Program #0161 for Thursday, October 20, 2011: New nuncio for US; Year of Faith; human trafficking;

October 20, 2011

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

Today’s guest(s): Antonio Enrique, editor of The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston; and Fr. Roger Landry, executive editor of The Anchor, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River

  • The Anchor
  • The Pilot
  • 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: New nuncio for US; Year of Faith; human trafficking;

Summary of today’s show: Antonio Enrique from The Pilot and Fr. Roger Landry from The Anchor join Scot and Susan to discuss the news of the week, including the appointment of a new papal nuncio to the US, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, known for management skills in the Vatican City-State; the announcement of a Year of Faith by Pope Benedict; the Mass. bishops asking the state Legislature to take action on a human trafficking bill; the Obama administration revoking a contract with the US bishops’ migrant services agency to provide care for trafficking victims because they won’t promote contraception and abortion; a new website that helps Catholic men who are addicted to pornography; and Cardinal Sean joining the circus… for a day.

1st segment: Scot welcomes Susan back the show. He asked her about the confirmation preparation training program, which has been taking place in many locations across the archdiocese. The focus of the workshops was revisiting the theology of confirmation and how do parish confirmation programs for teens align with it. It included a presentation by Fr. Jonathan Gaspar, co-director of the Office for Worship and Spiritual Life, on the theology of confirmation.

Scot and Susan discussed their hope that confirmation will be more than just a graduation from religious education or graduation from going to church.

Susan said she also met with members of the Brazilian community religious education community at the initiative of Fr. Michael Harrington of the Office for Cultural Diversity. They assessed the needs of the fast-growing community and discussed their future needs. Scot said he’s heard there are as many Portuguese-speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese as there are Spanish speakers.

2nd segment: Scot welcomed Antonio and Fr. Roger to the show. He asked Antonio about the appointment of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as the new nuncio to the US.

Antonio said Vigano was previously the secretary-general of the Vatican City Governorate. Scot asked his sense from his friends in Rome on he appointment. Fr. Roger said Americans will like his management style because he brought many American management best practices to the Vatican, which was controversial in Rome. It streamlined operations and saved 25% on the cost of running the Vatican without cutting any budgets, in part by cutting out “friend-of-a-friend” contracts and deals with vendors to the Vatican.

Fr. Roger wondered what criteria Vigano will be favoring in his recommendations on new bishops for the US, whether it will be management ability or more pastoral sensibilities or more likely some combination of both.

Scot and Susan discussed the role of the nuncio as the papal representative to both the Church in the US, but also to the government of the US.

Scot and Antonio discussed that Vigano said he has big shoes to fill in replacing Archbishop Sambi who died in the middle of the summer. They agreed that in this case it is true as Sambi was much loved in the US. Antonio knew Sambi over many years, back to when Sambi was the Pope’s representative in the Holy Land, a very difficult role. He was very down to earth, very cordial, and had a strong sense of humor.

Scot said Pope Benedict declared a Year of Faith to begin October 11, 2012 through the Feast of Christ the King in November of the next year. Fr. Roger said the Pope chose the Year of Faith to begin during a Synod of Bishops in Rome next October on the topic of the New Evangelization. In order to pass on the faith, we need to know it and love and Pope Benedict knows most of us in the faith need a brush-up on our faith. October 11, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the Feast of Christ the King is the end of the liturgical year, which focuses us on eternity.

Scot said both Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II have dedicated their papacies to the correct implementation of Vatican II. Susan said until there is another ecumenical council in the Church we will continue to revisit and focus on this council, the most recent.

Susan asked Fr. Roger if he thinks that the apostolic letter Porta Fidei (“Gate of Faith”) is the third in the Pope’s series so far of the two encyclicals on Hope and Love. Fr. Roger said we can expect before the end of the year a teaching from the Pope that will help us prepare for this year of faith.

Scot asked Antonio what it says that the Pope is basing some of his hopes for the Church on the work of the new evangelical and missionary lay movements in the Church. Antonio said the Church needs to adapt in every generation to the needs of the people. John Paul II saw in these new movements the role of being able to bring the Good News to this new world we live in that doesn’t take for granted the truths of the faith. When you have a Christian culture, you can assume that people understand the context of faith. But when the culture becomes post-Christian, people need a more fundamental experience of their faith and the new movements help people witness the faith and have a personal experience of the faith through the members of the movements. They can show how lives can change through the experience of the faith.

Scot asked Fr. Roger about all the themed Years we’ve been seeing over the past decade or so: Year of the Rosary, Year for Priests, Year of St. Paul, etc. Fr. Roger said Pope John Paul brought this custom from his native Poland where the Church often focused on a particular topic. Pope Benedict continued that tradition. Fr. Roger wishes we had a special theme every year, even on the diocesan level. He said Pope Benedict is seeing across the world where people are taking for granted what they think they know about the faith based on a few teachings from the Catechism. But we need a deeper relationship with Christ to ground that faith and bring us deeper.

3rd segment: Scot said the Mass. bishops just urged the passage of antihuman trafficking legislation in Massachusetts. Antonio said both the Mass. House and Senate passed two separate bills on this issue. Trafficking is a tremendous problem for people who are often not free to make their own choices, including young people caught up in gangs, women in prostitutions, and illegal immigrants who end up as virtual slaves. The bills were passed in June and the bishops are urging that the work on the bills be completed in this session and not forgotten.

Scot read from the bishops’ letter, including a request to make sure criminal penalties are imposed. Sen. Mark Montigny, chair of the committee that dealt with the bill, welcomed the bishops’ statement.

Susan said the Sisters of St. Joseph in Boston have been working with this issue of human trafficking and have a lot of information on the topic on their website

Scot suggested that people could call their state senator and state representative to have them push this bill forward.

In related news out of Washington, DC, an agency of the US Catholic bishops was denied further federal grants to help trafficking victims because the Obama administration said they weren’t promoting abortion and contraception to the women they were helping. The Migrant and Refugee Services agency has been on the forefront of the work to help victims of trafficking, but now that contract has gone to companies that weren’t even qualified to engage in this work.

Fr. Roger said this shows how the Obama administration militantly pushes abortion and contraception even when doing so hurts the people that are supposed to be helped. Scot said it shows how when a pro-abortion administration comes into office in the US that the abortion ideology becomes so fundamental to policy. He said this is bullying against pro-lifers. This administration doesn’t allow people of faith to do their service to society in ways that are compatible with their faith.

Antonio said Catholics need to make their voices hear. Scot said this happened because of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2009 saying this failure to force Catholics to support abortion was a violation of the separation of church and state. Susan said this prejudice is outrageous, especially when we are working so well for the solution of the problem that is supposed to be addressed, the care of victims of trafficking. Anotnio noted that the US bishops have created an office to monitor the issue of religious freedom in the US. There seems to be an unwritten rule in the Obama administration: ABC, Anyone but Catholics. Scot said we talk about this now because it’s the infancy of an oppressive secularist attitude in this country. He recalled the haunting poem from Nazi Germany:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Susan added the quote from Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

4th segment: In the Anchor this week is an article on the website, which helps people who have porn addiction. Fr. Roger said porn addiction affects so many people, including men, women, and young people. It’s one of the most difficult addictions from which to be freed. Psychologists said it’s much more addictive than even what happens with cocaine.

Fr. Roger said it’s not often talked about in the Church. We need to talk about not just the harm it causes, but also the resources available to help people. He showed a video in his parish that showed how it causes harm to marriages and other relationships. He said this new websites is by Dr. Peter Kliponis, who was one of the US bishops’ experts on this topic for helping people with this addiction. Fr. Roger said when he found out about this website he wanted to promote it.

The website has many eye-popping statistics on this website:

  • There are 4.2 million pornographic websites
  • There are 420 million pornographic web pages
  • There are 68 million daily pornographic search engine requests – Google, 25% of all search engine requests
  • There are 4.5 billion average daily pornographic emails
  • There are 100,000 child porn websites worldwide
  • Men admitting to accessing pornography at work: 20%
  • U.S. adults who regularly visit Internet pornography websites: 40 million
  • Christians who said pornography is a major problem in the home: 47%
  • Adults admitting to Internet pornography addiction: 10%

Scot said he’s also seen a statistic that 70% of male college students view pornography at least weekly. How does that affect how they view women on campus? What are colleges doing to stop it? This new website offers great tools for overcoming this addiction.

Susan said she was shocked to see that the largest population of Internet pornography users are 12-17 year olds. How does this affect the formation of their view of women throughout the rest of their life? Scot said it makes him wonder how these boys will look at his own daughter.

Antonio noted the perniciousness of Internet porn because you don’t have to go outside the home to find it. He said he teaches his own children about modesty and chastity and treating others with dignity. The only way to really solve this is person to person, one at a time, in families. He noted that porn destroys the ability to relate to another person. It is most prevalent in the years when young people are supposed to be learning how to relate to others, preparing for marriage and family life.

In the Anchor article, Pope John Paul is quoted as saying that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but objectifying someone else, treating them as an object. Kliponis said there is hope for healing and recovery. It isn’t easy, but it happens.

Scot ran quickly through local stories, including a $1.2 million gift from the Mosakowski Family Foundation to support Catholic schools on the North Shore. He also noted a Pilot story about Cardinal Sean visiting the Ringling Bros. circus in Boston. Susan said the photos on the website are fantastic. The national chaplain for circus folk is Fr. Gerry Hogan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.

There is also a continuation of the series from Project Rachel, and the appointment of a new pastor of St. Therese parish in Billerica. Fr. Roger pointed out in the Anchor an article about parishes preparing for the first Feast Day of Blessed John Paul II on Saturday. Antonio pointed out the ongoing series about the bishops of Boston, with its second installment this week.

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