Transcript of Cardinal Roger Mahony on AOL Live!, February 14, 1997

Copyright 1997 America Online, Inc. All Rights. Reserved. 

OnlineHost: Your emcees for this event [with Cardinal Roger Mahony (Rmccd)] are SaritaDCE (AOLiveMC8) and Meg {AOLiveMC1). 

OnlineHost: Cardinal Roger M. Mahony received a bachelor's degree from St. John's Seminary College, a bachelor's degree in sacred theology from St. John's Theologate and a master's degree in social work from The Catholic University of America's National Catholic School of Social Service. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1962 and was named Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. In 1980, Pope John Paul II appointed him Third Bishop of Stockton, and in 1985, Fourth Archbishop of Los Angeles. The Holy Father elevated him to the College of Cardinals on June 28, 1991. 

OnlineHost: All of Los Angeles looks to its Cardinal Archbishop to be a voice of calm and solace in times of crisis, such as the riots that followed the acquittal of officers accused of beating suspect Rodney King, or the January 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In January 1995, Cardinal Mahony announced that the Archdiocese would build a new $45 million Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to replace the earthquake-devastated Vibiana's Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. Please welcome Cardinal Mahony, the first Cardinal in Cyberspace, and computer savvy too, to AOL Live! 

AOLiveMC8: Welcome, Cardinal Mahony! 

Rmccd: Good afternoon, everyone! 

AOLiveMC8: Are we ready for today's questions with our guest? What'd you think of the prayer service at the end of the Super Bowl with Reggie White and Curtis Martin? 

Rmccd: Yes! Sorry to say, I did not see the Prayer Service. But anytime we can bring prayer into any phase of public life, I believe that is beneficial. 

Question: In Genesis, when Cain was exiled for killing his brother Abel and went to the land of Nod and obtained a wife, where did his wife come from if Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel were the only people supposedly in existence at that time? 

Rmccd: The Book of Genesis did not intend to give a precise, detailed genealogy. There must have been other people born in those early days. The Bible is always giving us a message, and sometimes the details are not there. 

Question: How is the new cathedral coming along? 

Rmccd: The new Cathedral is now in the design phase, and going well. We hope to have the final design ready by later in the year, and start in 1998. 

Question: What role do youth play in today's Church? 

Rmccd: Our youth are our greatest treasure, and we must open up many opportunities for them to participate fully in the life of the Church, especially at the parish life. 

Question: Is this your first time doing interviews on an Online Service?  

Rmccd: No, last year I was on "another service." 

Question: I left the Catholic church because I could not agree with all of its doctrines. It seems many Catholics pick and choose their beliefs. What do you say to Catholics like me? 

Rmccd: We must always return to Jesus Christ, and the Gospels. Our discipleship is costly; many in Jesus' time turned and walked away. A deeper faith is required so that we are open to what God is asking of us, not what we are asking of God. 

Question: Your Eminence, what is the official position of the church on the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje and do you have a personal opinion about this? 

Rmccd: No, there are many places around the world where much grace is obviously present and being poured out upon people. Whether there are actual revelations or not is not important. 

Question: What do you think about Promise Keepers? 

Rmccd: Promise Keepers has a lot to offer since it is attracting many men who have never been expressive of their faith, and did not know how to share that faith. Like all good things care must be taken to not exclude anyone. But there is a spirituality that is more attractive to men, and we should open that to them. There is a Catholic Promise Keepers now that integrates both well. 

Question: What do you think of the Pope's recent statement on biological evolution? 

Rmccd: The Pope, and the Church, has been very involved with the sciences for centuries. Like those before him, the Pope is bringing up new issues and applying faith to them. There is nothing contradictory to having God create the world through evolution. 

Question: Do you have any thoughts on who the successor to Cardinal Bernardin might be and how long Chicago might be vacant? 

Rmccd: No. There is an old saying that works well: those who know aren't saying, and those who are saying don't know! 

Question: Do you think that Computers and the Internet are solid tools to promote His Word? 

Rmccd: Absolutely! If St. Paul were alive today, he would be on the nets night and day. 

Question: What is the likelihood of women in the priesthood? 

Rmccd: At this time in the Church's history, our focus and emphasis is upon including women as fully as we can. But the Church believes that we don't have the authority to make that change. Future generations? No one knows. 

Question: What do you suggest a high school student to do if he is not allowed to defend the prolife choice in a public school? 

Rmccd: Proclaiming much of the Gospel and God's revelation is attacked, and not allowed. We must not lose heart, but must try to find ways to voice our teachings and views. Don't give up, even in high school. 

Question: Do you see a time when the Church will permit Dignity to once again celebrate Mass in Catholic facilities?  

Rmccd: Dignity continues to be a segment of the church in "exile." The Bishops' Conference has been in dialogue with Dignity, but since the group continues to hold teachings and practices outside the Church, I do no see any immediate break through. Many of us have begun other groups, and they are doing well. 

Question: I've heard that the wording in the Mass is being slightly changed. When will we stop saying "for us men and for our salvation" during the Creed? Can't we say "for us and for our salvation?" 

Rmccd: The new Sacramentary will correct many of those problems. The difficulty is that many Latin words do not have easy, simple English translations. 

Question: I applaud your decision to go online. How do you think the Church should use the modern media? And, will you encourage your brother bishops to, for example, create web pages, etc.? 

Rmccd: Both Dioceses and parishes are going on-line at a rapid pace. I have seen some great and innovative things, and many of our own parishes are now on line. 

Question: What was the third thing told to the children of Fatima? 

Rmccd: I am not certain. Sorry. 

Question: Your Excellency, how do feel about the recent movement toward unity between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches? 

Rmccd: I am delighted that this dialogue continues. Recall that since 1054 we have had a breach. We need to move ahead on this path with enthusiasm and faith. 

Question: How did you come to know that you were called to be a priest? 

Rmccd: God's call comes in small, subtle ways. No special fax or e-mail message! That gentle voice of God, persistent, and encouraged by others, good signs that God is calling. And the seminary is where that call is tested. 

Question: Why does the Pope feel that he must deal with Castro? 

Rmccd: The Pope has dealt with every world and national leader with openness. His visit to Cuba will benefit the Church and the Cuban people immensely, and Castro will end up somewhat diminished from the visit. 

Question: Is it difficult to answer those who complain that a priest cannot easily counsel a married couple? 

Rmccd: No, since we can easily reach out to other people by listening, by hearing deeply their hurts and hopes, without having the same experience. That's why priests and others minister well in prisons, hospitals, etc. Without being a prisoner or sick, one can bring the love of Christ to others. 

Question: What would you suggest as a method by which legitimate clergy could be distinguished online, as there are a multitude of persons pretending to be clergy and taking advantage of vulnerable (and sometimes young) people online? 

Rmccd: Tough question. The AOL Catholic Community chat rooms check out priests with me and others. However, if there is suspicion, then demand an address and telephone number. There are plenty of people imitating all kinds of folks. I had the opposite problem trying to prove I was Cardinal Mahony! 

Question: My son has a strong feeling that he will be a priest one day. What did your parents give to you on the occasion of your ordination? 

Rmccd: My parents and family gave me a beautiful new Chalice which I use to this very day. A wonderful gift, and I remember all of them when celebrating Mass. 

Question: As a Reformed Church pastor, I appreciate your emphasis on Jesus Christ. I once worked with the priest who worked with you on family concerns and arranged conferences in the L.A. area. This was in 1990-91. He is terrific! And you are terrific! 

Rmccd: We must always emphasize Jesus Christ, and especially during our preparation for the Third Millennium. 

Question: Can you envision confessions ever being heard, even last rites given, via online?  

Rmccd: No, since the personal interchange is so important. 

Question: You said a moment ago, "Our youth are out greatest treasure." Does that include gay youth? (By the way, a third of all teenagers who commit suicide are homosexual. Does the Church's dogma help remedy that at all?)  

Rmccd: The Church reaches out to all peoples, and we have a variety of special programs for members of the gay/lesbian community. 

Question: What do you think of the opinions regarding Catholicism that are put forth by Father Andrew Greeley? 

Rmccd: Fr. Greeley is a good friend, and while I agree with his great research, I do not agree with his novels and some writings. 

Question: Do you feel that the priesthood can or will survive the "liberalness" of the 21st century?  

Rmccd: The faith, the Church, and the priesthood will survive anything because God is with us, and we can overcome all other powers. 

Question: What do you see is the status of vocations today and if low, how do you suggest improvement?  

Rmccd: Vocations' response is in direct proportion to our level of prayer and our efforts. We are seeing a great increase here locally, and I hope it continues. 

Question: I am a Catholic in Macon, GA and revere all of Catholicism and am very proud to see what the Cardinal has done and is doing. I would like to know if he thinks there will ever be a time when priests can marry (as they used to, long, long ago). 

Rmccd: Catholic priests in our Eastern Rites can marry. Whether that will be extended to the Latin Rite is not certain. It will continue to be discussed at many levels. 

Question: So nice of you to do this! Need much more of this kind of interaction. Thanks. Do it again soon but let the parishes know in time to get proper announcements at Mass recently?  

Rmccd: Better yet, get your local Bishops and priests on line and they can handle the local scene well. 

Question: Do you think that the Catholic community is doing enough to evangelize to African Americans? Will having a black pope succeed Pope John Paul II help in doing so? 

Rmccd: Outreach to the African American community has met with varied success. In cities with a great history and tradition, there are good results. In other places, not so promising. We have the same challenge in recruiting candidates to serve as priests from that community. 

Question: Can a person who has not yet been baptized receive ashes on Ash Wednesday? 

Rmccd: Yes, anyone can receive ashes. There will always be a grace there. 

Question: Father what would you say to a catholic who feels alienated from the catholic church because on some issues the catholic church just seems to conservative. 

Rmccd: Many times people do not really know well the teachings of the Church. I strongly recommend that you get the new Catechism and similar books to help. 

Question: Your Eminence, do you look for a wider application of the Holy Father's Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei" in your archdiocese, allowing the celebration of the Mass according to the liturgical books in use in 1962? 

Rmccd: Not really, since the small numbers actually attending are not growing. We have enough help, eh? Masses, recall that these were permitted for those Catholics in 1965 who had difficulty making the transition. 

Question: Do you feel that Hollywood contributes to the decline in morality in America? 

Rmccd: It is easy to attack Hollywood, but we as viewers of entertainment have a responsibility also. We also buy the products advertised. We need to exert that stronger. 

Question: What is the most important trait I can teach my children as they become practicing Catholics? (they are under 10) 

Rmccd: Please pass on at home faith. Use faith symbols, traditions, and other wonderful ways to involve your children in their faith. Let them write prayers, read the Bible, etc. for the whole family. 

Question: What do you see as the most pressing issues the Catholic church must face for the future?  

Rmccd: There are so many, but I believe getting people to have a deeper faith life personally, and to become genuine evangelizers. The next three years call us to that goal. 

Question: How can we get more Catholic youth involved in the church? 

Rmccd: Does your parish have a special Youth Mass? Are there opportunities for youth to gather and to participate? We have to take the steps to become more "user friendly" for youth. 

Question: Are there any Paulist priests in Orange County and if so where?  

Rmccd: I don't know. 

Question: Is there a crisis in Catholic education. In Pittsburgh, (Butler) tuition is rising at a soaring rate. Is this the picture nationwide. 

Rmccd: Tuition is rising with inflation, etc., but with so few religious teaching in our schools at very low salaries, the costs are bound to rise. I encourage our parishes to set up endowments for their schools, and 84 schools now have them. These provide scholarships and other assistance. 

Question: Will the new cathedral have acoustics similar to those legendary acoustics of St. Vibiana's? Also, is the LA Archdiocesan Choir still active? 

Rmccd: This is the first I have heard of these legendary acoustics! We hope to have good acoustics in the new one, but until everything is installed and the bldg. is full of people you never really know for sure. There will be a Cathedral Choir made up of people from all over. 

Question: What do you think of Mother Angelica & The EWTN Network? 

Rmccd: Practically none of our cable companies in this Archdiocese carry her, so I never see her programs. I can't really comment. 

Question: There has been talk of the creation of an American Catholic Church. What are your thoughts about such a possibility and it's implications for the Catholic Church in general? 

Rmccd: No possibility, so I would not make any plans to attend!  

AOLiveMC8: We have run out of time and have time for one final question: Who is your favorite philosopher? 

Rmccd: Hard to say for certain. I like aspects of several, but take none totally. 

AOLiveMC8: Your Eminence we appreciate taking time to answer questions from our audience. Thank you so much. We are having a couple of more questions: Is it ever lonely to be a priest? 

Rmccd: Yes, we find loneliness as priests. But everyone has loneliness at some time or other. As priests, we need community in our rectories, and we need good friends. All of us need that support. 

Question: Your Eminence: What, in your opinion, can be done to excite more interest in the pro-life movement, especially among Catholics? 

Rmccd: With our various postcard efforts the past two years, we have involved more Catholics and others in the pro-life effort than ever before. But much to do yet. 

Question: Since none of us is perfect, (not even the hierarchy!), in what ways would you reflect that the hierarchy and church leadership has fallen a bit short, and how could they improve? 

Rmccd: How many ways do you want! Certainly, we need to deepen our own faith, inspire more of it. Hope, and energize more charity among us all. 

Question: In addition to the RCIA or Christian Initiation classes now available, does the church foresee "Returning Catholic" classes, with more involved discussion of values/issues than in RCIA?  

Rmccd: Parishes should have a good follow-up Adult Education program for all parishioners, and especially, newly baptized and admitted ones. I support that totally. 

Question: Since our Eastern Rite Catholics permit married priests and, those Ministers/Priests that convert from the Episcopal & Lutheran Churches can remain married and serve in a Priestly role. How do we avoid confusing the average American Catholic. 

Rmccd: We probably don't.  

Question: What events do you believe will be testing our faith in the next three years? 

Rmccd: The spirit of consumerism still surrounds us too greatly, and the focus upon resolving all problems on our own power, are challenges for us. We need to be people of faith more fully. 

Question: When will the American College of Bishops take a determined and constructive leadership role to resolve the on-going conflict in Northern Ireland. The College has failed to take a firm and constructive role. Please advise your position on this? 

Rmccd: The USA Bishops have made many steps and taken initiatives. But the Irish people and not England are the only ones who can resolve this sad division. 

Question: I was your pen pal when you were in the Seminary. Now because of the current system of property taxation it is not possible to afford to give my own children a Catholic Education. Do you see any chance of the rolling back of school taxes to help parents?  

Rmccd: That would sure be great, but I am not certain how near. I believe that the various voucher approaches will be more fruitful at first.  

Question: Your Eminence: What is your ecumenical agenda for the coming decade? 

Rmccd: We signed a Covenant with the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches here in L.A., and we have several inter-faith outreach efforts: housing for the poor, anti-gangs, etc. 

Question: Father, thank you for being on line. As a practicing RC, I appreciate your availability. 

Rmccd: Thanks, it is great having these chats! 

Question: RE: Contraception. How do we balance the real world needs for population control in area's like central Africa, China, et al., and the Church's position on birth control? 

Rmccd: Recall that the Church is not opposed to family planning, that is very important for all places of the world. The problem is with the method. We have been very successful in India and in Africa with Natural Family Planning efforts. 

Question: What are good classes to take in school to prepare for the priesthood? 

Rmccd: It is important to take your Religion classes, classes in the Bible, but also, to become a person of prayer and concern for others. Much of that is not taught as such in a class. 

Question: You mentioned the church has several special programs for members of the gay and lesbian community. What are those programs? 

Rmccd: I can only speak for this Archdiocese. We have our groups now in seven parishes located across the Archdiocese. They have been most successful. 

Question: Is there a book you would recommend reading concerning the Eucharist? 

Rmccd: There are many, but certainly read the sections in the new Catechism. Go to a good Catholic bookstore and you will find several shelves of great books. 

Question: Do you feel that it is parent's, software's, or the government to regulate the Internet? 

Rmccd: Like all things, personal responsibility comes first. Then, a good balance of the groups you mentioned. 

AOLiveMC8: This time we really have run out of time. We have time for one more question to his Eminence. Do you feel that it is extremely important for mothers to stay home with the preschool children?  

Rmccd: The more contact mother and father have with pre-school children the better, and if one can be at home all the day, that is optimal. However, it is not always possible and the second-best arrangement has to be made. But strive for the ideal. 

AOLiveMC8: Thank you your Excellency for sharing with us this afternoon. Thank you all, and God bless you! Thank you audience for your great questions. Thank you. 

Copyright 1997 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

======================== More about this Event:  

02/14 Cardinal Roger M. Mahony: First Cardinal Online (AOL Live) 

A native of Hollywood, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony received a bachelor's degree from St. John's Seminary College, a bachelor's degree in sacred theology from St. John's Theologate and a master's degree in social work from The Catholic University of America's National Catholic School of Social Service. 

He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1962 and was named Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. In 1980, Pope John Paul II appointed him Third Bishop of Stockton, and in 1985, Fourth Archbishop of Los Angeles. The Holy Father elevated him to the College of Cardinals on June 28, 1991. 

The first chairman of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Board in 1975, he has served on numerous other civic and ecclesiastical committees in areas ranging from affordable housing to Hispanic affairs. He currently chairs the Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities which addresses all right to life issues including abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide and capital punishment. 

Cardinal Mahony has written major pastoral letters and statements on the right to life; motion pictures and television; immigration; welfare reform and affirmative action, highlighting the moral and ethical dimensions of each. He was a leader in the campaign to defeat Proposition 187 in November, 1994. 

He was a papal appointee to the 1987 Synod of Bishops on the Role of the Laity in the Church and the World. Cardinal Mahony is a member of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and for Social Communications as well as the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See. 

All of Los Angeles looks to its Cardinal Archbishop to be a voice of calm and solace in times of crisis, such as the riots that followed the acquittal of police officers accused of beating suspect Rodney King, or the January 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In January 1995, Cardinal Mahony announced that the Archdiocese would build a new $45 million Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to replace the earthquake-devastated St. Vibiana's Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Be sure to mark your calendar for this historic event. Cardinal Mahony is scheduled to be the first Roman Catholic Cardinal to venture into Cyberspace. Cardinal Mahony will be joining us live from the 1997 Religious Education Congress at the Anaheim, CA Convention Center. 

AOL Event Keyword: "AOL Live" for AOL members
Transmitted: 2/17/97 11:37 a.m.


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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