Program #0433 for Thursday, December 13, 2012: Papal tweets; Ecclesia in America; Supreme Court consider same-sex marriage; charitable deductions; Christmas gift giving

December 13, 2012

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Papal tweets; Ecclesia in America; Supreme Court consider same-sex marriage; charitable deductions; Christmas gift giving

Papal tweets; Ecclesia in America; Supreme Court consider same-sex marriage; charitable deductions; Christmas gift giving

Summary of today’s show: Our usual Thursday panel of Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, Gregory Tracy and Fr. Roger Landry consider the headlines of the week, including Pope Benedict’s first tweets on Twitter; the Roman symposium marking the 15th anniversary of the Ecclesia in America synod; the Supreme Court taking up two cases on same-sex marriage; concerns over a possible elimination of the charitable tax deduction; and Christmas gift giving that makes a real impact.

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

Today’s guest(s): Gregory Tracy, managing editor of the Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, and Fr. Roger Landry, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River

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: Papal tweets; Ecclesia in America; Supreme Court consider same-sex marriage; charitable deductions; Christmas gift giving

1st segment: Scot welcomed everyone to the show and talked with Susan Abbott about the visit of her children and grandchildren over the week, including a massive family portrait. Scot said he was able to go to part of the God of This City tour in Wakefield last night. The photos are available at Tonight, they will be continuing at Immaculate Conception Parish in Stoughton, 7-9pm, and at Cathedral of the Holy Cross tomorrow, 7-10pm.

2nd segment: Scot and Susan welcomed Gregory Tracy and Fr. Roger Landry back to the show. Scot said this week Pope Benedict launched his new Twitter feed and as opf this morning he has 1.6 million followers already. Fr. Roger said the questions the pope responded to where about what Fr. Roger expected. He’s not surprised that Pope Benedict is so good at being profound in 140 characters because this was already his nature. He hopes that this doesn’t become so routine that we take these tweets for granted. Scot read one of the questions and response: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” “We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful” Susan said she isn’t surprised either and there’s a lot to meditate on.

Another pair was: “Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?” “Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you” Greg said this is another great pearl of wisdom and he often finds himself struggling to work in some prayer time. He admits he didn’t think Twitter would be a great medium for the Pope. He used to be able to find 150 words in the speeches of Pope John Paul II that is one coherent thought, but it was difficult to find that in Pope Benedict’s writings.

Scot said he was interviewed by Ira Kantor of the Boston Herald yesterday and he was asked why the Holy Father isn’t following back the people following him. Scot said it’s too difficult to follow everyone and the hashtag #askpontifex is the answer to the dialogue. Scot said the reporter also asked if Cardinal Seán would be communicating directly with the Pope on Twitter. Scot said the Church has developed lines of communications over the centuries and this type of communication isn’t necessary.

Fr. Roger said the launch of the initiative on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is significant, that invoking Mary who brought to the world, Pope Benedict wanted to do the same thing. And because she is patroness of the Americas and the Americas is where Twitter was born and is especially active. Scot pointed out that you don’t have to have a Twitter account to read the Pope’s tweets. Just go to the webpage linked above.

Also going on in Rome this week was a symposium to discuss the 15th anniversary of the post-synodal exhortation Ecclesia in America. Scot said Cardinal Sean gave a speech in Spanish that has been reviewed as being fabulous.

Greg said the synod was an effort to bring unity of effort in the Churches throughout the Western Hemisphere, which are dealing with many similar issues. Scot said the eyes of the Church worldwide often look to where we are as the Church in the Americas. He said he was astounded to learn that the apparition of Guadalupe occurred at exactly the center of the Americas on Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City. Susan said the Holy Father’s comments were insightful as he started with an encounter with the living Christ and formation with fidelity to the truths of the Church. She notices in document after document is the emphasis on love. When you take a step back, you see such hateful dialogue and conflict and the Pope is calling us back to love.

Fr. Roger described his front-row seat as a seminarian in Rome for the Synod for the Americas that this was the anniversary of. He said that Pope John Paul II insisted that Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of America, not the Americas, to emphasize that unity. He said the recommendations of the synod and document have been virtually unimplemented and so this symposium is an attempt to look at them again to revisit them. Fr. Roger said he hopes that Cardinal Seán’s speech is posted on his blog in both Spanish and English to show Cardinal Seán’s facility with the language and the passion with with he preaches and speaks in Spanish. Scot said Cardinal Seán says that he never said a Mass in English until he was made a bishop. Greg said the speech was 45 minutes long so it might be difficult to get into the blog. He noted that the language in which you’re speaking affects the way you say it and the passion with which you preach. Scot said Cardinal Seán is so good with Spanish that the keyboard on his own computer is a Spanish keyboard.

3rd segment: Scot said the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases related to same-sex marriage. One case challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act. The other case is a challenge to Proposition 8 in California. Both cases allege that the laws have unconstitutional bans on marriage between of the same sex.

Greg recounted the history of the Defense of Marriage Act and how it was a response to concerns about the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. He noted it only concerns federal law in relation to marriage, not state law. The Obama administration recently said it won’t defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. He said the Supreme Court may decided to rule on the full constitutionality of same-sex marriage, which is an all or nothing situation, which is a bit unnerving. Scot said this decision could be as big as the Obamacare decision last June.

Fr. Roger said the two cases cover both state and federal levels and he said he can’t believe that the Court would agree with the Obama administration that bans are unconstitutional discrimination against gay and lesbians, but he also doesn’t think they will say that same-sex marriage itself is unconstitutional. Instead they will leave it to the states to pass laws through referendum or the legislative process to define marriage. He thinks the decision will be tight. Greg agreed with Fr. Roger’s assessment. The current Court has generally been ruling in terms of strict constructionism.

Scot said many charitable organizations are making their case in Washington DC this month as we face the fiscal cliff that their futures are in peril if it results in the loss of charitable deductions. Many charities are struggling today, especially smaller church organizations that rely on small donations.

There are also two articles in the Pilot this week about some of the year-end appeals that occur in the Archdiocese. Joe D’Arrigo talked about the Christmas collection as the primary source for the care of our retired priests. Scot focused on Christmas gifts that make an impact. We often spend money on things we end up not even liking. He talked about how much he dislikes the tradition of Yankee Swap in his family and how a gift to anonymous homeless man from his parish’s giving tree prompted him to consider the true gift of giving gifts that make an impact. He also included an appeal for the Pilot, for people to support the newspaper because subscriptions and advertising no longer support the cost of running the newspaper.

Susan said the column shows we sometimes sell kids short, that they are not necessarily consumed with getting more things, but that they can be motivated on their own to want to sacrifice for another. Scot said Fr. Roger wrote this week that we should “give the Giver” meaning Jesus. Fr. Roger said in this Year of Faith, that should affect the gifts we give at Christmas. Especially for kids, we often give them gifts that foment their idolatries instead of getting them gifts that emphasize Christ in their life. He made specific suggestions in the column on the gifts that would be appropriate.

Scot read a list of the ten prayers for the Year of Faith offered by Bishop Ricken of Green Bay.

  1. The Nicene Creed.
  2. The Lord’s Prayer.
  3. The Hail Mary.
  4. The Glory Be.
  5. The Magnificat.
  6. The Canticle of Zechariah.
  7. The Memorare.
  8. The Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Love.
  9. The Angel prayers.
  10. Prayer for the New Evangelization.

Fr. Roger would have added the rosary and substituted the Athanasian creed instead of the Nicene creed. Scot asked for listeners to submit their own top 10 lists of prayers with the reason why to for consideration in a later show.

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