Summary of today’s show: On our Thursday show, Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, Fr. Roger Landry, and Gregory Tracy considered the news headlines of the week, including the start of the Fortnight for Freedom; the end of Fr. Roger Landry’s tenure as editor of The Anchor; the deadline looming for Choose Life license plates; and the Vatican gaining control of the .catholic internet domain.
Listen to the show:
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott
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
Links from today’s show:
- 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: Fortnight for Freedom; Changes at The Anchor; Choose Life license plates; Dot-Catholic
1st segment: Scot welcomed everyone to the show. Susan and Scot talked about how work in the religious education office doesn’t slow down in summer because religious educators in parishes now have more time for planning and preparations for the next year. Susan and her office also met with the Anti-Defamation League, who they work with regularly on joint educational programs.
Scot said today begins the two-week Fortnight for Freedom, in which the bishops have asked everyone to pray more, study more, and act more to defend religious liberty.
2nd segment: Scot and Susan welcomed Greg and Fr. Roger to show. The first topic is the Fortnight for Freedom and Scot played the audio of a new video from Cardinal Seán for the Fortnight for Freedom, in which he asked everyone to tune in to the live, interactive town hall meeting he will lead on Monday, June 25 on CatholicTV.
Scot said the Cardinal’s message is basically that we should not take for granted our religious liberty and we need to preserve it for future generations. Fr. Roger’s editorial this week is on the same topic and it takes readers through the main prayer for the Fortnight produced by the US Bishops conference.
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The prayer begins by turning the first words of the Declaration of Independence into words of praise and thanksgiving, “O God our Creator, from Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Then it describes how those rights correspond to religious duties that society must respect: “You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God, and Your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of Your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.” Next, it turns to prayers of petition that we might act in accordance with our God-given rights and gifts and that God will fortify us during this
Fortnight to protect and promote true freedom. “We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart readily to defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.” Then it prays for the gift of unity in the Church. Some joke that the only time the Church stands together is at the Alleluia before the Gospel. It’s now a time in which the Church needs the gift of true communion to overcome division in order to give a united witness to liberty, and turn back the threats of liberty not merely for ourselves but for all those who will come after us. “Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with
every trial withstood and every danger overcome – for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us – this great land will always be ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”
Fr. Roger said they’ve been praying this prayer in his own parish already and encourages every listener to download the prayer and to pray it at home and at church.
Scot said on Monday, Cardinal Seán and four religious liberty experts will give brief presentations stake questions from the studio audience and those who are listening. Susan said the ingredients of good catechesis are here: prayer, study, and action. She said the town hall meeting will allow people to send in questions via Twitter and Facebook. She thinks it’s the first time this has ever happened before. She did point out that it will also be available in re-broadcasts.
Scot asked Greg for his opinion of the town hall meeting as a veteran journalist. He said it is covering all forms of media: TV, radio, new media, print.
Scot said the Diocese of Anchorage, Alaska, has organized a town hall meeting to bring people together to watch this town hall meeting on CatholicTV. Several parishes are also organizing gatherings to watch it as well. He said the other panelists include Dr. John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America; Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus; Kim Daniels of CatholicVoices USA, and Dr. Angela Franks of the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization.
Scot also mentioned that there is a great column by Dwight Duncan in both the Anchor and the Pilot this week called “Religious Freedom: Use It or Lose It.” If we won’t fight to preserve our liberties, we shouldn’t be surprised if they are eroded.
What does Ihis mean? It doesn’t mean that in this country you have just the right to believe whatever you want
to believe. Even in North Korea they have that right, because as a practical matter no one can force you to believe
or not believe something. ‘The free exercise of religion means the ability to act on those beliefs. To practice your religion in private or in public. To proclaim your religion to others, if you wish. To spend your money in furtherance of your own religion, and not in furtherance of anyone else’s. To promote what you think is moral, and to not promote anything you think is immoral. These are all necessary consequences of the idea of religious freedom.
Fr. Roger was struck how Dwight recalled Paul Revere and Rosa Parks.
It’s a bit of a Paul Revere moment. Only this time it’s not the British that are coming. It’s Big Brother. Or, if you
prefer, think of Rosa Parks. We can go along and sit quietly in the back of the bus, or we can stand up for human
dignity and Ihe rights of conscience. When it comes to our precious heritage of religious freedom, we must either use it or lose it.
Scot said this isn’t just about contraception coverage under universal health care. Just a few years ago, in the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Charities was forced out of adoption because a new law was passed that prevented them from doing so and abiding by their conscience. Greg said on some level we say to ourselves that they wouldn’t really allow the Church to close hospitals and schools. It shows that the other side will go to almost any length to impose their beliefs.
Scot said once the freedom is lost, it’s tough to regain it. The best strategy is to defend it while you still have it. Susan said she loves all of the history that Duncan covers. She particularly enjoyed this part:
Of course, we want to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. But we must also render to God the things
that are God’s. Conscience, as the voice of God within, is distinctly a resident of Our Father’s house.
The top story in the Anchor this week is a story about the transition of the editorship from Fr. Roger, who has been editor of the newspaper for the past 7 years. Fr. Roger said he took over in the summer of 2005, three years after the clergy sex abuse scandals broke. There were a lot of beleaguered Catholics and lot of bad coverage of the Church in the secular media, so he wanted to pull the bushel baskets off all the very good work being done in parishes across the diocese. He wanted to show that the good news was ongoing. He also wanted to specialize in local news. He wanted to cover the whole diocese. He also replaced all the national columnists with local columnists to give the newspaper a diocesan paper.
Fr. Roger said he will miss the newspaper team and the pulpit in front of 29,000 people. He won’t miss the extra 30 hours per week he spent on the newspaper. He plans to write some books and continue to be a pastor in his new parish. Fr. Roger said he already started working on research for a book about Pope John Paul II and young people. No matter how young we are, he thinks John Paul’s teaching to young people will buttress our faith. Many of his retreats are being converted into books by Catholic publishers. A book on the prayer of Pope Benedict is coming out.
Fr. Roger has been asked to continue to write a column in the Anchor each week, which will be easier as a columnist than as the editor and official voice of the diocese. His successor, Fr. Rich Wilson, is a native of Quincy who worked on the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Greg said working on the Pilot was difficult for him when he first started there. He came from a marketing firm where he was used to more regular hours. He realized that it could suck up every minute of your day. People at secular newspapers keep asking how he produces a newspaper with the small staff he has. Greg said the staff is very dedicated to what they do.
Susan said she still values the tactile sense of reading an actual newspaper in print, as much as she reads news online. Scot encouraged everyone to subscribe to the Pilot or Anchor to support their work. Even if you read it online, please got to their websites and make a donation.
In the Pilot this week is a special edition for the ordination Mass this weekend, which includes profiles of the six men to be ordained, but also lots of information about the men celebrating their jubilees. The six men being ordained are Eric Bennett, Eric Cadin, Felipe Gonzalez, John Healey, Br. Michael Sheehan, and Adrian Milic. Scot identified them, their backgrounds, and where they will celebrate their first Masses.
Scot asked Fr. Roger to point out a few things viewers should look for. Fr. Roger said the candidates laying on the floor is often very striking to observers. It symbolizes that the old man is dying so that a new man can rise in this candidate for the priesthood. It’s always very moving as all kneel and chant the litany of saints, begging for their help for the men and for all of us. It’s always important when the man’s hands are drenched in sacred oil and a special towel. For Fr. Roger one of the most powerful moments is hearing the newly ordained priest recite his part of the Eucharistic Prayer for the very first time. We will hear Christ in their voice continue the prayer of the Church.
No matter how many ordinations he goes to, he never gets tired of them.
Watch the Mass on CatholicTV, Saturday at 9 am.
Also in the Pilot, the June 30 deadline looms for the Choose Life license plates. They need to have people sign up by the end of the month in order for them not to lose their bond.
Another story is that the Internet controlling authority has expended internet domains beyond .com and .org. The Vatican has stepped forward to put up the money and request control over .catholic and other versions of the word in Cyrillic, Arabic, and Chinese. In a few years, anything with the .Catholic domain extension will be known as an official organization or entity of the Church. Susan said that the problem of reviewing the authenticity of websites that claim to be Catholic. So this will be for any organization that is officially listed in the Kenedy Directory in the US or other official organizations elsewhere in the world. Greg said it comes at a significant cost, $185,000 each, and $25,000 per year. He said we probably won’t see these until 2013.
Fr. Roger can’t wait for TheGoodCatholicLife.catholic web site. Greg suggests people read the story in the Pilot about three parishes in Salem working together to form a pro-life committee. Fr. Roger suggested the article on the Fortnight for Freedom activities in parishes through the diocese of Fall River.