Program #0166 for Thursday, October 27, 2011: Vatican economics; Pope in Assisi; World Mission Sunday and Bl. John Paul Saturday; Profile of Cushing; Project Rachel

October 27, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, executive editor of The Anchor, the newspaper of the Fall River diocese; and Gregory Tracy, managing editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston archdiocese

  • 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: Vatican thoughts on financial crisis; Pope in Assisi; World Mission Sunday and Bl. John Paul Saturday; Profile of Cushing; Project Rachel

Summary of today’s show: What is the authority of a Vatican document? It depends on what you mean by “Vatican”. Scot, Fr. Roger Landry and Gregory Tracy discuss the recent economic paper released by a pontifical council that’s making waves, not least for its comparison of Church teaching to Occupy Wall Street. They also consider Pope Benedict’s visit to Assisi today for the 20th anniversary of an interreligious peace meeting at which the Holy Father spoke in no uncertain terms about the responsibility of religions for violence done in their name. CLoser to home, Cardinal Sean celebrated World Mission Sunday and the first feast of Blessed John Paul this past weekend at Holy Cross Cathedral. Two series continued in the pages of the Pilot with a profile of the storied Cardinal Richard Cushing and an anonymous memoir of a woman who sought healing through Project Rachel. Finally, we remembered the oldest and longest-serving priest in the Archdiocese, Fr. Paul R. Francis, who died this week.

1st segment: Scot welcomed Greg and Fr. Roger back to the show. They talked about a trip that Greg and his wife took last week to Mexico for their 20th wedding anniversary. Fr. Roger has been busy leading clergy retreats in Pennsylvania and Arizona in recent weeks. He’s been doing these retreats in many places over the past few years. He preached on Pope John Paul’s Theology of Body, which is intended to help priests as they counsel and work with married couples.

2nd segment: Scot said the first story is about a document published this week by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Fr. Roger said the document is significant as a study document by Catholic leaders, but it does not have the authority of papal encyclical or a teaching of the Magisterium. It’ intended to help us reflect on the moral issues involved in our examination of economic issues. It tries to applies Church teaching to economic issues, but it’s up to us to put it in its context.

Scot said the document said there usually needs to be a mechanism that fosters the common good in global economic transactions. While it may suggest a global financial authority. This has met some criticism, including some who say it shows the Vatican is out of touch.

Greg said the sentiment in the Brumley’s article may be harsh—the Church wants the poor to be protected from the unfettered effects of capitalism—in practical terms this is an idea that won’t be possible. Scot said Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council said that those who are part of Occupy Wall Street and the Vatican agree in that financial institutions should be held accountable. Fr. Roger said it surprise him that the Vatican has discerned what Occupy WallStreet is about when those in the movement themselves don’t know. Scot noted that said that people don’t distinguish the different types of pronouncements from the Vatican:

When people reach the conclusion that the Vatican is talking nonsense, they do not ordinarily distinguish between the sound fundamental principles of Church teaching and the questionable economic analysis that follows. Nor do they make fine distinctions on the different levels of Church teaching authority. They conclude simply that the Vatican talks nonsense. So by reaching beyond their field of expertise, Vatican officials undermine their own teaching authority.

Scot added that Occupy Wall Street in this country cannot be separated from partisan politics and so using it as an example of a broad-based movement would be off-base. Fr. Roger said that Cardinal Turkson is from Africa and has experience of multinational companies coming into the continent and taking advantage of the poor, however his experience should also tell him that turning to governments to control such things is fraught with the danger of corruption and exacerbating the problem.

Scot turned to Assisi, Italy, where the Holy Father is meeting with 200 leaders of world religions for the 20th anniversary of an interreligious meeting for peace that Pope John Paul II called for the first in the mid-1980s.

Pope Benedict called out the danger of the use of religion as a means of violence against those who do not hold to that religion. He also said militant secularism is also attacking religion as if it brings only violence. He said that militant secularism—especially in the form of socialism and fascism—have racked up a higher body count than all religious wars. At the the same time, he asked for forgiveness for the times the Church has been involved in religious violence. Pope Benedict also brought to the gathering some atheists who want peace in order to have them help the entire movement ensure that religion is always for the good of the human person. The meeting was held in Assisi because St. Francis is acknowledged by all in his sanctity and that he is still 800 years later an agent for peace worldwide.

3rd segment: Scot said this past Sunday was World Mission Sunday and Cardinal Seán celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross which included people of many languages and cultures. Cardinal Seán’s homily touched on the physical and spiritual needs of the poorest in the world, and living the Great Commission of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Fr. Roger said he calls his own parishioners in New Bedford to the new evangelization. If we’ve come to experience the depth of Christ’s love, we’re going to want to share him with others.

On Saturday, the Cardinal Seán also celebrated a special Mass, this one for the Adopt-a-Priest Apostolate on the occasion of the first feast of Blessed John Paul II. He quoted Loretta Gallagher who leads the effort who assured everyone that there’s no need to start a pen pal relationship with the priest, they just need to pray for them. For those who want to adopt one of the remaining priests available, go to Serra Boston’s website.

After the Mass, papal biographer George Weigel spoke about John Paul’s life. One topic he discussed was that Pope John Paul witnessed to the Gospel to more people in person than anyone else in the history of the world through his many mission trips. He also talked about how keeping Christianity in the culture is important. He noted that the Polish state survived being subsumed by the Soviets though the people’s preservation of their language, literature, and way of life.

4th segment: Scot said this week is the third in a series of profiles on the bishops of Boston. This week it’s Cardinal Richard Cushing. Scot said he was surprised by some of the facts he learned, including that he was once thrown out of a school in South Boston and that he enlisted in the military but was given a medical discharge. Greg said he enjoys writing these articles because he learns so much about the bishops that he didn’t know, even for Cardinal Cushing, who is one of the most storied of our bishops. Fr. Roger said Cardinal Cushing had a strong missionary spirit that reminds him of St. Philip Neri. He said Cushing was probably frustrated when he was told he was’t going to the missions but was staying in the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, but when he became Archbishop that missionary spirit led to the founding of the St. James Society which has sent many priests to the missions.

Scot also noted that this week’s Pilot includes another installment in a series of anonymous columns from Project Rachel written by a woman who had an abortion and later came to know the peace and healing of God’s mercy. He recommended those who want more information to go to the Project Rachel Boston website or call 508-651-3100. Greg noted how each of the profiles show how different each experience is for the women involved, but yet there are similarities including the external pressures they felt and the lack of choice they thought they had that forced them into this course of action.

Fr. Roger said he often hears from people who tell him that they’ve done something they think God won’t forgive them for. He said it’s a wonderful experience to help them discover God’s love and mercy and forgiveness.

Scot said that earlier this week the oldest and longest ordained priest in the archdiocese, Fr. Paul R. Francis, has died and his funeral was celebrated this week by Cardinal Seán.

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