Transcript of Cardinal Roger Mahony on CompuServe, February 23, 1996

Cardinal Roger Mahony conducted his first online chat session during the middle of the 1996 Religious Education Congress. CompuServe forum Catholic Online (COL) conducted the online session with Cardinal Mahony (Card RM) with hosts John Linendoll and Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. The nationwide chat took place from the main hall of the Anaheim Convention Center.

CATHOLIC ONLINE Conference with His Eminence, Cardinal Mahony, Saturday, 23 March, 1996 [Transcript edited for continuity.]

John Linendoll: In a few moments, we will have the pleasure of hosting His Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, California. His Eminence is celebrating his 6th year as Cardinal Archbishop and will be speaking to us from the Anaheim Convention Center.

Card RM: Hello, this is Card RM from Anaheim! God's blessings be with all of you I am sitting in the Exhibit Hall of the Anaheim Convention Center--across the street from Disneyland--where some 20,000 people are gathered for an annual Religious Education Congress. It is the largest event of its kind in the world. Last Thursday we celebrated Youth Day with some 12,000 young people--it was fabulous!!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Welcome, Your Eminence!

Card RM: Any questions or comments to start with?

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Good Morning!

John Linendoll: Welcome, Your Eminence!

Card RM: Hi, Sister, I'm delighted to see that the NCEA is now online, and bring our Catholic Schools online. How is the progress to date?

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Slow but we are making headway weekly.

Card RM: Are there any Catholic schools that actually have full connections to all classrooms?

Claudette Rietveld: My school in Florida is online.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Yes, Claudette online with us does.

Card RM: Claudette: describe a bit more how your school in Florida actually functions online.

Claudette Rietveld: My 7th graders have their own personal Scientist to help them with their Science projects ... and of course we share our Faith her on COL. The first person my class met was Father Zuhlsdorf when he was in Rome and you should have seen their faces light up... This medium certainly makes the world a small place.

Card RM: As members of the Church, we need to make certain that our vision is more expanded. Having all of the information and resources is great, but we can also use the systems to bring the Good News of Jesus to many more.

Claudette Rietveld: Yes,

Card RM: Young people will certainly "connect" more readily with someone online first, and they will see almost a "magical" sense of this communications. Another person, another question?

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, I know you have been very active in Catholic Outreach programs to the Latino communities in California. This online medium now provides an opportunity for even greater outreach, does it not?

Card RM: Yes it does. However, we are still limited by the ability of people to afford computers and to have access services. Also, many people do not realize the potential for computers and connecting, and therefore, miss the real advantages of the new systems. Hello to all newcomers! Any further issues or questions?

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Cardinal Mahony, With John's question in mind, how can we best prepare ourselves to meet the needs and incorporate the gifts of our rapidly increasing Hispanic population?

Como podemos preparanos a responder a las necesidades e incorporar las contribuciones de los catolicos de habla espaρola?
--Sr. Catherine McNamee, CSJ, NCEA

Card RM: All of us in this country need to realize that we are a multi-cultural nation, and that we must be open to all of the many peoples who make up our Church. We will become increasingly Hispanic, and we need to help all in pastoral ministry prepare for that reality. And I find our pastoral ministers really excited about tools.

William Dinker: Cardinal Mahony -- I am 13 years old, what is the best thing I should do right now to prepare myself for confirmation or priesthood?

Card RM: William, I am delighted that you are interested in serving Christ and the Church more fully. We would be thrilled to help you--where do you live?

William Dinker: Nashville, Tennessee, Cardinal Mahony.

Card RM: William: be sure to speak with your parish priests, Sisters, and any lay leaders in your parish. All of them can assist you. Your Confirmation program should assist you in preparing for full-time ministry in the Church.

William Dinker: Thank you Cardinal Mahony!

Jim Klein: Hello your Eminence. I am a seminarian studying for the diocese of Colorado Springs. I have been involved with our newly formed Serra Club and have been online asking others from other areas of the U.S. how they do it. I even came into contact with Father Martini from your archdiocese I believe. Do you have any words about increasing vocations?

Card RM: Jim, Fr. Martini is online as Give him a message and greeting. We pray for all our young people considering religious vocations.

Cardenas: Cardinal Mahony, in light of the rapid growth of the Internet and service providers like CompuServe, to what extent is the information superhighway like the road to Emmaus - a place where we can encounter the Spirit of Christ?

Card RM: TJ, I think that we can best duplicate the spirit of the Emmaus journey by helping one another to find Jesus, and then join together in prayer and support. I have found the request for pray to be the item most asked of me online.

TJ Cardenas: Thank you Cardinal

William Dinker: Cardinal, are you a diocesan priest, or a Carmelite priest?

Card RM: William, I am an Archdiocesan priest. We have both Religious and Diocesan priests serving in our parishes across the country--in Los Angeles, it is about 50-50 with our parishes.

William Dinker: Ok, and I am interested in Padre Pio, I don't think he has been beatified, has he?

Card RM: William, No, Padre Pio has not been beatified. But we have many fine Catholics who have lived saintly lives without being officially recognized as such. You can become a saint, too! Another issue?

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Throughout the centuries, from the Church's beginnings and the Apostles, to the Fathers and missionaries, the Church has always tried to use the best and fastest means of communication to accomplish Christ's work. How do you see our challenge now to use online communications?

Card RM: We need to be creative about how to present Jesus, the Gospels, and our Catholic faith to people. I also say, start with the children and youth first. They have so many games online; we need to develop exciting Bible Stories, Faith Games, etc., for our youth. And then, watch out--all the adults will be playing them!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: LOL! No doubt!

Card RM: For example, this past Christmas the only gifts I gave to my nieces/nephews were CD-ROMs and computer programs to help their children know the Bible. They love them, and know more details about the Bible than I do!

William Dinker: LOL

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: So for an introduction to the faith, in the home, the domestic Church, we have a great opportunity!

Gene Rohling: Your Eminence: How can the Church become more proactive to stop the violence in Northern Ireland? It seems the hierarchy there is both covertly and overtly supportive of the IRA ... and thereby endorsing the terrorist actions!

Card RM: Gene, I have had many conversations with Card. Daly of Armagh, and he has been a great reconciler. Neither he nor the other Bishops support terrorism or its proponents. The Church must continue to reach out to both sides.

William Dinker: Cardinal Mahony, I have to disconnect now, I look forward to talking to you tomorrow. God Bless You!

Card RM: See you tomorrow, William! Another issue?

Gene Rohling: One more, Your Eminence: the pro-choice stance that many Catholic public figures seem to espouse .... why doesn't the Church go public and simply state that pro-choice is not permitted for a Catholic?

Card RM: Gene, the Church--after the example of Jesus--is slow and reluctant to condemn anyone. We would rather keep calling all of us to the higher ground of the Gospels, and to helping each other be more courageous in living out our faith. Not all find that easy.

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, do you see any "downside" to the expansion of on-line communications? Are there things of which we should be watchful?

Card RM: John, I think two issues are of concern: first, who defines what is "Catholic" online, and in harmony with the Church's teachings? All that is unclear at the moment. Secondly, how can we help people move beyond information to discipleship online?

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, in that latter sense, do you mean a move toward fellowship online?

Card RM: John, fellowship is one good example. I would love to see, e.g., Prayer Pages online--where anyone could post a prayer need for themselves, families, friends, the world, etc.--and have all of us respond with prayer to those many intentions.

Claudette Rietveld: Your Eminence, as a Catholic school teacher and a Religion teacher for 28 years I see a new role for Catholic Educators online. We have a wonderful Bible Study group here on COL every Tuesday night.

Card RM: Claudette, great example! I would see more Catholics involved in Bible study online.

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, Claudette herself is very active here in that regard.

Card RM: Has anyone online ever been to our annual Congress in Anaheim? This morning Father Raymond Brown, SS gave a powerful Keynote Address on the role of the Church in modern-day Bible use, and how the Church has grown in bringing the Bible to our people. But we have a long way to go. Do all of you have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a resource and reference?

John Linendoll: Yes, Your Eminence.

Claudette Rietveld: Yes, Your Eminence

TJ Cardenas: Yes on the Catechism. Cardinal - Catholic Online has a Prayer Meeting - the Holy Hour of Prayer every Tuesday night at 10pm EST. The prayer requests rec'd here and from the Internet by e-mail are compiled and sent to Fatima, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. Paul Minnesota among a few places where adorers at Perpetual adoration and pilgrims continue to pray.

Card RM: TJ, great! I was unaware of that great service to people. Each day at Mass I now include an intention to pray for all who have prayer requests online.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Wonderful!

TJ Cardenas: We'll e-mail you the requests Cardinal :>:

Claudette Rietveld: Thank you, Your Eminence, we have had many praise reports online also.

TJ Cardenas: Yes! Answered prayer.

Catholic Online: Your Eminence, How is the Holy Father's health? We are a group of children from 3 to 18 years old. We are all very concerned.

Card RM: Children/Young people: the Pope is better, but he did get a bad case of the flu this year. In Rome these months it is cold and very damp. Apparently, after visiting a Rome parish he spent a long time outside the Church speaking to young people--without a coat, etc. After that, he got the flu. He will have to be more careful! Do you all know that the Vatican has a web page on the Internet now?

John Linendoll: Yes, Your Eminence, since Christmas!

Catholic Online: Yes we do know that Cardinal.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Yes and have visited.

Claudette Rietveld: My class in Florida has visited there too!

John Linendoll: An auspicious time for the Holy See to have commenced this move into the new medium.

TJ Cardenas: So have my kids, Cardinal.

Card RM: I was one of those first ones who got into their e-mail box before they had to close it--after 40,000 messages! And I got a response, too!!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: LOL

TJ Cardenas: wow, 40,000!

Card RM: The Vatican is now trying to find a way to respond to the huge volume of e-mail should they open their mailbox once again. Many suggestions have been made to them.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: 40,000: I think that surpassed even what [Catholic Online founder] Michael Galloway gets!

Claudette Rietveld: Father Zuhlsdorf was the first one ever to speak to my class and their first reaction was WOW..Say hi to the Pope for us, Father Zuhlsdorf was in Rome then.. <G>

Card RM: The Pope himself got most of the e-mail, and many people thought he would answer each message personally--maybe that's how he got the flu!!

TJ Cardenas: ROFL

Claudette Rietveld: LOL

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: <s>

John Linendoll: ::

MikeBickerstaff: LOL

Catholic Online: LOL <G>

Card RM: Having Church documents and the Pope's Addresses instantly online is a great help to all of us since we don't have to take just a few chosen quotes from the secular media. We can have the entire text ourselves.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Your Eminence, may I ask a question?

Card RM: You never have to seek permission to ask a question online!!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Thank you.....I am wondering about the state of new vocations in Los Angeles. Are you on the upswing there?

Card RM: We have a very active, dynamic Vocations Office team. We have a Sister, two priests, and others on the team. The Sister and two priests are all online, too. At Youth Day on Thursday we had an online exchange with young people possibly interested in a vocation. Presently, we have some 200 young men in active discernment for a priestly vocation, and almost the same number for Women Religious. We have been very successful with both men and women--the vocations are out there!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: I understand that one of the Vocations Directors is involved with AOL!

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, a follow-up on Fr. Zuhlsdorf's you see perhaps a new area of vocations in the online community?

Card RM: Fr. Z and John: all three of our Directors are on AOL. On Prodigy I did a Vocations BB, and was really swamped over the weeks. So much interest, I could hardly believe it!

Catholic Online: Your Eminence, the group of children from Bakersfield, CA want to as: Why can we eat fish on Friday's during Lent and not meat?

Card RM: Lent is a time of special sacrifice, and we are invited to abstain from meat on Fridays. However, we can eat any other food that is without meat. The main focus is on the sacrifice involved. For example, I love fish more than meat--so Fridays are a gift, not a sacrifice! I have to choose another penance on Friday besides no meat.

John Linendoll: Your Eminence, I should explain that Carol Anderson is experiencing some line noise, which produced the unusual train of characters on screen.

Card RM: I thought the Devil was trying to go online with us!

Jim Klein: I though maybe she was speaking in tongues!

Claudette Rietveld: LOL,,,

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: LOL, Jim!

Carol Anderson: <g>

John Linendoll: ::

Ray R: No the devil's been locked out... <g>

Jim Klein: LOL

Gene Rohling: Your Eminence: prior to my retirement in 1990 I was stationed in Ventura County. Your Auxiliary there, Bishop Ziemann, was <is> one of the most charismatic clergymen I have ever met! He is truly inspirational and I only wish he was more in the public eye <Catholic Online? EWTN?> than he is. Can you relay this thought to him?

Card RM: Gene, Bp Ziemann is very gifted. He is presently in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, just north of San Francisco. He is very active across the state and the country.

Claudette Rietveld: Praise the Lord!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: A follow up to what John was you see that you could create an online ministry position in your Archdiocese?

Card RM: Fr Z, we do have an Information Services Dept now, but they are so busy at the moment I'm not sure they could do all of this too. But, who knows, down the road we can. Jim just told me he is working on it actively RIGHT NOW!!

Catholic Online: Your Eminence, We want to know why is fish OK but meat is not OK? Sorry if we were not clear.

Card RM: Back to the fish! Some centuries back there was no refrigeration and no way to keep meat, so it was far more precious as a food. Fish was always salted to preserve it. Thus, giving up a precious item such as meat was a great sacrifice then--but not the same today. However, it does have an important symbolism, and many restaurants still feature fish items on Fridays to help us Catholics.

TJ Cardenas: Cardinal - not long ago there was a raging debate in the Forum concerning 2 subjects. One had to do with the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate, the other had to do with the erosion of belief in the Holy Eucharist as the actual Sacred presence of Jesus Christ. Some maintain that the increasing participation of the laity as EMs, deacons etc. is actually contributing to these perceptions and even marginalizing the priesthood. I personally don't feel that - but some have stated it. What do you think?

Card RM: TJ, I am convinced that the restoration of the Permanent Deaconate has been a great gift to the Church, together with all the lay ministries. We are actually getting more vocations from families with Deacons and Ministers than from any other place.

Jim Klein: Your Eminence. I was wondering if perhaps one day electronic methods may be used to help insure that all parishes of America were covered by priests. I mean that we all know that some dioceses are truly blessed with an overabundance of vocations while others are not. Could a information line be set up to indicate where vocations may be needed so young men would be sent there to help? I personally chose to not study for my home diocese of Lincoln, NE because they need more priests in Colorado. Also the skiing is better in Colorado <BG>

TJ Cardenas: there's motivation Jim <s>

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Better than Nebraska?

Card RM: Jim, yes there are ways that we could use to bring the need in harmony with the supply. We actually have one of the best priest-to-people ratio in the world here in the USA.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Are there models of online educational outreach in total Catholic education that you think are particularly effective and if yes, what
do you think makes them effective?

Card RM: Sister McN: I do not have any personal examples, but I can think of many possibilities that we are not pursuing. This would be a great major focus when the NCEA convention comes to Los Angeles.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Thank you and I will pass on your focus thought to Len DeFiore when he comes on board.

Card RM: Sister McN: I still believe that your organization has the most potential for the Church to become more pro-active in this arena, and you should have no problem in getting Foundation grants for this purpose.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Names, addresses are always welcome!

Claudette Rietveld: The need is to get ALL Catholic schools online...

Card RM: Sister McN: let's chat on the phone this coming week.

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: We are certainly devoting a lot of our staff effort in this regard.

Card RM: We have 5 minutes left--any more issues or questions?

Jim Klein: Just a sincere thank you your Eminence for taking this time to spend with us here online. May the Lord continue to bless you.

Claudette Rietveld: Thank You, Sister...

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: I will ask Maxine to contact your office as I am traveling a bit and we can establish a convenient time for you.

TJ Cardenas: Would you lead us in prayer, Cardinal?

John Linendoll: Yes, please

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Please do!

Card RM: Let's pray: Loving God, you continue to pour out blessings upon us each day, and so often we fail to recognize those blessings and graces. Open our hearts to be ever more free to your grace, and help us see you in each other. May our use of these modern means of communication deepen our lives of faith, and bring many others to discover your Son, Jesus. We make our prayer in the strength of His Name! Amen!! God bless you all!!

Claudette Rietveld: Amen...Thank you, Your Eminence.

Maureen Schuster: Amen

John Linendoll: Amen.

Jim Klein: Amen

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: Amen.

MikeBickerstaff: Amen

McNamee, CSJ, NCEA: Amen

Carol Anderson: Amen

TJ Cardenas: Amen

Catholic Online: AMEN

MikeBickerstaff: Thank you very much Your Eminence.


Carol Anderson: Thank you Your Eminence

John Linendoll: Again, thank you for your kindness in being here today, Your Eminence!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: We look forward to your visit tomorrow.

TJ Cardenas: Fr. Z -tomorrow's schedule?

Catholic Online: We all thank you very much Your Eminence, and appreciate your involvement here Online !!

TJ Cardenas: Fr. Z - for all those who wish to come back.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf: SUN 24 MAR: 1330 to 1430 EST (1030-1130 PST = 1830-1930 GMT = 1930-2030 CET

Date: March 23, 1996

Read the transcripts from other Religious Education Congress online chats

Congress Chat History:
Beginning in 1996 on CompuServe, Cardinal Roger Mahony conducted the first nationwide, online (typing) live from Hall A at the Anaheim Convention Center. in 2001 the Cardinal suggested adding a private chat with students from a school in the Archdiocese. Since then, we have had the tradition of a private school chat.

Los Angeles Archbishop Josι Gomez continued the tradition of a Congress Chat, and now we've expanded our chats to include regional bishops and schools from their region. This year, Bishop David O'Connell joins us for our sixth video chat with a school from his region.

with Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell of the San Gabriel Region

2019 (All Souls, Alhambra)

with Los Angeles Archbishop Josι Gomez

2017 (St Francis of Assisi, L.A.)  •  2016 (St Mary Magdalen, Camarillo)  •  2015 (St Finbar School, Burbank)  •  2014 (St Columbkille School, L.A.)  •  2013 (St Bernard School, L.A.)  •  2012 (St Dorothy School, Glendora)  •  2011 (St Thomas School, L.A.)

with Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

2010  •  2010 (St John Chrysostom School, Inglewood)  •  2009  •  2009 (St Elisabeth, Van Nuys)  •  2008  •  2008 (Sacred Heart, Covina)  •  2007  •  2007 (St Benedict, Montebello)  •  2007 (St Rita, Sierra Madre)  •  2006  •  2006 (Holy Innocents, Long Beach)  •  2005  •  2004  •  2003  •  2001  •  2001 (St Jerome, Westchester)  •   2001 (Holy Family, South Pasadena)  •  2000  •  1999  •  1998  •  1997  •  1996

with Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark of the Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region


2016 Marks 20 Years of Congress Chats — The first (typing) RECongress chat was held on Friday, February 23, 1996 on CompuServe with Cardinal Roger Mahony. Ten years later, on Friday, March 31, 2006, the Cardinal's annual chat was conducted in a room hosted on The Cardinal participated in 22 Congress chats (both nationwide and with schools) over 14 years.

At Congress 2016, Archbishop Josι Gomez has continued the tradition of (now, video) chats with school students from the Archdiocese. This was his sixth Congress chat (and fourth video chat) conducted from the Tech Center, located in the center of Exhibit Hall A at the Religious Education Congress. The RECongress chat are now continued through the regional bishops, while the Archbishop now holds an event on Facebnook Live.

Beginning on CompuServe, the RECongress nationwide chats have been hosted by AOL Live! (1997-2000), Beliefnet (2001), (2002-2003), and (2004-2010). The school chats have been conducted on AOL (2001-2006), Yahoo (2007), Chatzy (2008-2012), Skype (2013-2014) and Google+ (2015-2016).


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