in Steubenville is not as dire as he makes it seem. In some ways, in fact, we’re in better shape than our neighbors in Youngstown and Columbus — the only things which they have that we do not are a cathedral and a large chancery staff.
But neither of those was a major problem prior to the financial scandal of recent years, and then the pandemic. We have, however, emerged from both. And in spite of both, the Diocese of Steubenville remains solvent. Now we have the opportunity to move forward to bring back those who fell away due to financial scandal or the pandemic. We have opportunities to take advantage of a growing pool of oil and gas jobs in the region. We have the opportunity to reopen the plan for a new and fitting cathedral.
I do not claim that Steubenville has no problems, but the numbers do not support a certainty that a merger into Columbus will solve those problems — in fact, some will likely become worse.
A diocese is more than just a corporate branch. She is our mother church, and her future is bright.
Thank you for your consideration.
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
100 East Eighth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Bishop of Cleveland
1404 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
Bishop Earl K. Fernandes
Bishop of Columbus
197 E. Gay Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville
P.O. Box 969 Steubenville, OH 43952
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas
Bishop of Toledo
1933 Spielbusch Avenue
Toledo, OH 43604
Bishop David J. Bonnar
Bishop of Youngstown
144 W. Wood Street
Youngstown, OH 44503
Archbishop Christophe Pierre
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3610
Archbishop Jose Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles, President of the USCCB
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241