Transcript of online session with Cardinal Roger Mahony
On Friday, March 19, 2010, at 11:15 a.m. PST, ChurchWerks.com hosted an online chat session with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, live from the main Exhibit Hall at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, Calif. Our thanks to ChurchWerks with Steve McBrady for sponsoring the chat and Collin McBrady for monitoring the chat, and thanks to Jonathan from Logos for help with moderating the session.
Since 1996 Cardinal Mahony has conducted an online chat session (originally on CompuServe, later with AOL, and now with ChurchWerks). First, in a private chat with school students from the archdiocese (this year with St. John Chrysostom School), and then in a nationwide chat session that YOU can join in. This is this the Cardinal's 14th annual online appearance and one of the highlights for the 40,000 attendees at the four-day event.
Moderator: Cardinal Roger Mahony was born in Hollywood, Calif., and was ordained a priest in 1962 for the Diocese of Fresno, Calif. While there, he taught social work at California State University, Fresno. In 1975, he was made Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Fresno by Pope Paul VI. That year, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Bishop Mahony as the first chair of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, where he worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers and various growers in the state to resolve labor disputes.
Moderator: In 1980, Bishop Mahony was appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Stockton. Only five years later he was appointed to lead the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – the first native Angeleno to hold the office. Bishop Mahony was elevated to Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1991. Cardinal Mahony joins us this morning, in his 25th year as leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, the nation's largest diocese.
CardinalMahony: Hi, everyone!!
Carlos de alba: What is the meaning of Lent?
CardinalMahony: Lent is a time during the year when we reflect on Jesus life, His sufferings, death, and resurrection. Lent calls us to turn away from sin, do penance, pray more, and give alms to help the poor. 40 days long.
Rick: Is it a mortal sin if you unknowingly eat meat on Friday during Lent?
CardinalMahony: No, you cannot commit any serious sin without full knowledge, full intention. Actually accidentally eating meat on Friday happens to all of us now and then.
Moderator: Why are Sundays of lent not part of lent?
CardinalMahony: Interesting: Sundays are seen as "rest stops" on our journey of Lent. However, I still try to maintain any penance even on the Sundays.
Kraig Taylor: Since it is the Holy Spirit and not the priest who is responsible for changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, wouldnt anyone with the Holy Spirit be able to do this?
CardinalMahony: It is not just the Holy Spirit. The priest has been ordained by the bishop to be the representative of Jesus Christ, and to renew His original sacrifice. You need the priest who acts in the person of Christ.
Brent: In a time when we're short on numbers of priests, and in today's day of equality for everyone, doesn't it make sense to let women become priests in the Catholic Church?
CardinalMahony: The matter of priests in the Roman Catholic Church flows from what Jesus did in His time, and how the Apostles and early disciples understood what Jesus wanted for the Church. Although Jesus had many women involved in his ministry, He did not choose any of them to be Apostles or priests. Although not priests, our women in the Church are incredibly valuable in every way. Their leadership is awesome in every way.
CardinalMahony: Also: equality of persons does not imply equality of function.
Steve: How can we encourage more new priests?
CardinalMahony: We are finding that many men are interested in being priests, but these men need to be invited by all of us to consider the priesthood. Any of you interested in being a priest?
Leo: What are some ways to help strengthen the bridge between people and priests.
CardinalMahony: Priests who are outgoing, who are filled with faith and hope, and who encourage others create terrific bridges among everyone. I find the priests here in Los Angeles to relate really well to all of our people.
ess: What are your thoughts on when there is no priest for celebrating the mass, can a lay person conduct a communion service/a paraliturgical service?
CardinalMahony: We have provision for the celebration of a Communion Service in the absence of a priest. I think this is used more often in the large, rural areas of the country rather than in our larger cities where there are always Churches around with regular Masses.
Elizabeth Hawkins: Your Eminence, After decades of devoted service to our parish, several of us were driven out by a business manager and a parish administrator. It has been a traumatic and heartbreaking experience for us to lose our parish home after so many years. My question is: where can we turn for help? We went to our regional bishop, and called Human Resources, but no one was willing or able to assist us. We were lied to, and our situation was disregarded. Our hearts are broken, and several of us are unable to attend mass because we are so disillusioned, and so hurt. We are among the 10% of people who do 90% of the work in the parish, and we don't understand why we were treated so poorly.
CardinalMahony: It's really not easy to discuss such a large and complex issue on-line. I would certainly arrange to meet with your Dean to discuss the situation.
Pat: Cardinal, what is your position on the health care bill? Is it the same as the other bishops who oppose President Obama's plan because of abortion?
CardinalMahony: Unfortunately, the present health care bill fails to offer conscience protection for all in health care services, and it does not maintain the status quo on abortion; rather, the bill actually provides for the public funding of abortions. Sure wish they were using the House version for that important language.
Robert: What should be the role of religion in today's government?
CardinalMahony: Religious and ethical values and principles must underpin all that we do as a country and as a community. It would be helpful if more legislators were functioning from good, solid values and principles.
Corrine Bayley: What is the most important issue facing the Church today? Facing the world today? Thank you for your reflections.
CardinalMahony: In terms of the Church in this country, I think one of our biggest challenges is the continuing growth of the Church. But we need to reach out far greater to our young people and our young adults.
CardinalMahony: With respect to the world, the terrible waste of billions of dollars annually on the purchase of armaments continues to diminish those countries which should be building schools and hospitals, not armed forces. World peace among nations is an imperative.
Moderator: I'm trying to get a friend of mine to convert. What do you suggest are the best initial conversations to engage him with?
CardinalMahony: I would try to introduce him to Jesus in a personal way, and then to trace the early foundations of our Church from the time of Jesus down to our own time. Bring him to Mass with you. Lots of folks do not understand the history of the Church from the time of Jesus to now.
CardinalMahony: Also, there are many fine pamphlets or small books to give to your friend.
Moderator: I have always been confused with the separation between Catholics and Protestants. We serve one God and one Christ. As long as I am involved with community, accountability, and am serving God... why does my church type matter?
CardinalMahony: We always go back to the history of the Church – trace that history from the time of Jesus. Our Church has maintained that continuity of the Eucharist and the Sacramental life of the Church over the centuries. That's why we have so much in common with the Orthodox Churches, and not so much with the others.
CardinalMahony: Our ecumenical and interfaith relationships are excellent, and we still do many good things together.
Greg Youell: How can we inoculate our younger Catholics from the zeal of Evangelicals and Pentecostals? And how does Your Eminence think the Church can best rekindle its own sense of missionary zeal to lead non-believers and separated brethren back to the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church?
CardinalMahony: We need to create that same sense of excitement and zeal among our young people, our young adults. We need to provide more of the "Come Home to the Church" programs throughout the years.
Moderator: is going to mass and receiving communion a sin while you are in sin
CardinalMahony: Going to Mass is always a help, never a sin. But to receive Holy Communion, we must be worthy and free from any grave sin.
Joseph: Is stealing money out of mom's purse a venial or moral sin?
CardinalMahony: Stealing money out of mom's purse is not a good idea! But at most, it would be a venial sin. Most kids are tempted to do that in their younger years, but grow out of it.
Gail: Cardinal, what are your thoughts about the children kicked out of school in Denver for having two mommies
CardinalMahony: I'm not aware of that situation in Denver; sorry.
Agnes: My boyfriend and I are both Catholic and want to get married. But he has been married in the church and has not gotten an annulment because he doesn't think he can get one. Why is the church so judgmental on two people who want to stay in the church and have a sanctified union?
CardinalMahony: Have your boyfriend talk to a priest about that first marriage in the Church. Don't presume he can't get an annulment. Remember: it was Jesus who gave us our teaching on the deep value of each valid marriage. But have him go soon and find out for sure.
Moderator: What can we do as a church community if we feel that our priests and bishop in our local area are not helping with the Hispanic ministry and in fact relieving them from our diocese, Is there any way to appeal to an authority inside the church, Thank you Your eminence.
Brian: To continue a previously discussed topic: do you think the church will ever ordain female priests?
CardinalMahony: I really don't know the future of that issue. Sorry.
Moderator: Cardinal, can you talk more about the immigration event you are attending on Sunday and Monday
CardinalMahony: On Sunday there is a large Rally on the Capitol Mall in Washington DC urging Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Our present laws are both outdated and immoral, and do not take into account the fact that we have 12 million people living in the shadows here in our country. On Monday we will be meeting with key Senators to advance immigration reform.
Joe: Cardinal, how does retirement work for clergy? What will you do in your retirement as Archbishop of Los Angeles?
CardinalMahony: Priests and bishops are required to submit our resignations at age 75. I look forward to just continuing ministry – such as working with immigrants and their rights, poverty programs, hospital visits, and the like.
Chris: When will your successor be revealed? How does that work?
CardinalMahony: Once the Pope makes his final decision about my successor, he will inform the Apostolic Nuncio in Wash DC, who will then advise me. We will then prepare for a public announcement of who it will be.
Moderator: It's time. We will have to end our session today. Thank you again, Cardinal
CardinalMahony: God bless all of you!!!
Read the transcripts from other Religious Education Congress online chats
with Archbishop Josι Gomez with Cardinal Roger Mahony
2010 2010 (St John Chrysostom School, Inglewood) 2009 2009 (St Elisabeth, Van Nuys) 2008
2008 (Sacred Heart, Covina) 2007 2007 (St Benedict, Montebello) 2007 (St Rita, Sierra Madre) 2006
2006 (Holy Innocents, Long Beach) 2005 2004 2003 2001 2001 (St Jerome, Westchester)
2001 (Holy Family, South Pasadena) 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996
with Bishop Edward Clark, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop
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