On Friday, March 2, 2007, at 11:15 a.m. PST, hosted an online chat session with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, live from the main Exhibit Hall at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, Calif. Our thanks to Ellie Hidalgo of The Tidings for help with moderating the chat.

The Cardinal annually conducts an online session, first with school children from the archdiocese, and then in a nation-wide chat session. This will be the Cardinal's 11th annual online appearance and one of the highlights for the more than 40,000 attendees at the four-day event.

Thanks to Steve McBrady of ChurchWerks for arranging this session, and to Collin McBrady for his monitoring and providing the transcript.

Moderator: Welcome to ChurchWerks Chat with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony

CardinalMahony: Welcome to all of you!

John: Cardinal Mahony, What is your favorite memory of Pope John Paul II?
CardinalMahony: His pastoral visit to Los Angeles in 1987. We had him for two full days, and two wonderful Masses -- one in the Coliseum, the other in Dodger Stadium.

Rosemary Azzaro: As I Have Done For You was a major influence on my ministry. I will receive a certificate in youth and young adult ministry in May. Who were/are the theologians most influential regarding your view of Church?
CardinalMahony: Many, but Card. Avery Dulles is one of the most endearing. Also, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI.
CardinalMahony: Another: Larry Cunningham from Notre Dame.
CardinalMahony: Fr. Henri Nouwen for spiritual development.

Corrine Bayley: What do you think are the 2 or 3 most important issues facing the Church today? And facing the world today? Thank you for your reflections.
CardinalMahony: Corrine--hard question, because it depends where you are in the world. Here in Los Angeles, our challenge is how to minister to so many millions of Catholics with our current facilities and ministers.
CardinalMahony: In the USA, we must be in the forefront of helping our immigrant peoples.

Virginia Austin: I know this could be seen as a political question but it is not: With the war in Iraq, I don't see the church making any efforts to teach or preach the ways of non-violence. Why isn't there any teaching or preaching on non-violence? I think as Christians we are missing the boat on this. Love your Enemies is a core teaching of Jesus Christ and should be ours as well. Many devoted Catholics, including religious, educators and students from our diocese attend the annual vigil of thousands of peacemakers.
CardinalMahony: Actually, we proclaim non-violence constantly. We preached on it the Sunday before Lent began -- the great Luke account where Jesus calls us to love our enemies.
CardinalMahony: Jesus calls us to be instruments of peace, agents of peace. That means non-violence in all our words and actions.
CardinalMahony: Often there is a disconnect in our lives--we pray for world peace, then cut someone off on the freeway and curse at them!!

ess: What are your thoughts on when there is no priest for celebrating the mass? Can a lay person conduct a communion/paraliturgical service?
CardinalMahony: It is really hard to substitute any Rite or Service for the full celebration of the Eucharist. Sadly, in some places people don't have a choice.

Barbara: Cardinal, would you welcome married Episcopal priests into the Catholic priesthood in this archdiocese?
CardinalMahony: As a matter of fact, I will be ordaining a former married Episcopal priest early in May. But these are quite rare events.

Kraig Taylor: In a recent class I was given to understand that it is the Holy Spirit and not the priest who is responsible for changing the bread and wine into the Sacred Species. Is this a correct understanding? If so, wouldn't anyone with the Holy Spirit be able to affect this change?
CardinalMahony: Kraig: the priest stands in the place of Jesus Christ in the Mass, and it is the priest who calls down the Holy Spirit to transform our gifts. But the words of Consecration from Jesus at the Last Supper brings about the change.

steve25: Do you see the church ordaining married Catholic men to the priesthood in the future?
CardinalMahony: Steve: I really don't know. Our current practice is to ordain non-married men. Will that ever change? That is up to the Holy Spirit and future Popes.

Adrian Blake: Is there any mention in the Bible of what the soul actually is? Is it matter or a spirit form?
CardinalMahony: Adrian: go back to the Book of Genesis and read how God created the first humans. He made their bodies from the clay of the ground, but then "breathed into them the breath of life."

RoeA: I have been impressed with the collaborative ministry process in LA Archdiocese. Can you tell a little about the theological influences on it?
CardinalMahony: Our collaborative ministry here in LA flows from the power of Baptism. Each of us becomes a sharer in the life and in the ministry of Jesus through Baptism. The Second Vatican Council then really enhanced that teaching in so many ways.

Moderator: From Kirk at Congress: Cardinal, I just wanted to say that I recall the washing of the feet at St. Vibiana's. I was with a group from Our Lady's Chapel. Thanks for the beautiful memories.
CardinalMahony: Kirk: yes, the washing of the feet is one of the great lessons Jesus gave us, and called us to continue forward with the practice.

James: I've read that Pope Benedict is concerned about the liturgy and is about to issue a decree that encourages a more generous use of Latin in the liturgy including the use of the Tridentine rite. Do you support this and will you encourage the use of more traditional forms of worship in the archdiocese if he issues the decree?
CardinalMahony: James: of our 5 million Catholics, only a handful are interested in the Latin Mass. I must focus upon the 99% who need a vibrant Mass that includes them in its celebration.

steve25: Who are your most favorite Saints?
CardinalMahony: Steve: St. Joseph is my patron saint. In our new Cathedral, we have a tapestry which depicts him as the young man he really was.

Robert: What should be the role of religion in today's government? And the government in today's religion?
CardinalMahony: The role of government is to allow maximum freedom of belief and of practice; not to create a "national Church" or interfere with free expression. Religion brings values and principles to all human issues, especially as laws are fomulated.

Moderator: Vickie Kennedy - What focus do you want for the Knights of Columbus families in 07-08 years.
CardinalMahony: KC families are a great gift for the Church, and I urge them to continue their prayers and work for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

RECongress: From Jeffrey at Congress: Why doesn't the Archdiocese mount a more vigorous defense of itself against the outrageous claims of the movie Deliver us from Evil?
CardinalMahony: Jeffrey: we have posted all of the problems with that film, and it is better to ignore it--the more we ignore it, the fewer people will see it, and the faster they will remove it from screens. Today, it is very hard to find it anywhere.

anonymous: Please suggest some ways that can serve as unifying factors, building bridges between people and priests.
CardinalMahony: I think most priests are anxious to relate well to the people whom they serve. Obviously, the more and better we listen to people, the better the relationship.

Moderator: Hello Cardinal Mahony, who living, was most influential in your path to becoming a priest?
CardinalMahony: Certainly the priests who served at St. Charles Parish in North Hollywood. Their lives were filled with joy and care for others!

RoeA: Where else is collaborative ministry being modeled as it is in LA?
CardinalMahony: Certainly the other five Dioceses in the Los Angeles Province: Fresno, Monterey, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego.

Greg Youell: What can be done to inoculate our younger Catholics (especially Latinos) from the zeal of Evangelicals and Pentecostals to lead them away from the Church? And how does Your Eminence think the Church can best rekindle its own sense of missionary zeal to lead non-believers and separated brethren back to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church?
CardinalMahony: Greg: we need to develop a fuller sense of the presence and power of Jesus in our own lives, and then share that with one another. We need to reach out with a warm and welcoming spirit to everyone. A welcoming parish community develops enthusiasm, spirit, and zeal for others to join.

Leonel Martinez: Cardinal Mahony, thank you for providing this forum for discussion. Some have suggested that the American bishops have not followed the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI because they have opted not to uniformly deny communion to Catholic elected officials who support abortion rights. How would you answer them?
CardinalMahony: That is not what our Holy Father is asking. Rather, he is asking that everyone who approaches Holy Communion should make sure he/she is living a life worthy of Jesus in this Sacrament. The burden is on the recipient, not on the minister.

Arleen: My daughter asks, why do we need to go to church on Sunday? I attend faithfully, but my daughter is of this younger generation that doesn't see the importance of going to church. She says it's boring and all they do is ask for money. How can we make church and the mass more appealing to this younger generation? I try to set an example, but feel like I can't persuade them. What can I do
CardinalMahony: Mass should involve the full, active, conscious participation of everyone. If we are involved, we love meeting God in this form. There are great Masses for teens, such as parishes with Life Teen. Find her a group of active Catholic teens who love Mass, and she will too.

Moderator: From Denny: Why can only men become priests, and not women?
CardinalMahony: We need to attend Eucharist because we are all members of the Body of Christ, and that Body is incomplete unless we are all there.
CardinalMahony: The moderator has better answers than I do to that question!!!

Mary Kennedy: As a lifelong Catholic, whenever I see the media look for commentary on Church issues, they seem to call on Mr. Donohue of the Catholic League. Invariably, Mr. Donohue does far more to engender contempt for the Church than anything that the League purports to protect the Church from. Why doesn't the USCCB publicly disavow this and make sure that the news outlets, when looking for the Church's position, actually call upon those who have authority to speak for the Church, such as the public affairs office of the USCCB?
CardinalMahony: Denny: we are following the tradition of the early Church and Jesus' actions. That has become our Tradition for a long time.
CardinalMahony: Actually, our best spokespersons are knowledgeable Catholics at the local levels of the Church, not national figures. We have excellent such folks here in LA.

Moderator: From Maria at Congress: We are down from Fresno, where you were with us as bishop. Just wanted to say hi.
CardinalMahony: Maria--I still love the D. of Fresno very much, and enjoy driving through the great Valley!

Moderator: From Fran at Congress: I've been asked this and I don't know -- Can Catholics' burial ashes be scattered?
CardinalMahony: Fran: normally, we encourage that all of the ashes be in one place for the sake of the family and future generations, but if someone wants to spread their ashes over the sea or forest, well, they do return to their origins. Just don't spread them over Disneyland.

Leo: Why isn't the term Real Presence added to either creeds we say? I know that it is in the Catechism, but not said during the creed at Mass.
CardinalMahony: The Creed does not list all of the beliefs of the Church; rather, the main Trinitarian beliefs and our unity as members of the Body of Christ.

CardinalMahony: Anyone on line from the cold east Coast??
RoeA: I am here from the East Coast
CardinalMahony: Roe, where are you? What is your weather like now?
RoeA: I am in NJ where it has been raining and now the sun is shining
CardinalMahony: Roe, we could use some of your rain out here in the West! Please send us some fast!!

Moderator: This is Sam. Do you think you would have time to drop by our first Indonesian mass at congress tomorrow? It'd be a great honor. Thanks.
CardinalMahony: Sam: I always attend the Arena Masses on Friday and Saturday because I can see the largest number of people.

realcatholic: is the archdiocese going to world youth day 2008 as a group?
CardinalMahony: Most parishes organize their own groups for World Youth Day, but we try to keep them in the same vicinity in the host country. I plan to go as well.

Moderator: From Paul at the Congress: Cardinal, you have a very good sense of humor, but we seldom see it. Is that because you're afraid it will be misquoted?
CardinalMahony: Paul: I actually use humor all the time! But the media likes to focus on problems and difficulties, not humor!

Moderator: I'm sorry we have run out of time. Thank you, Cardinal, for your time with us today.
CardinalMahony: Thank you and God bless you all!!!!

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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