Summary of today’s show: Due to the successful vote of the conclave and the announcement of the election of Pope Francis, this pre-recorded show from Wednesday, March 13, did not air. Rather than let these great interviews with Scot of Kim Daniels of Catholic Voices USA, Greg Erlandson of Our Sunday Visitor, and James Stella of the Vatican Museums go to waste, we’re bringing them to you now in this podcast form.
Listen to the show:
Watch the show via live video streaming or a recording later: BostonCatholicLive.com
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry
Today’s guest(s): Kim Daniels of Catholic Voices USA, Greg Erlandson of Our Sunday Visitor, and James Stella
Links from today’s show:
- George Martell’s photos from Rome at BostonCatholicPhotos.com
- Scot Landry’s video updates from Rome on YouTube.com
- Catholic Voices USA
- Our Sunday Visitor
- The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums
Today’s topics: LIVE from Rome: Catholic Voices USA, Our Sunday Visitor, and a Boston Catholic in the Vatican Museums
1st segment: As we taped this show, the cardinals were making their afternoon votes on Wednesday. Scot related what it was like in St. Peter’s Square during the vigils of the smoke from the Sistine Chapel.
Scot Landry welcomed Kim Daniels of Catholic Voices USA to the show and noted that she participated in the Town Hall forum of the Fortnight for Freedom last June. They also talked about Catholic Voices and what they’re doing in Rome. Kim said she’s been writing and doing interviews, talking to people from all over the world covering this event that’s the biggest thing in the world right now.
Scot said back home everybody’s talking about the conclave. What should we as Catholics be communicating about our faith when people ask us about what’s going on. Kim said it’s an important moment for us to talk about our faith. We’re excited they’re talking about Americans as serious contenders for the papacy.
Scot said it wasn’t long ago most people would have said an American wouldn’t be a pope in our lifetime. Now that’s not true, mainly because so many Italians were praying for Cardinal Seán to be made pope and others including Cardinal Dolan among those seriously considered.
Kim said when Pope Benedict resigned it didn’t cross her mind that there could be an American pope until today. People see the need for a holy man as Pope and Cardinal Seán is an example of that.
Scot said American cardinals have a reputation of being good administrators. So many have been known for massive construction of church infrastructure. But today, they’re known as communicators and holy men as well as good organizers
Kim said people in the US are involved in parishes more so than even in Europe. The American cardinals are known for being able to get things done, for finding efficiency, for working with the New Evangelization.
Kim and Scot agreed that the media doesn’t get things wrong due to having an axe to grind, but because they haven’t been informed. She said the press conferences with the cardinals were great for the amount of evangelization they did.
Kim said the most surprising part of her trip was how excited all the Romans are about it. As soon as word comes out that there is white smoke, the people come running from all over the city.
Kim said seeing the black smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel chimney the first time was exciting. She said the whole crowd was happy and excited despite the bad weather. There is optimism from the crowd.
Kim predicted the white smoke would come Thursday night because there wasn’t a clear frontrunner this time. Scot thinks after the 15th vote, there would be 5 to 10 cardinals who had received double digit numbers of votes, showing that the Church has many possible leaders.
Scot said Cardinals Dolan and Seán will come home following all the buzz and momentum. Kim said her own cardinal, Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, DC, is also much loved and they’re also excited he’s being talked about, but also that he’s participating in the conclave.
2nd segment: Scot is now in St. Peter’s Square, where the black smoke flew again, and welcomed Greg Erlandson, president of Our Sunday Visitor, to the show. They noted the smoke came earlier by about 20 minutes than expected. They had two votes by 11:45 rather than noon.
They agreed that the second and third votes would be most telling. The first vote could have double digits in names, but by the second and third, the numbers would be whittled down.
They discussed the cardinals’ dinners at Casa Santa Martae where Greg had stayed on a visit to the Vatican. He said it’s like a well-appointed retreat center. It’s austere, but comfortable.
Greg tweeted out a photo of the room.
Greg predicted the conclave would last three days, until the 10th or 11th ballot, because the cardinals are focused. He said it’s clear that there isn’t a frontrunner.
Greg talked about all that Our Sunday Visitor does as a diverse non-profit organization serving the Church. They just celebrated their hundredth anniversary.
Scot asked Greg to talk about OSV’s founder, Fr. John Noll, who later became Archbishop John Noll. He was a priest of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who started a newspaper to help Catholics defend the Church against attack.
They said secular media provides good spot coverage of big events with amazing images, but for depth, rely on Catholic media.
Greg and Scot discussed how quickly new technology allows media organizations to provide resources in response to breaking events today. OSV can move quickly and get the second-day story after the daily newspapers get the breaking news. That’s where they provide a service both online and in print.
Scot said Greg is also president of the Catholic Press Association. He said all newspapers are seeing declining numbers of subscribers, because people are reading them more and more online. How do they get people to support the ministry of Catholic newspapers in an online world? Greg said they’re still adapting to an online business model to replace advertising and other income streams. People want their information when they want, where they want it, how they want it. The challenge is how to the do it while maintaining the infrastructure and staff for both editions.
One of his concerns is that some of these conflicts in society, the bishops need a voice even as they are losing their voice in these newspapers. People still need to get that newspaper delivered to them.
However, we’re able to do things we’d never been able to do before in terms of new and social media. Scot said it’s his experience with the Pilot is that the most engaged Catholics in the Archdiocese are the ones reading the Pilot. They need to find a way to get people to support the Pilot to cover the salary and benefits of the people providing the stories that inspire and educate them. Greg said we have a culture of stewardship in the American Catholic Church and we need to import that into our consumption of Catholic media.
Greg talked about some of the beautiful moments he experiences in Rome, like a group of young nuns praying together or another woman standing by herself praying the rosary or people who bring their nations’ flags. He also heard about a mother who wrote a note for her son that said if there was white smoke her son should be excused from class.
In Rome, they are inherently Catholic. It’s in their blood and that comes out during these kinds of events.
Scot noted that during Cardinal Seán’s Mass at Santa Maria dell Vittoria all the Italian cameramen and reporters all participated in Mass and even went up for Communion. He said you don’t see that in the US because American reporters consider themselves to be working, not participating. Greg had the same reaction at the Masses he saw. Rome is a city of contrasts. Sometimes there’s an anti-Church thread in Rome because otherwise they would drown in it all, yet they still celebrate their faith and the feasts and the like.
3rd segment: This week’s benefactor card raffle winner is Gladys Dyer
She wins the booklet The Way of the Cross at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy and the audio CD The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality by Matthew Kelly.
If you would like to be eligible to win in an upcoming week, please visit WQOM.org. For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during “The Good Catholic Life” program.
4th segment: Scot welcomed James Stella to the show. He’s originally from North Andover and now works for the Vatican. He had left his full-time job at Genzyme in Cambridge started as a volunteer at Caritas Internationalis in 2011 and eventually became a paid consultant.
James said he’d never felt his old job in pharmaceutical sales to be all that rewarding. As his faith grew, he wanted to do more that was in line with it. Now he has a new job in the Vatican, working in the Vatican Museums with the Patrons of the Arts office, which does fundraising in the US and Europe for the preservation and restoration of the arts in the Vatican Museums. Ticket sales only cover operating expenses. Right now he’s working on a project for the Holy Stairs, brought back by St. Helen in the 400s. He’s also working on a project restoring artwork in the Vatican Gardens.
Scot asked where the Vatican Museums fits in the world’s art museums. He said it’s the frontrunner in terms of Christian art collections and may be the greatest art collection overall, when you consider works like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
Scot was struck by the TV images of the procession of the cardinals into the Sistine Chapel because it was well lit and how rich and vibrant it is. And those are just two rooms. James said the most rewarding for him is seeing how it inspires visitors, bringing them closer to the faith.
James said it’s hard to pick a favorite, but Michelangelo’s fresco in the Pauline chapel of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. St. Paul appears as an old man in that image. He said observing St. Paul’s conversion reminds James of how all Christians need to be converted and to come closer to our faith, if not that dramatically. He feels he’s come closer to the faith and had a conversion over the past 15-20 years.
Scot asked what the past couple of weeks have been like. He said it’s been incredible and an honor and a humbling experience. He’d never imagined he could be living in Rome at this time. He enjoys the people and culture and the food of Rome.
Scot asked about Cardinal Seán, who the Italians love and call the cappuccino Cardinal. James said he was in Tuscany a few weeks ago and a man asked him about Cardinal Seán, which surprised him. He’s surprised at how Italians have adopted him.
James said he’s been to Naples and the Abruzzo region, as well as Tuscany. He plans to visit Assisi and travel further afield, including Sicily and Sardinia.
Scot asked James when he thinks the white smoke will come. He said he guessed it would be Friday morning.
Scot asked about growing up at St. Michael’s in Andover, which is the largest parish in the Archdiocese now. James said his family attended Mass every Sunday. At first for him it was a requirement, but over the years, especially with the opening of the new church, he became more involved with the parish as well as St. Leonard’s in the North End, where he moved in 2006.
Speaking of Rome, James said Catholics should try to come and see it firsthand once in their life as the center of the Church. You can see it on TV or read about it, but there’s no way to replace being there in person. He said the best time to come in September. October is the start of the rainy season.
People who are interested in getting involved can visit their website and find out about their local chapter, contact them and get involved with the events of the chapters.
5th segment: Scot reminded listeners that the show was recorded about 4pm Rome time and that the smoke was expected to go up about 5pm. As it turned out, the white smoke went up, our new Pope Francis was introduced and the airing of this episode of The Good Catholic Life was pre-empted by live programming on the Station of the Cross network. We hope you enjoyed this special episode.