Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | March 12, 2008

WREC 2008: This is what we hear for answers to questions.

Below are from the online “chat” with Cardinal Mahony during WREC 2008. Cardinal’s answers are in red, my comments in blue, and the person’s questions in the regular color.

Leonel Martinez: Thank you, Cardinal Mahony, for providing us with this valuable forum. During this election year, many in the church believe that Catholics cannot, in good conscience, vote for an elected official who supports abortion rights, gay marriage or stem-cell research. Others say Catholic voters must weigh all the issues and cast their ballots accordingly. What does the church teach on this issue?

CardinalMahony: Leonel: a really great question! Let’s face it: there is no candidate, nor will there ever be one, who supports our Catholic beliefs 100% (This is a cop out answer, even if it’s true that no one will match Catholic teaching 100%). Therefore, we must study the issues, be informed on Catholic teaching, and vote for the one we believe will do the most good following the most of our values and principles (Leonel let me help you (Because Cardinal didn’t): The right to life outweighs ANY OTHER ISSUE! You CAN NOT VOTE FOR A PRO-ABORTION CANDIDATE PERIOD. Reason being simple. Life begins at conception, and participation in an evil is a grave moral offence (CCC 2271-on). If it came down to two pro-abortion candidates you could not vote for any of them, or write in a candidate that supports Life. We can not participate in moral evils Catholics). A great booklet to help: Faithful Discipleship, published by the USCCB. You can find it on line.

Jennifer: Why would an atheist care about religion? I feel two teachers I have intentionally go out of their way to express their negative feelings about the Catholic church. It shouldn’t bother me, however, sadly it does at times. I don’t involve myself in their conversations, so it won’t affect me passing my classes.
CardinalMahony: Jennifer: you are right. We can’t change everyone’s opinions or ideas about us. Your best approach is to continue living out your faith day after day, and let your actions speak volumes! You don’t have to say anything. (The Church can’t defend itself. If you see someone bad mouthing the Church, you must defend her, no matter what the circumstances, however, I would not put these things in class debate, I would address these issues outside of class, as I think that’d be better for you. And because Cardinal didn’t answer the first half of your question, allow me. Atheism is a sin against indifference. Absolute Truth must exist. An atheist denies the reality of absolute Truth existing. An atheist would care about religion simply because its the practice of belief. Their religion is atheism. Pray for their conversion Jennifer)

Jesse: I would like to know why do Christians (please, use the term protestants, as Catholics are the first Christians) don’t believe in the Virgin Mary? I love her so much and when I here people talk bad about her it makes me wonder
CardinalMahony: Jesse: sadly, some people misunderstand our Catholic love of Mary. They think we are worshiping her as “God,” which we are not. We are giving her the great honor she deserves as Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Church (I should expand on this point for you Jesse. We venerate Mary, but we do not adore her. Latria and Dulia. Latria is the worship due to GOD alone. Dulia refers to the honor of the Saints. Hyperdulia refers to the honor due to the Blessed Virgin)

Stephen: What is the Archdiocese doing to combat the aggressive proselytism of local fundamentalist sects?
CardinalMahony: The best way to deal with any sect is to live out our own Catholic faith visibly and publicly. We need to be inviting and welcoming to everyone in our parish. The more outgoing we are with our Faith, the less impact the sects have (Hey Cardinal: what happened to teaching the Truths of our Faith? We should be hearing these from the pulpit. We should be able to defend ourselves when we are being attacked by protestant sects)

Laurie Allen: Why do some clerics in the church have a problem with the faithful practicing yoga? If the intention is to calm our minds and bodies – can we not see this as a way to better “ground” ourselves in God. Over the 25 years I have practiced it, I find my faith has only grown…
CardinalMahony: Yoga is a deep meditation process, and if we keep our focus on our living and merciful love, then yoga works for anyone. Meditation in any form always deepens our love with God (Downright heretical answer you got Laurie. I’m sorry that the Cardinal didn’t answer your question, but let me answer it for in simple language. Yoga makes our bodies become idolatrous. Pilates. There are Catholic meditation techniques. I suggest St. Theresa of ávila)

Teri: Is there high hope for married priests? What is that status on having the option?CardinalMahony: Teri: At this time, the Pope is not moving towards married priests for the Latin Catholic Church. Recall that the Eastern Catholic Church has had married priests for 2,000 years. (Let me give you an answer that’s actually in line with the Church, if you want to be a married priest, go to the East. they’ve done it for 2000 years. The Latin Church will not have married priests. The Theology behind. The priest takes the Church as bride not a woman, and produces spiritual children through the Holy Spirit (i.e. Baptism))

Andrew: Stores used to be closed on Sundays. Now for many Sunday has become part of the work week. And like many in this younger generation, my child don’t see any special importance of Sunday and of going to church. How can I help “sell” church to my teen?
CardinalMahony: Andrew: You are so right–Sunday has been robbed of its importance and meaning, usually for commercial purposes. It really helps when your parish has a special group for teens–such as Life Teen. So many parishes have Youth Masses, and other events for Catholic youth. Encourage that path in your own parish (No LIFE TEEN..There is no need to “sell” the Truth of the Church, it in itself is attractive (paraphrasing Pope Benedict). Practice your Faith, teach the Truths of the Church. pray the Rosary daily.)

Alexis: Is their anything against the Catholic church being more fun? I mean the priest talks and kids don’t pay attention so couldn’t we sing and dance, and make it more like gospel churches do, so kids will want to participate? I was just wondering if that was against our faith?CardinalMahony: Alexis: Sounds good to me! Our parishes need to offer a variety of liturgies which appeal to different age groups and to different likes. Youth Masses with groups such as Life Teen are really helpful! (Alexis, I’m afraid Cardinal’s answer is not in line with that of the Church, so let me help you. Alexis, in the Catholic Church, there is something called the GIRM (General instruction of the Roman Missal). This is basically the how to of the Mass. In it, dancing is absolutely forbidden. All these things are good, but outside the Mass. Participation doesn’t always mean an external action. Interior participation is very important as well. (If not more important). We’re not protestants, solemn liturgies involve silence. I suggest to you Pope Benedict (when he was Cardinal Ratzinger)’s book: Spirit of the Liturgy. He writes clearly and in a language that all can understand. Much different than trying to read Pope JPII. We need to get back to the real meaning of participation.)

Connie Partch: As the leader of the LA Archdiocese I would like your opinion on an event I witnessed that has bothered me a lot – a Deacon blessed an assembly of people (youth and their parents) with what he claimed was a cross with a relic of the “true cross of Christ” imbedded in the cross. I have heard a number of stories about relics and miraculous events but the majority are not endorsed or supported by the Vatican and should, in my opinion, not be taught to the youth of our Church. Would you care to comment on this?
CardinalMahony: Connie: Blessing people with relics of saints has a long tradition in our Church. However, no one knows whether relics of the True Cross actually come from Jesus’ Cross. I am told that if you took all of the “relics of the True Cross” around the world and put them together, you could build a ten story building! Our belief is in Jesus, not the relic. (Cardinal doesn’t know the Story of St. Helena (Constantine’s Mother). So let me tell it to you Connie. St. Helena went to Jerusalem in the 300’s and found relics of the True Cross)

irma munguiainoue: I have 7-year-old twins in preparation for their First Holy Communion…. I feel very uncomfortable with them receiving wine. Even if its just a taste I see it as “it’s wine.” Can you please clarify this for me thank you
CardinalMahony: Irma: You need to focus upon the Last Supper of Jesus, and not on the wine. Read them the Gospel stories about the Last Supper, and how Jesus gave us both the bread and wine changed into His Body and Blood. A tiny sip of the Blood of Christ can be meaningful for them. (Irma, I understand your concern. If you don’t want your Child to receive under both kinds, this is absolutely right. Under the species of the bread one receives both the Body and Blood of Christ. Cardinal’s answer isn’t correct in this manner. He forgot the section in the Catechism that mentions this. Even though it may be a fuller sign. If you don’t want your child to receive under both, it’s fine)

Sue: Why does the Catholic Church in the U.S. not walk with the Catholic Church in Rome? Are we not all one? What steps do you see as necessary for a more harmonious relationship to take place — one that acknowledges the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and tries to follow closely with what id means to be a disciple of Christ. Is it materialism, a consumerist capitalistic society, a “I want what I want and I want it now” attitude? How can the individual Catholic align their footsteps with the master, so that one day we may come to that eternal banquet prepared for all?
CardinalMahony: Sue: I sure don’t see the disconnect you reference. My experience is that the Catholic Church in the USA is very dynamic, but very faithful to the Holy Father and to the Universal Church. Having had the joy of visiting the Church in so many countries around the world, I am in awe at how vibrant the Church is here. Our involvement of lay people in the Church is a great grace, and our Popes have noted that often. (Sue, you asked the best question of all the one’s I’ve read. I absolutely agree with you. Well, how you do it is by following the CCC to the letter. Understanding the Bible in light of Tradition and the Magisterium. All those things that you’ve mentioned are apart of the reason why the Church in the US doesn’t seem as in line with Rome as it should be. Also promote following of the GIRM to the letter of he Law. I hope my answer was more what you’re looking for)

Congress Attendee: Cardinal, Please give me your impression of the recent book in your name.
CardinalMahony: That book is wild fiction!! I have never read anything more bizarre in my life! Don’t waste your money on it!! (This Cardinal, is the best line you’ve said all in this chat). Although I know there are a few of us who wish it was real.

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