Cardinal Mahony online from RomeTranscript of Cardinal Roger Mahony on AOL Live!, February 20, 1998 from Rome

Copyright 1998 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

OnlineHost: Your hosts are JudyJJM (AOLiveMC5) and Norma II (AOLiveMC13)!  

OnlineHost: 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.  

OnlineHost: Welcome to AOL Live, Cardinal Mahony!

Cardcong: Thanks, it is great being on AOL Live once again! A very special welcome to all attending the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim.

AOLiveMC13:  Here is our first audience question: 

Question:  Why are you giving Mother Angelica so much grief over her healing?  Don't you believe? 

Cardcong:  I am delighted every time anyone receives a healing, and I praise God for the healing that she apparently received from God. 

Question:  Do you honestly believe that Father Serra should be a saint, after the way the Native Americans were treated on the missions? 

Cardcong:  Father Serra and the missionaries brought many new ways of education and culture to California, never intending to harm or hurt the Indians.  In fact, he defended them often against the Spanish soldiers.  Education was the greatest gift that Father Serra brought to the Indians of California.  

Question:  What do you say to conservative Catholics who do not like the fact that most parishes no longer have the Blessed Sacrament in view and the general disregard your changes inspire by not requiring kneeling at the consecration in Mass? 

Cardcong:  Today I made my Holy Hour in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope's Church, and  there is a special and beautiful Blessed Sacrament Chapel -- the same in all of Rome's four Major Basilicas.  That tradition has been with the Church for many centuries.  The U.S. Bishops have retained kneeling during the entire Eucharistic Prayer, and that will be the norm in the new Sacramentary as well. 

Question:  How do you think it is possible for the Church to increase its vocation to the priesthood? Also what advice do you offer future priests? 

Cardcong:  Two responses for vocations:  Identify and Invite.  There are many potential vocations out in the world, and we need to foster them, identify them, and invite our young people to respond to Christ's call.  I am really encouraged with the number of young people we are now seeing enter the seminaries and religious life. 

Question:  What do you say to people who think that your position on social issues like your stance against Proposition 189 was based on self interests of the dollars the archdiocese receives vs. what was best for the people of the state? 

Cardcong:  There is only one guiding principle for the Church's involvement in public policy issues: How do we apply the Gospels to this situation affecting people?  No other consideration is taken.  The Church would never benefit from 99.9% of all ballot measures.  

Question:  Does the Archdiocese of Los Angeles plan to participate in the future in the Disciples in Mission program six dioceses (including the Diocese of Raleigh) are implementing this Lent which involves small faith-sharing groups discussing the weekly readings? 

Cardcong:  We are not involved in this exact program, but we have about eight just like it in English and in Spanish.  We offer a variety of these programs to our parishes and allow them to choose the one that best fits their pastoral needs.  Most are just terrific. 

Question:   I thought your pastoral letter was great. Do you see it as a model for parishes throughout the United States? 

Cardcong:  Yes, my Pastoral Letter on Sunday Eucharist was intended to help all our parishes prepare and celebrate well each Sunday Mass.  The Second Vatican Council called for us to involve our parishioners in the "full, active and conscious participation in the Eucharist."  My Pastoral Letter intended that outcome, and the positive response has been great. 

Question:  When will the new cathedral be ready? 

Cardcong:  God-willing, the end of 2000 or early 2001 at the latest -- Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. 

Question:  Are there any valid times when a whole kindergarten class can receive Communion? 

Cardcong:  The Church asks that a child understand what he/she is receiving in Holy Communion, that they know the difference between ordinary bread and the Bread of Life, and that they appreciate who Jesus Christ is who is contained in that Bread. 

Question:  Hello Cardinal Mahony. What is the status of the late Cardinal Bernadin's Common Ground Project? When will it be introduced in non-metropolitan dioceses like Dubuque? 

Cardcong:  The Catholic Common Ground Initiative moves ahead well.  We have our next Conference in Wisconsin early March.  We are offering models for dioceses and parishes to follow as well move. 

Question:  Will the Vatican act on your request to put EWTN [Eternal Word Television Network] under interdict? 

Cardcong:  I have never asked that EWTN be placed "under interdict."  On the contrary, that network is a powerful force for good on the airwaves and for the Church.  I only ask that they retain their positive message about Christ, the Gospels, and the Church.  We should not be attacking members/leaders of the Church on any of our media.  I have great regard and appreciation for EWTN, and will continue to do so.  

Question:  Cardinal, at what point should the Church get involved with politics?  In other words, should the override of the Presidential veto on partial birth abortion be urged from the pulpit, or should the priest merely state the Church's position on abortion? 

Cardcong:  On questions of absolute moral importance, such as the right to life, the Church has a special duty to inform our parishioners of that issue and to urge them to take whatever steps are needed to overcome an obvious moral evil in our society.  

Question:  It seems as if our church is being torn apart from within.  Various factions set litmus tests to determine others' "Catholicness."  The rhetoric is frequently uncivil if not un-Christian.  Are the Bishops aware of how serious and painful the situation is? 

Cardcong:  Yes, we are very aware of these divisions within the Church -- these are not of the Holy Spirit.  Recall Jesus' words:  "By this will all peoples know you are my followers, by your love for one another."  We must model love and charity in our ranks or we are not authentic disciples of the Lord -- we become more like members of some societal club. 

Question: Being an Archbishop, do you find that there are more pressures on you to be the role model type? Also how do you handle the attention that you do draw? 

Cardcong:  As disciples of Jesus, we are all called to live out the Gospel fully and visibly.  As an Archbishop, there is a bit more pressure since people see you in public more than most people, giving them the opportunity to see if I practice what I preach.  But all of us are held to the same measure.  Attention does not bother me, as long as the message outweighs the messenger. 

Question:  Why does the church still outlaw birth control in overcrowded developing nations? 

Cardcong:  The Church does not permit artificial birth control, but encourages and promotes natural birth control -- and quite successfully.  By calling people to a great sense of respect for each other, their God-given bodies, and a deeper communication between spouses, sexual relations become far more spiritual and helpful to couples. 

Question:  Your Excellency, are you in Rome at the present time? 

Cardcong:  Yes, I am communicating with all of you from Rome -- I'm about a block from St. Peter's Square, and I can hear the various groups practicing [it's 10:27 p.m. here] for the  Consistory of Cardinals tomorrow morning. 

Question:  Cardinal, you are the shepherd in a part of the country where a great deal of pagan lifestyle is not only lived, but "exported" to the world through TV and films. How do you deal with this as a shepherd? 

Cardcong:  We have developed a group called Catholics In Media to help all our Catholics in TV and film production to help make those media more wholesome and which offer good values.  We reward good TV programs and movies, as well as actors and producers who bring them forth.  It is amazing that the movies returning the most money to film companies are the family movies, such as "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," and the like. 

Question:  Would you please address the issue of bombing Iraq?  Is there a "Catholic position"?  Thank you. 

Cardcong:  The Catholic Church has always been most hesitant to resort to armed violence to resolve conflicts in the world.  Our just war theory was devised to give criteria to evaluate war and armed response, and generally speaking, we will always favor other nonviolent means over violent ones.  All the USA Cardinals signed a letter to President Clinton the other day appealing for more dialogue and means to get rid of those terrible weapons.  We do not find further bombing effective to accomplish that, and many innocent people will suffer the most. 

Question:  Your Eminence, what can we as Church do to validate the unique gifts charismatics bring to the people of God? 

Cardcong:  In a sense, every disciple of Jesus is a "charismatic," possessing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We need to call forth those unique Baptismal gifts from all our people, and that can take many different forms.  The Church is fundamentally charismatic, and we need to attest to the presence of the Spirit -- especially during this Year of the Holy Spirit preparing for the Millennium. 

Question:  Will the Pope John Paul II visit the New Cathedral?  I find it upsetting that St. Vibiana's -- the only Cathedral he has been to -- is being destroyed. W hat do you say about that? 

Cardcong:  Old St. Vibiana's has been condemned by the City -- it cannot withstand any more earthquakes and is a very dangerous building.  Whether or not the Pope will visit our new Cathedral depends on many factors -- it's too early to say at this time. 

Question: What are the U.S. bishops going to do about the confusion in America over confirmation age? 

Cardcong:  There really is no confusion -- rather, there are different pastoral practices in different sections of the country, many of those resulting from histories special to those places.  Over the centuries, the Church has allowed for many ages for Confirmation -- in Los Angeles, we confirm our young people in their high school years, and we have found this practice to be most effective. 

Question:   What is your view of how the meeting the Pope had in Cuba went? 

Cardcong:  The Pope's visit to Cuba was tremendous.  His message was clear and forceful, while being charitable.  The Pope called for greater religious freedom among all Cubans, and the right of Churches to proclaim their faith freely and without interference.  It was a most needed visit for the faith of the people themselves.  I was at the Closing Mass in Havana, and it was a powerful witness of grace for all the people of that land. 

Question:  It must be an exciting thing to build a brand new cathedral. What guiding principals and ideas are guiding the process? How will it look? 

Cardcong:  Our new Cathedral is being designed with two theological principles in mind:  that Christ is the Light of the world, and that through our Baptism we are on a lifelong journey of faith leading to God's Word and Sacrament, and finally, to our life in the Kingdom.  The new Cathedral will proclaim those two truths wonderfully.  

Question:  Project Rachel is a very pastoral approach to post-abortion healing. Has the NCCB considered supporting the national office that promotes/supports this program? 

Cardcong:  Our Pro-Life Secretariat is closely involved with Project Rachel, but I am uncertain about financial support.  Most of our Dioceses offer support in various ways, as we do in Los Angeles. 

Question:  Do you consider yourself "political" as a Church leader? 

Cardcong:  Not at all.  But I do believe that all disciples of Christ must be willing to judge public policy issues through the lens of the Gospels, and at times, to point out the benefits and the negatives of proposed public policies.  I find that if people agree with the Church's position then they say you are a good religious leader; if they disagree, then they say we are too political! 

Question:  Doesn't the Catechism set the standard of Catholic theology, not the apologists?  It's a hard line and a difficult walk. 

Cardcong:  The new Catechism of the Catholic Church is a fantastic gift for the Church, and I praise God for it.  It sets forth so fully all of the teachings of the Church, and does so in a very pastoral way.  Everyone should have a copy! 

Question:  But Cardinal, do you not recognize a profound lack of faith among many, even within the Church? Especially on matters like Eucharist, morality, etc. 

Cardcong:  Sadly, yes.  Many of our Catholic people have not been deeply evangelized, nor fully catechized about their faith.  This remains one of our greatest challenges as we prepare for the year 2000.  We have many good programs attempting to deal with this lack. 

Question:  Does the Church need to better educate Catholics on the Real Presence? 

Cardcong:  Yes, I think many Catholics do not understand fully our belief in the Real Presence, nor are they familiar with John 6 and the promise of the Eucharist.  We need to continue this teaching long after First Communion has been celebrated. 

Question:  I read that the Vatican recently issued a document saying that Eucharistic Ministers should not be used regularly, only in special circumstances.  But in my parish in your Archdiocese, they are still used every Sunday. Will this stop in the L.A. Archdiocese? 

Cardcong:  The Church has allowed us to utilize extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist when there are not sufficient ordinary [deacons, priests] available.  There are no parishes in our Archdiocese that would have the 30 to 80 ministers--and even more--needed for each Sunday.  Yes, we will continue to use our terrific extraordinary ministers since we do not have, nor will we ever have, enough ordinary ministers.  Recall that the Church calls us to offer both the Body and the Blood of Christ under the two forms, calling for a greater number of ministers.  I am very proud of ours, and pleased with their special ministry. 

Question:  Why is the annulment process  so burdensome for a divorced Catholic who wants to remarry in the Church, even when it was the former spouse who turned from both the marriage and the faith? 

Cardcong:  Annulment processes are designed to discover one fact only:  was a valid Catholic marriage entered into?  Annulments have nothing to do with how a marriage, once validly entered, actually works out.  That is another question entirely.  The process seeks to discover whether a valid, sacramental marriage took place.  It is a long and tedious process since so much is at stake for the couple and for the Church. 

Question:  In a recent L.A. Times article, you referred to some "ultraconservative groups" as "simple people" and said that they really have no influence in the Church. Who do you think SHOULD have influence in the Church? 

Cardcong:  My reference was to people with little faith background, but who challenge noted Scripture scholars and theologians.  Such challengers assume an air of pride and superiority, sadly, believing themselves to be the orthodox keepers of the gate for the Church.  In fact, many are poorly educated in theology. 

Question:  Your Eminence, how does the Pope select who he is going to make a Cardinal? 

Cardcong:  I have no idea at all! 

Question:  How can we as a people let the pastors of our parishes  know we want to be in union with Rome and have them implement what Rome has asked of the U.S. Church? 

Cardcong:  From my experience, virtually all our pastors are in union with the Church and the Holy See.  Sadly, many parishioners choose not to accept the renewal of the Second Vatican Council, thus placing themselves outside the full scope of the Church.  Let the Bishops work with their priests and people--that's what the Holy See wishes. 

Question:  Eminence, often the American media will refer to Pope John Paul II as being conservative, as though there is a liberal option which he chooses not to exercise.  Would you comment on this? 

Cardcong:  The media always apply to the Church their political matrix:  and they use political terminology in doing so.  Nothing is more wrong.  The Pope is neither liberal nor conservative--rather, he lives out the Gospel and the Church's teaching with fidelity and courage.  Not everyone likes that, and so they give labels to him and others in the Church.  Labels are so destructive since they are not the language of faith. 

AOLiveMC13:  We have time for one final question. 

Question:  With the elevation of many bishops to cardinal this weekend, is this a sign that the Holy Father is preparing for when he isn't around, to have like-minded cardinals selecting the next pope? 

Cardcong:  No, Pope John Paul II has held a Consistory about every three to four years.  He has tried to keep the College of Cardinals as close to 120 voting members as he can.  The last Consistory was in Nov. of 1994, so this one is right on target. 

AOLiveMC13:  Thanks for being with us this afternoon and taking our questions, Cardinal Mahony! 

Cardcong:  Thanks so much, and I will pray for all of you tomorrow at our special Mass.  God bless you all!! 

AOLiveMC13:  Thanks to the audience for joining us with your questions!  Good afternoon all!! 

OnlineHost:  Copyright 1998 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 
More about this Event: 
02/20  Cardinal Roger Mahony 4:00pm ET (AOL Live) 

Archbishop of Los Angeles 

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, both in Camarillo, California, and a master's degree in social work from The Catholic University of America's National Catholic School of Social Service, Washington, D.C. Ordained a Catholic priest in 1962, he 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.  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.  His 1997 pastoral letter, "Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass," is being hailed world wide as a masterpiece of liturgical renewal. In January 1995, Cardinal Mahony announced that the Archdiocese would build the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to replace the earthquake-devastated St. Vibiana's Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. 

The Cardinal has been a member of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as well as the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See.  He is a current member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Mahony one of the President Delegates for the 1997 Special Assembly for America of the Synod Bishops in the Vatican. 

Event Keyword: "AOL Live" for America Online members
Date: February 20, 1998
Time: 4:00pm ET

©1998 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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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