Program #0172 for Friday, November 4, 2011: Catholic bashing in the media

November 4, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell

Today’s topics: Catholic bashing in the media; Ad limina visits; WQOM and Station of the Cross fund drive; Sunday’s Gospel readings

Summary of today’s show: Be vigilant and ready to give a reason for your faith, say Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell on today’s show, when they look at a front-page article in the local papers that give many anti-Catholic critics an opportunity to take potshots at the Church. Be ready and vigilant is also the theme of this Sunday’s Gospel, where we will hear about the groom who comes when he’s not expected, which tells us how Christ will come for us at the end of our lives. Will we be ready or will we be left thinking we still had time to be better Christians?

1st segment: Scot welcomed Fr. Mark back to the show. Fr. Mark is flying to Virginia this weekend where one of his assistants is getting married tomorrow. Scot said Cardinal Seán and the auxiliary bishops of Boston are in Rome this week for their ad limina visit, which is periodic visit to the Vatican to update the Holy Father on what’s going on in the diocese and he relates his particular concerns. Scot said each ministry gives lists of statistics and a report to be presented to Rome. Fr. Mark said the last ad limina was in 2004, but at the time Cardinal Seán was brand-new in Boston and didn’t present a report. Scot said the ad limina visit before that Cardinal Seán was bishop of Fall River and he brought some of the Fall River priests and seminarians, including Scot’s brother Fr. Roger Landry, to a visit with Pope John Paul II in Castel Gandolfo.

Scot said Pope Benedict does these visits a little differently from Pope John Paul, and doesn’t do many one-on-one meetings with bishops. So perhaps they don’t have the opportunity to bring others with them. Scot said the Holy Father’s address to the bishops of New England should be significant because they are the first group of American bishops to see him in this round of ad limina visits. The last time he addressed the US on such a large-scale was when he visited the US in 2008.

Fr. Mark said in addition to the Holy Father, the bishops will meet with officials of the various Vatican congregations and councils. They will talk about many of the issues in the dioceses as well as sharing lived experiences with the Roman officials. Scot said the bishops also bring all the prayers and intentions of the people of the local dioceses to the shrines and churches of the apostles, saints, and martyrs.

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2nd segment: Scot told Fr. Mark that today’s Boston Herald had a front-page article on today’s 80th birthday of Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston who now lives in Rome. Scot said when you read all the comments in the article you find much Catholic bashing and that’s why it’s so important to have Catholic media. You can’t get a fair shake in the secular media. Fr. Mark said it’s not that we don’t deserve some of the criticism of the Church, but after a while it becomes too much. He said he sees a lot of errors in the reporting. The bishops in Boston aren’t going to Rome at this time for Cardinal Law’s birthday as some report, nor were the bishops of Boston summoned to Rome as if it were unusual. Fr. Mark said every single occasion is an opportunity to bash us. Scot said when the coverage is so one-sided, common sense says that they’re doing it to take shots at the Church. When the Herald devotes its front page to the Church, it gives a cue to the rest of the media in Boston.

Scot noted we are called to forgive. The Herald has given a new forum for everyone to vent their spleen again in the comment section of the website and it gets under his skin. Catholic media gives us a chance to hear the news without being subjected to it. Fr. Mark said this seems to be over the top as an opportunity spew their venom. He also pointed out that the 80th birthday of a cardinal is significant because it means he’s no longer eligible to vote in a conclave for a pope. He also steps down from all his positions in the Vatican congregations where serves.

Scot said he heard a lot of anti-Catholic stuff on some of the sports radio station, not about Cardinal Law, but about Catholics in general. If it were about any other group, it would be rejected as totally inappropriate, but as a Catholic community we haven’t said “You’ve gone too far.” It’s important we all say that this is wrong and start holding the media accountable.

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3rd segment: Now as we do every week at this time, we will consider the Mass readings for this Sunday, specifically the Gospel reading.

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Scot said it’s well-known reading and he wonders if we understand the customs as well as those 2,000 years ago would. The groom would go to the brides home and they would all then process back to the groom’s home where the ceremony would take place. But the message is we need to be ready for Jesus to come for us. Jesus will be coming for us and will we be ready when he does? Will we have our lives in order or will we be like those who think there’s always time to get ready. There’s some things you can’t “borrow” like someone else’s personal holiness and readiness for Jesus. Fr. Mark said Matthew is writing to a community that’s saying, “I thought Jesus was coming.” The Second Reading for Sunday has Paul saying the same thing about being ready. The danger is in growing complacent. He said it applies to the Catholic bashing: Are we ready to defend our faith?

Scot said don’t take for granted that there’s always time for confession. Every Saturday there’ opportunity for confession at most parishes. In the cities, there are chapels that have confessions every day. Fr. Mark said we don’t want to be “Some day” Catholics: “Some day, I’m going to say more prayers, go to the sacraments, and so on.”

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