Due to some production technical difficulty, the first 1.5 minutes of the show were not recorded today. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Summary of today’s show: Our usual Thursday panel of Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, and Gregory Tracy review the headlines of the week, including Pope Francis’ historic meeting with his predecessor Benedict XVI; his decision not to move into the Apostolic Palace, but to stay in the simple quarters of the Domus Sancta Martae; his pre-conclave address to the General Congregation of cardinals; the annual recognition of two Boston priests; and reflections on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
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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
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: Pope Francis meets Benedict; Stays in his simple quarters; His pre-conclave remarks to the cardinals; Holy Thursday and Good Friday
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed everyone to the show as we begin the Sacred Triduum with Holy Thursday. Scot welcomed Gregory Tracy to the show and noted that as an adult convert he came into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Scot said the only Mass on Holy Thursday in this diocese is in the evening at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Susan Abbott spoke about her preparations for the Sacred Triduum as well.
Scot said the world’s attention is still focused on Pope Francis. He said last Saturday Pope Francis traveled to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Benedict XVI and he commented how frail Benedict looked. He said they prayed together in the chapel and had a private meeting.
Greg said no other pope has had a predecessor to turn to ever like this. He said in essence, it’s like when a bishop or archbishop has a living predecessor around so it’s not completely unusual. Yet, it’s good to have someone to talk to about a unique circumstance of being pope and the reports say they have talked several times on the phone. Greg said that Benedict looks so frail that he wonders if he was keeping up a brave front, keeping private how frail he was. He also noted how when they prayed, Pope Francis didn’t take his place of primacy in the chapel, but said that as brothers they would kneel next to each other. He said without the secular papal monarchy of the past, it lets him leave behind many of the trappings of monarchy.
Scot said another conspicuous element of the meeting in the photos was a big box of papers sitting between them that hasn’t been explained. Some reports have said that it was a 300-page memo that Benedict wrote to Pope Francis, like a transition memo.
Susan Abbott repeated that it was startling to see the frailty of Benedict and that it was a special moment between the two men when they knelt together.
Scot said Pope Francis didn’t have much time to jump into Holy Week after being elected even as it is the busiest week of the year.
It’s also been announced that Pope Francis has chosen not to move into the Apostolic Palace, where popes have lived since 1903, but to stay in the Domus Sancta Martae. Scot said he was surprised he was going to live in the Domus. Susan said he had said he wanted to live in community and that many parish priests say themselves that living along is very lonely and it must be even more so for the pope. She said a friend has stayed there and reported that it is comfortable but simple.
Scot noted that Pope Francis has celebrated Mass there with Vatican gardeners and cleaners and wants to continue to say public Masses.
Greg Tracy reported that Antonio Enrique, the editor of the Pilot, once stayed in Room 201 of the Domus, the suite where the Pope is now living. Greg said Antonio was traveling with Cardinal Seán and the other rooms were all filled up and this was the only room left even though it wasn’t supposed to be given out. Greg said there’s a small receiving room with a desk and chair, about the size of a medium-sized office. Right off that is a bedroom and bathroom and that’s it. Very sparse and simple.
Scot said we also have to have Fr. Jonathan Gaspar on the show to talk about how he ran into Pope Francis in the Domus and had one of the first private audiences with the Holy Father. Greg said it fits with the personality of the Pope that we’ve learned about, which is that he doesn’t want to be cut off from the common man. He said his concern is perhaps for the Pope’s security.
Scot said when Pope Francis was given the tour of the Apostolic Palace he was heard to remark that 300 people could live there. Greg did point out that the Pope will continue to work in the Apostolic Palace each day and give the Angelus address each Sunday from its window.
Scot predicted that Pope Francis will be living in the Apostolic Palace within two years for security reasons and for the sake of his successors who will live there one day.
In the next story, before the conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio gave a talk to the General Congregations like the other cardinals. Afterward, the cardinal from Havana received the notes he spoke from and after the conclave asked Pope Francis to publish them and received permission. In it, he made four points about evangelization.
Evangelizing implies apostolic zeal. Evangelizing presupposes in the Church the “parresia” of coming out from itself. The Church is called to come out from itself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographical, but also existential: those of the mystery of sin, of suffering, of injustice, those of ignorance and of the absence of faith, those of thought, those of every form of misery.
When the Church does not come out from itself to evangelize it becomes self-referential and gets sick (one thinks of the woman hunched over upon herself in the Gospel). The evils that, in the passing of time, afflict the ecclesiastical institutions have a root in self-referentiality, in a sort of theological narcissism. In Revelation, Jesus says that he is standing at the threshold and calling. Evidently the text refers to the fact that he stands outside the door and knocks to enter… But at times I think that Jesus may be knocking from the inside, that we may let him out. The self-referential Church presumes to keep Jesus Christ within itself and not let him out.
The Church, when it is self-referential, without realizing it thinks that it has its own light; it stops being the “mysterium lunae” and gives rise to that evil which is so grave, that of spiritual worldliness (according to De Lubac, the worst evil into which the Church can fall): that of living to give glory to one another. To simplify, there are two images of the Church: the evangelizing Church that goes out from itself; that of the “Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidenter proclamans” [the Church that devoutly listens to and faithfully proclaims the Word of God – editor’s note], or the worldly Church that lives in itself, of itself, for itself. This should illuminate the possible changes and reforms to be realized for the salvation of souls.
Thinking of the next Pope: a man who, through the contemplation of Jesus Christ and the adoration of Jesus Christ, may help the Church to go out from itself toward the existential peripheries, that may help it to be the fecund mother who lives “by the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.”
Scot said it can be seen to criticize the Church today of looking inward to much rather than outward to where people live, in their minds and physically. This must have influenced some of the cardinals in electing him.
Greg said he didn’t see it as a criticism. Yes, the Church always has human flaws and frailty, but when there have been problems with the Church we have tended to look to our own interests and our own well-being, rather than to turn outward to go out to the whole world. Scot said Christianity is a movement of coming to Christ and going out into the world, never to be stagnant.
Susan said she loves the repetition by the then-Cardinal about “sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing” in the opening and closing of the address. Susan said she was talking to Fr. Paul Soper recently who reflected that the apostles were cowering in fear in the upper room, but when the Holy Spirit came they went out with apostolic zeal and never returned.
Scot reflected that many cardinals who weren’t in the 2005 conclave didn’t know Cardinal Bergoglio and so perhaps what he said in the General Congregations made the cardinals think he was the right man for the papacy at this time. Pope Francis said in his Chrism Mass homily to Rome’s priests is that he wants them to go out to where the people are, not just to stay in their churches and rectories. In Buenos Aires, he had encouraged priests to say Mass in places where the people are if they found it difficult to get to the church. The Church needs to go out and find the lost sheep rather than wait for them to come back to the parish.
2nd segment: Scot said earlier this week, Cardinal Seán celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at the cathedral and on Tuesday, the Chrism Mass, along with hundreds of priests and many Catholic school students.
- Chrism Mass photos by George Martell
- Cardinal Seán’s Palm Sunday homily
Scot said after the Chrism Mass, there is typically the announcement of honors for two priests. Fr. Arnold Colletti, who has served 51 years, is pastor in Lexington, and Fr. John Sheridan, pastor of St. James, Salem, who will be moving to Middleboro-Lakeville-Rochester as part of Phase 1 of Disciples in Mission.
Scot read the words of Cardinal Seán:
“We honor a couple as a way of saying thanks to all of you for your generous service of God’s people, fur the selfless ministry that makes the Good Shepherd’s love: and pastoral care present and visible among us.”
“I thank you for all of your support, fur your prayers. I am so proud co be your bishop and so lucky to be your bishop, and hope that all of you will have a glorious Holy Week. Know that each day during Holy Week, and every day of the year, I lift all of you up in prayer. God bless all of you. Thank you for being Catholic priests,” Cardinal O’Malley said
Greg noted that the honors are not for particular acts, but that they have lived the priesthood faithfully and that the honor could go to many more priests. Scot said the priests who win the awards are always holy, happy, and healthy in terms of their relationships with their parishes. Greg noted that Fr. Colletti joked that the award he really wanted was to be the next Archbishop of Boston.
Scot said tonight will be the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. On this night, Jesus instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist. He taught us all what it means to be a disciple, not in places of honor, but in places of service. He noted that the liturgy doesn’t end, but that the Eucharist is processed for silent adoration in a place of recession.
Greg said growing up he had neither priesthood nor Eucharist and so he has come to understand what a great gift these are. He was given a gift that had always been there but he had never known.
Scot said tomorrow is Good Friday, which we call Good because we recognize that through the cross we have received eternal joy. We can venerate that cross ourselves on Good Friday. Susan said we can’t take a shortcut to the empty tomb, nor should we stay fixed on Good Friday.
Tomorrow’s The Good Catholic Life will be pre-empted by EWTN’s coverage of Good Friday at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.