Program #0051 for Thursday, May 19, 2011: Apostolic Nuncio in Boston; US bishops’ report on sex abuse; Vatican on Tridentine Mass; Ordinations

May 19, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott

Today’s guest(s): Gregory Tracy, Managing Editor of The Pilot newspaper, and Father Roger Landry, Executive Editor of The Anchor newspaper.

  • The Pilot
  • The Anchor
  • Some of the stories discussed on this show will be available on The Pilot’s and The Anchor’s websites on Friday morning. Please check those sites for the latest links.

Today’s topics: Ordination of 6 men for Boston on Saturday; new protocols for Extraordinary Rite of the Mass; Vatican, US bishops update on sex abuse crisis; Apostolic Nuncio’s remarks in Boston

A summary of today’s show: Scot and Susan take a look at the news of the week with Fr. Roger Landry and Gregory Tracy, including the Apostolic Nuncio’s talk in Boston; a report to the US bishops on the causes of the sex abuse crisis; Vatican guidelines to bishops worldwide on the issue; the Vatican’s clarification of an instruction encouraging generous allowance of the Extraordinary Rite of the Mass; and Boston’s ordination this Saturday of six men for the priesthood.

1st segment: Scot welcomes Susan back to the show and asked her about her week. She had a meeting with Archdiocese of Boston catechetical leaders in Duxbury yesterday and one in Gloucester today. It’s the annual retreat day for catechical leaders in parishes. It’s a busy news week including Saturday’s ordination, new protocols from the Vatican for the Extraordinary Rite, the Vatican and US bishops continuing to work on the sex abuse crisis, and the Apostolic Nuncio’s remarks this Sunday at the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary gala dinner.

2nd segment: Scot welcomes Fr. Roger and Gregory back to the show. Starting with Archbishop Sambi’s remarks at the gala dinner. Gregory said the nuncio was in town the dinner to receive an honor from the seminary. He spoke about vocations, prayer for vocations, Good Shepherd Sunday. He commended Cardinal Sean for his leadership and the Holy Father’s regard for the cardinal. He urged Boston to take its place as a preeminent leader in the United States: May Boston recover that position that it had in the Church in the United States, to be the mother, to be the light, to be the Church indicating the future through its engagement to have many vocations.”

Fr. Roger said the archbishop very sincerely appreciated the support the people in the room were giving to the seminary. Fr. Roger was very inspired as were the people who came with him to the dinner, who are entering the Church on Pentecost.

Scot quoted the Archbishop who said that Redemptoris Mater is “at the center of diocesan values and missionary values.” He told the seminarians that their house is small, but the hope in this house is great. Then he encouraged the people at the dinner to “help please to enlarge the house and, by doing so, the hope.”

Gregory said during the reception before the dinner, the Archbishop made the rounds through the room, meeting people, and was very engaged in taking the time to hear their stories.

Also recognized at the dinner was local businessman Jack Shaughnessy. He said at the dinner that the future well-being of the Catholic Church depends on thriving seminaries. He said the dinner was an opportunity not to honor himself but to support, promote, and advance the works of the archdiocesan seminaries.

3rd segment: The John Jay College of Criminal Justice report tries to help understand what happened in the Church to cause the sexual abuse of minors. Gregory said the study began in 2006. An earlier study looked at the extent of the crisis, but this study tried to determine why it happened and thus figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Fr. Roger said the report argued that there is no single cause for the spike in sexual abuse of minors that began to rise in the late 60s, reached its apex in the 70s and began a dramatic decline in 1985. The secular media picked up on the point that when the sexual revolution hit men who were poorly prepared affectively and emotionally and were caught off-guard by sexual libertinism, that removed certain obstacles for men who were disposed to acting out in this manner. The report ruled out the most commonly advanced explanations, including that this is the direct result of celibacy, that this is caused by priests with same-sex attractions (although Fr. Roger didn’t find this part of the report very convincingly). It said that like in society as a whole and in other institutions, there is a series of factors, not just one explanation.

Scot said that while some people might not like the methodology or some of the conclusions, it’s clear that the bishops are trying here. It’s 5 year effort and 150+ page document.

Susan said with all due respect to the secular press, you don’t get the whole picture when they are your only source for news on this issue. She also pointed out that John Jay is not a Catholic institution, which gives them some credibility. Also, we need to be clear that an explanation is not excuse for what happened.

Scot quoted Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York who pointed out that this is a report to the bishops, not from the bishops to the community at large. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore said the report does not mitigate the damage of the abuse to the people who were abused.

The US, because of the scandal breaking in 2001, is far ahead of many episcopal conferences around the world so the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to all bishops’ conference telling that they must submit to the Vatican within the next year a series of protocols that the bishops in those countries will follow to prevent happening in their country what has come to light in places like the United States. The US bishops have already done this.

There should be a real care and concern for victims, not looked at as antagonists, but a wounded loved one. There needs to be programs of education and prevention, helping priests to understand victims’ suffering and helping people who work in the Church to see the signs of abuse. Priests and religious need training in celibacy and affective sexual maturity. Bishops need to give attention to priests as father and brother; sometimes priests feel like they now need to bring a lawyer when called in by the bishop. In most circumstances, there needs to be cooperation with civil authority; the only exception is in places where the State is already hostile to the Church and trying to injure the Church. The CDF also said review boards and all of that is good, but the buck stops with the diocesan bishop and it’s his responsibility to ensure that children are protected and embraced by God’s love.

Scot said it’s hard to think about the right action to take when a priest is accused of sexual abuse, especially since 2002 when the Dallas Charter guidelines encourage remove a priest upon accusation. However, the Vatican’s guidelines also emphasize the presumption of innocence. Susan said that unfortunately when a priest is accused unjustly his reputation is ruined and if the priest waits many years to be cleared of wrongdoing it’s made worse. Scot said there’s no perfect solution here.

Scot said to Gregory that it’s remarkable that the CDF gave bishops’ conferences only one year to get this done. Gregory said one year for a bishops’ conference to enact a major policy is lightning speed in the Church. Obviously the Vatican putting a definitive emphasis on this and is perhaps working against the perception that the this is a problem only in other dioceses or other countries, instead of being a universal human problem.

Fr. Roger said bishops weren’t callous about these matters in the past, but did not act strongly enough. Yet parents know how they would react to hear if one of their own children is being victimized. So the Vatican says that bishops need help from all kinds of experts, but they also need to be the leader on whom the responsibility falls. Only 19 countries’ bishops conferences have these guidelines so far.

4th segment: The Vatican this week also released norm calling for bishops to respond generously to Catholics who seek celebration of the Mass according the Extraordinary or Tridentine rite. Gregory said the Vatican urged dioceses to be generous even for a small group within a parish. Also to help priests be formed so they can celebrate the Mass in that rite and to seek reconciliation for those groups who are divided from the Church over the rites.

Scot said the Vatican made it clear that it should be more available and that seminarians should be trained to celebrate the rite. They also clarified some of the original instructions from the document four years ago, including what constitutes a sufficient number, what makes a priest qualified (every priest in good standing with the Church), and that this is not for those who reject the authority of the Holy See.

Fr. Roger four years ago made the Tridentine rite available in his parish in Fall River. There was a small group of people and every first Saturday there about 40 people who attend. He wanted to be lovingly obedient to the Holy Father. Fr. Roger said practicing Catholics who love the Tridentine Mass often felt persecuted. He wanted them to recognize that they are loved and embraced in the Church. At his parish, it’s a sung Mass. It’s been a great experience for him as a priest. In the simplification of the Mass to the New Order, many private prayers of the priest were eliminated and he finds that they keep him focused and he even keeps them in his heart still when celebrating the Novus Ordo because they keep him properly focused. It’s impossible for a priest celebrating the old Mass not to know that the consecration is the greatest act ever, in which he is entering Communion with the Trinity and he’s bring this gift to the people. Every valid Mass does this, but this is very clear in the old rite. It helps Fr. Roger to enter far more into what he’s doing.

Fr. Roger thought what was very interesting was that there had been resistance to what the Holy Father had said four years ago. There has been some claim that priests won’t know the Latin for the Mass. In some places, priests were tested on their knowledge of Latin, but are never tested on their knowledge of other languages before celebrating Mass in those languages.

Susan lived through some of these changes in the Mass. She still has her old St. Joseph Missal with Latin and English and she remembers being appalled at the change. It crumbled her sense of the universality of the Church and the idea that you could go anywhere in the world and hear the same Mass. She grew to love Mass in the vernacular. But she does get offended when she hears that the Latin Mass is more reverent on behalf of all the priests who celebrate Mass in the vernacular every day with reverence. What she connected with was the call to offer the old Mass as a precious treasure to be given to all.

Gregory said people often equate the more Catholic culture of society in the 1950s with the Mass itself, but it’s not necessarily true that has to do with the Latin Mass.

Now moving on to talk about the Mass of Ordination at Holy Cross Cathedral this weekend. Six men will be ordained on Saturday at 9am. John D’Arpino will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday at St. Patrick’s in Natick at 2pm; Michael Farrell will celebrate his first Mass at St. Charles in Woburn at 2pm; Br. Sean Patrick Hurly, FPO, will celebrate his first Mass at St. Catherine in Little Compton, RI, at noon; Andrew Taegon Kwang Lee will celebrate his first Mass at St. Joseph, Somerville, on Sunday at 11am; Mark Murphy will celebrate his first Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas in Bridgewater on Sunday at 2:30pm; and Carlos Suares will celebrate his first Mass at St. Joseph-St. Lazarus in East Boston at 2pm.

The Pilot this weekend will have a special edition on vocations and the ordination with many great articles as well as a list of all of Boston seminarians and their home parishes.

Gregory also spoke about the editorial in The Pilot about the website discussed several weeks ago. The taxpayer-funded site is controversial for its promotion of immoral sexual behavior by adolescents and despite the opposition it remains essentially unchanged.

Fr. Roger said The Anchor this week includes an article on the Alpha course which is just beginning in the Fall River diocese, including an organizational meeting at Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich on May 25. It’s a 10-week Christian course on the basics of the faith. Susan said the Archdiocese of Boston has been involved with Alpha since 2001. It’s a wonderful lead-in to RCIA and its good for cradle Catholics who want to learn more about their faith.

Another article in the Pilot, there is a profile of the late Fr. William Haley who just died this past week.

That will conclude today’s presentation of The Good Catholic Life. For recordings and photos of today’s show and all previous shows, please visit our website: You can also download the app for your iPhone or Android device at to listen to the show wherever you may be. We thank our guests Gregory Tracy and Father Roger Landry. For our co-host, Susan Abbott, our Production team of Rick Heil, Anna Johnson, Justin Bell, Dom Bettinelli & George Martell, this is Scot Landry saying thank YOU for listening, God bless you and have a wonderful evening!

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