Donald Walter Trautman

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Donald Walter Trautman
Bishop Emeritus of Erie
Diocese Erie
Appointed June 2, 1990
Installed July 16, 1990
Term ended July 31, 2012
Predecessor Michael Joseph Murphy
Successor Lawrence T. Persico
Ordination April 2, 1962
by Paulus Rusch
Consecration April 16, 1985
by Edward Dennis Head, Bernard Joseph McLaughlin, and Stanislaus Joseph Brzana
Personal details
Born (1936-06-24) June 24, 1936 (age 81)
Buffalo, New York
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Motto Feed my sheep
Styles of
Donald Walter Trautman
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop

Donald Walter Trautman (born June 24, 1936) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Bishop of Erie.


Donald Trautman was born in Buffalo, New York, and attended Niagara University in Lewiston.[1] He studied theology under Karl Rahner at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, from where he obtained his Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1962. He was ordained to the priesthood in Innsbruck on April 7, 1962, for the Diocese of Buffalo. Upon his return, he was successively made a parish administrator in Collins and associate pastor in Buffalo.

He later studied biblical language for one year at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., continuing his post-graduate work in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, earning his licentiate in Scripture in 1965. During his studies in Rome, Trautman served as a peritus, or theological expert, at the Second Vatican Council. In 1966, he earned his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum).[1]


From 1966 to 1973, he taught Scripture and theology at St. John Vianney Seminary (now Christ the King Seminary), where he also served as dean of students. Trautman worked as a retreat master for Roman Catholic religious communities, and vice-president and president of Buffalo's Pastoral Council. He was private secretary to Bishop Edward Head, and later named Chancellor (1973) and Vicar General (1974) of Buffalo. He was raised to the rank of an Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in 1975.

On February 27, 1985, Trautman was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo and Titular Bishop of Sassura by Pope John Paul II. He received episcopal consecration on the following April 16 from Bishop Head, with Bishops Bernard Joseph McLaughlin and Stanislaus Joseph Brzana serving as co-consecrators, at St. Joseph Cathedral. After a period of pastoral work, he became rector of Christ the King Seminary.

Trautman was later named Bishop of Diocese of Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania on June 2, 1990. As Bishop of Erie, he energized the diocesan youth and vocational programs, renovated the interior of St. Peter Cathedral, and established a diocesan Deposit and Loan Fund and a retirement home for clergy dedicated in honor of his predecessor, Bishop Michael Joseph Murphy.

He is a participant of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, having served as chairman of the Committees on Doctrine, USCCB Financial Audit, and currently Liturgy. Trautman has also been the episcopal moderator of the Apostleship of the Sea and of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference.

The edition of April 4, 2007 of L'Osservatore Romano accidentally announced Bishop Trautman had died when he was confused with former bishop Michael Murphy, who had died April 2.[2] The mistake was also noted by a cartoon in The Tablet.[2]

He was critical of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and indicated that those priests who celebrate such a Mass would first need to show that they have the requisite knowledge of its rubrics and of Latin.[3] Trautman has been a vocal proponent of "inclusive language" and was appointed chairman of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) from 1993-1996 during a period of great controversy and extended debates over the proposed revisions of the "Sacramentary" (Roman Missal) and the revised translation of the Lectionary. The Holy See eventually rejected the Committee's proposed "Sacramentary" in 1998. Bishop Trautman is also on the editorial board of "We Believe!", a group of progressive liturgists organized in 1994 to oppose "roll backs" in liturgical reform.[4]

In June 2011, Bishop Trautman turned 75, at which point Canon Law requests that a bishop tender his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Trautman's successor, Lawrence T. Persico, was named as the tenth bishop of Erie on July 31, 2012 at which point Pope Benedict XVI officially accepted Trautman's resignation.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "1990-Present". Diocese of Erie. Archived from the original on August 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  2. ^ a b Bruce, David (June 3, 2007). "Report of bishop's death a whopper". Erie Times-News. Retrieved July 1, 2007. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, Nancy Frazier (July 12, 2007). "U.S. bishops say pope affirming importance of Mass in both its forms". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on July 10, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Bishops Send Mixed Signals at USCCB Meeting" January 2005
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Joseph Murphy
Bishop of Erie
Succeeded by
Lawrence Thomas Persico
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vincent Ignatius Kennally
Bishop of Sassura
Succeeded by
Juozas Tunaitis