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Threatened?

posted by awelborn

According to the American Life League, student protesters were threatened with arrest at the LA Cathedral:

Today’s scene occurred when more than a dozen young people attempted to attend the inauguration ceremonies of Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor-elect of Los Angeles, who is a pro-abortion Catholic. The young adults are part of American Life League’s 2005 Crusade for Life walks in which they are trekking from San Diego to Sacramento spreading the truth about the incompatibility of Catholicism and support of abortion.

The group planned to attend the inauguration ceremonies, beginning at the Cathedral, and peacefully protest with shirts and signs that read: you can’t be Catholic and pro-abortion.

…The young activists were eventually allowed in the Cathedral after the Los Angeles Police Department intervened in the situation. "How ironic that the Cathedral security guards wanted to arrest the students and the LAPD had to step in and point out that such an act would be unconstitutional," said Brown. "The truths of the Church will always stand strong, regardless of who attempts to stifle them…even a cardinal."

I don’t see the part where they were threatened were arrest, but it’s not beyond imagining that the Cathedral security forces would not allow them in.



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Mike Petrik

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:40 pm


The irony is priceless, but I don’t think that it is illegal for the Archdiocese to restruct admission to its Cathedral, at least in the civil law sense.



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Peter Nixon

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:44 pm


The ALL seems to enjoy fomenting confrontation with Church authorities to get its name in the headlines. Hard for me to get all miffy about it, since I’ve been part of groups (e.g. labor union organizing campaigns) that used similar tactics. But hard for me not to be a bit cynical too…



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Nancy

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:51 pm


Can’t find this in the LA Times.



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:53 pm


The (unbiased?) article says these folks were part of the ALL 2005 Crusade for Life walk. But according to the schedule, they should have been in San Luis Obispo, having passed through LA June 11-19. Maybe they just came back to protest.
Another anti-abortion group, Survivors, did plan a protest.
What I find more interesting than what protestors the Cathedral Guard might have tried to keep out, is what actually was welcomed inside:

… The first event, an interfaith service at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, began just after 8 a.m. There were readings and prayers from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and others faiths.
The inaugural ceremonies dominated downtown this morning, with thousands attending the Cathedral service to witness the man credited with politically energizing Latino voters while capturing majorities in most groups of Los Angeles voters.
“I’m no longer a refugee, now I vote and my family votes,” said one excited spectator, Mario Fuentes, a refugee from El Salvador. “We are part of the new Latino power. Once refugees, we are now citizens. My whole family voted for him.”
The Cathedral was infused with incense burned during a Native American prayer. Clerics in turbans and flowing orange gowns sat next to those in traditional Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Rite robes.
Villaraigosa, in a black suit, and his family were seated in the front center pew.
To their right were Jerry Brown, Mayor of Oakland, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, his wife Nancy Daly Riordan, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, United Food Workers official Dolores Huerta and State Treasurer Phil Angelides,
The service ended in a prayer circle, with religious leaders surrounding Villaraigosa, and a concluding benediction by Cardinal Roger Mahony.
Mahony urged Villaraigosa to show “special concern for those residents of our city on the margins of life, of society and most in need,” and “to strive for what is right and just.”
To mariachi music, Villaraigosa then strode out of the sanctuary and onto city streets at 9:09 a.m. for the short walk to City Hall.

Reminds me of the Religious Education Congress!



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Nancy

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:57 pm


Why is the mayor of a secular American city being inaugurated in a Roman Catholic cathedral? Wouldn’t City Hall be a more appropriate venue?
Or did I misunderstand the story?



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Jason

posted July 1, 2005 at 1:58 pm


“American Life League calls for the immediate resignation of Cardinal Roger Mahony in light of his continued defiance of Church teaching,” said Brown.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I love you, Judie, but you need to step back and get a grip.
It’s unclear: why were they at the Cathedral? Is it traditional to have political inaugurations at the cathedral?



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:04 pm


This is how the Cathedral events were summarized in the Washington Post:

The day kicked off with a prayer service attended by Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians that reflected the inclusiveness that swept Villaraigosa to power in May.

That’s it.
More from a smallish-LA newspaper, The Daily Breeze:

The oath was administered in a ceremony on the steps of City Hall as the man Villaraigosa ousted after one term, fellow Democrat James K. Hahn, and his predecessor, Richard Riordan, looked on.
The audience of political figurers included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Vice President Al Gore, former California Govs. Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and Jerry Brown, now mayor of Oakland, and former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

As the first Hispanic mayor since 1872, he will also be carrying the hopes of many who see his victory as both a validation of Latino political strength and the enduring immigrant dream.
“We pray for a new kind of politics — focused on moral principles, not on the latest polls, on the needs of the poor and vulnerable, not the contributions of the rich and powerful,” Cardinal Roger Mahony said in the inauguration benediction.
Villaraigosa, 52, a liberal Democrat, is the son of a Mexican immigrant who deserted the family. He credits his mother with holding the household together, and he turned around a troubled youth that included a scrape with the law during a restaurant brawl.
A high school dropout, a lawyer who flunked the bar exam four times, he made his mark with political instincts honed as a union activist and, later, as speaker of the state Assembly. He left his seat on the City Council to assume the mayoralty.

Technically, Villaraigosa took the oath of office in a private ceremony June 16. City officials traditionally take the oath early so there is no break in service when current terms expire at midnight of the day before inauguration day.



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amy

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:06 pm


No – the inauguration wasn’t there. It was an an opening ceremony type of thing. After the Cathedral, they processed to City Hall.
An article



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:16 pm


This photo of the procession from the Cathedral to City Hall reminds me of “here comes everybody!” I believe that is the Cardinal with the pectoral cross, with the Buddhist monks just to his right. On the other side of the Mayor is an Episcopal clergyman.
Here he is praying is the front pew of the Cathedral.



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John Bianco

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:18 pm


The LA archdiocese is not healthy at all in terms of vocations, in terms of influence, in terms of even trying to maintain church teachings, so its no surprise that yet another fiasco has taken place in LA. I reall feel for the faithful in the LA Archdiocese, but sadly I see no change untill 2011.



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John Bianco

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:18 pm


The LA archdiocese is not healthy at all in terms of vocations, in terms of influence, in terms of even trying to maintain church teachings, so its no surprise that yet another fiasco has taken place in LA. I reall feel for the faithful in the LA Archdiocese, but sadly I see no change untill 2011.



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Clayton

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:22 pm


Is anyone surprised that this happens when you’re protesting at the gates of Mordor?



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chris

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:27 pm


When is the last time a Cardinal was defrocked for Apostasy? Is it now time?



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Nancy

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:29 pm


It was billed as an “Interfaith” service, which is appropriate, since they inaugurated the guy Mayor of Los Angeles, not Cardinal. So, there were lots of people there from other faiths.
There’s something wrong with that?



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:31 pm


Another picture from the Cathedral this morning. This must be the “prayer circle” around the Mayor. Looks like Buddhist, Orthodox and Jewish? clergy praying around the Mayor and his wife at the front of the Cathedral. Don’t know about the guy with back to the camera. I’m assuming that the very tall Cardinal is waiting off camera for the final benediction.
By the way, Natalie Cole sang for the Mayor last night, but it was NOT in the Cathedral. Although this full participation is probably welcome at the Cathedral!



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kim

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:36 pm


Why is the mayor of a secular American city being inaugurated in a Roman Catholic cathedral? Wouldn’t City Hall be a more appropriate venue?
I guess if it were Bush in this situation it would be all over the news and the screams of ‘theocracy’ would be heard



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sj

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:43 pm


He wasn’t being inaugurated at the Cathedral — it was an interfaith prayer service that was part of the day’s festivities.



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Andrew

posted July 1, 2005 at 2:52 pm


I live near Pasadena [in LA Country] the local Fox affiliate had an on-air spot with the protesters in the background, couple kids standing there with the “you can’t be Catholic and pro-abortion” placards.
LA Archdiocese is pretty ridiculous but there are pockets of solid orthodoxy and good folks who focus on the faith and let God worry about the Cardinal and his house of schism.
On a political note, you couldn’t pay me to be mayor of LA. Millions of people, millions more illegal who use up 70% of your city services but pay close to zilch in taxes, federal govt who won’t enforce immigration laws but at the same time won’t reimburse cost to local economy. Forget it. No win situation. City of LA has a bleak future. Surrounding non-LA communities like Pasadena, Burbank, etc doing much better. LA, sad shadow of it’s former self.



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mayangrl

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:03 pm


When is the last time a Cardinal was defrocked for Apostasy? Is it now time?
Well, if you started your own church with your rules, you could do anything you like. I mean, being as you don’t like how this one is run, and being as you know better.



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:03 pm


Dear Andrew,
May I politely ask, how long have you been in LA? My family arrived there in the late 1800’s, and aside from many family members in the ground, I still have a few above ground there. When do you think LA was so good that it is now a “sad shadow of it’s former self?”
Here is some history:

“The Los Angeles City Guards,” who, during their short-lived career, were attired in the City’s first official police uniform, succeeded the Rangers. Like the Rangers, their effectiveness was questionable. Murders were occurring at the rate of one a day, many resulting from differences of opinion voiced within the City’s 400 gambling halls.
Vigilante justice had been practiced since 1836. When Stephen C. Foster was Mayor in 1854, he resigned to lead a mob, which removed a notorious suspect from jail and proceeded to hang him. Foster was promptly reelected. Such was the tenor of the times.
Because the City lacked a jail, suspects were confined in a county facility in which cells were conspicuously absent. To overcome this inconvenience, prisoners were chained to massive logs in the jail yard.
Sheriff James Barton was assassinated in 1857, followed by a wholesale roundup of suspects, 11 of whom legally departed this life on the gallows. Vigilantes, however, disposed of the actual murderer.
During the 1860s, there was such a climate of violence in Los Angeles, that a terrified group of residents, fearing for their lives and property, appealed to their French homeland for protection. The French government actually deployed troops in Los Angeles! How long they stayed and why their “occupation” was tolerated by the United States government is not known.
Tranquility in the 1870s was something wished for but rarely attained. Increased violence went hand in hand with increased prosperity. There were laws on the books that were not or could not be enforced. A population of 5,614 patronized 285 businesses, of which 110 were saloons.
Racial discrimination was commonplace, protected under an 1850 state law and upheld by the state’s Supreme Court as follows: “No black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be permitted to give evidence in favor of, or against, any white person. Every person who shall have one-eighth part or more of Negro blood shall be deemed a mulatto and every person who shall have one-half of Indian blood shall be deemed Indian.” Later, under the same reprehensible statute, all Asians suffered a similar denial of human rights.

My maternal grandfather was a grauduate of USC Law in 1931, and, to the best of our knowledge, LA has always been a land of “adventure,” shall we call it politely.
My father’s side of the family includes con men and gamblers, and my paternal grandparents and uncles worked in the gambling dens of Los Angeles.
I must have missed that Golden Age.



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mayangrl

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:04 pm


millions more illegal who use up 70% of your city services
Source?
but pay close to zilch in taxes
Which taxes? Local? State? Federal? Source?



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californian

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:17 pm


does the cathedral have to be reconsecrated now?



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:26 pm


Dear Californian,
Did you ever read the letter of Pope John Paul II to Cardinal J. Francis Stafford asking him to go as his Special Envoy to the Consecration of the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, dated 20 August 2002? It begins:

Calling to mind the words of Sacred Scripture that Jesus pronounced, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Mk 11,17), we readily turn our thoughts to the Clergy and faithful People of Los Angeles, who in the coming month of September will have the joy and honour of the inauguration of the new cathedral, that was planned a hundred years ago and has only now been completed.

I think this morning’s interfaith prayer service is exactly in line with “a house of prayer for all peoples.”



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reluctant penitent

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:26 pm


Mahony is a disgrace. He is supporting and giving legitimacy to politicians who actively support abortion and other immoral legislation. (Nancy Pelosi was there and she has a 100% NARAL rating! Schwartzenegger was there as well.) He may make perfunctory statements condemning abortion, but those statements are empty in light of his actions.
We should not be surprised, however. Given his responsibility for the aesthetic abortion that is the LA Cathedral, it is natural that he should not be troubled by the more serious kind of abortion.
We’ve seen some people posting on this blog claim that the Pope endorses and approves all of the actions of his Bishops. I guess they must believe that BXVI is soft on life issues and that he has bad taste in architecture.



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Sim

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:32 pm


does the cathedral have to be reconsecrated now?
That eyesore never should have been consecrated in the first place.



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reluctant penitent

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:34 pm


Zhou,
Do you really think that the passage: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Mk 11,17) was intended to mean that we ought to have interfaith services in Catholic Cathedrals? Do you think that that is what JPII took this passage to mean?
Don’t get me wrong–I think it’s appropriate for a Catholic Archbishop to do his best to establish and maintain good relations with other religious communities. However, I’m just not getting “interfaith service” from that passage in the Gospel of Mark.



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Jason

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:35 pm


“I think this morning’s interfaith prayer service is exactly in line with “a house of prayer for all peoples.”
One of the important distinctions at Assisi was that they didn’t pray together, they came together to pray. Do you know if this was the case at the Cathedral?



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Der Tommissar

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:49 pm


Another picture from the Cathedral this morning. This must be the “prayer circle” around the Mayor. Looks like Buddhist, Orthodox and Jewish? clergy praying around the Mayor and his wife at the front of the Cathedral.
Ok, maybe it’s just me but I keep waiting for everyone in that cirlce to raise their hands towards the mayor and have like, lightning shoot out.
Then I expect him to levitate about fifteen feet into the air and cry out, “The Powwwerrrrrr!”
Like I said, maybe it’s just me.



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:53 pm


Dear Reluctant,
The month following the consecration of the Cathedral in Los Angeles, during a General Audience Pope John Paul II said:

“God is offering His salvation to the whole world”
1. Now we have just heard the voice of the ancient Psalmist, who sang a joyful song of thanksgiving to the Lord. It is a brief but compelling text, which opens out on an immense horizon, to embrace in spirit all the peoples of the earth.
This universal openness probably reflects the prophetic spirit of the age that followed the Babylonian exile, when it was hoped that God would also lead foreigners to his holy mountain to fill them with joy. Their sacrifices and burnt offerings would be pleasing to him, for the temple of the Lord would become “a house of prayer for all peoples” (Is 56,7).
In our Psalm, 66 [67] too, the universal chorus of the nations is invited to join in the praise that Israel raises in the temple of Zion. Indeed, this antiphon is repeated twice: “Let the peoples praise you O God; let all the peoples praise you” (vv. 4-6).
2. Even those who do not belong to the community chosen by God receive a vocation from him: indeed, they are called to know the “way” revealed to Israel. The “way” is the divine plan of salvation, the kingdom of light and peace in whose realization the pagans are also involved since they are invited to listen to the voice of the Lord (cf. v. 3). The result of this obedient listening is the fear of the Lord “to the ends of the earth” (v. 8), an expression that does not evoke fear but rather adoring reverence for the transcendent and glorious mystery of God.

Note the phrases:
“opens out on an immense horizon, to embrace in spirit all the peoples of the earth”;
“universal openness”;
“God would also lead foreigners to his holy mountain to fill them with joy. Their sacrifices and burnt offerings would be pleasing to him, for the temple of the Lord would become ‘a house of prayer for all peoples'”;
“Even those who do not belong to the community chosen by God,”; and
“the pagans are also involved since they are invited to listen to the voice of the Lord.”
Yes, I think Pope John Paul II would be happy with this morning’s event.



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c matt

posted July 1, 2005 at 3:59 pm


I’m with Mike – how, exactly, could preventing the students from entering private property be a violation of their Constitutional rights? Only the government is prohibited from preventing free speech. Last I checked, the LA diocese was not part of the gubment.



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:03 pm


p.s. Here is an article from the Archidiocese on House of Prayer for All Peoples, June 10, 2005, by Fr. Alexei Smith, Archdiocesan Ecumenical & Interreligious Officer.

The cornerstone of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral boldly proclaims, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “My House Shall Be a House of Prayer for All Peoples.” We enflesh those words in number of ways.
Since its dedication, an innumerable number of interfaith prayer services have been held in our Cathedral. Last month for example, representatives of the Armenian, Evangelical Christian, Baha’i, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Faiths lead a large congregation of diverse people in an Interfaith Prayer Service commemorating the life of our Late Pope, John Paul II.
Earlier this week, as part of the seventh International Conference on Buddhist Christian Dialogue, representatives of various Buddhist traditions and Catholic, Southern Baptist, and Episcopal clergy gathered in the Cathedral to conduct a Buddhist Christian Prayer Service. An Interfaith Prayer Service is currently being planned to be held at the Cathedral prior to the upcoming inauguration of our new mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
In addition to such services, the Cathedral has hosted a number of sacred music events, such as choral presentations, organ recitals and performances, reflecting the diversity of faith found in our city. An Interreligious art exhibit, “Passion and Passover,” recently graced the walls of the side chapels of the Cathedral, featuring the works of Jewish and Christian artists.
The Cathedral has also been made available to members of other faiths in times of civic tragedy, such as the recent funeral for a member of the Airport Police Department who was so tragically killed in an act of violence: a non-Catholic, his funeral service was conducted by a Baptist Minister.
Occasionally we are asked by a single denomination to use the Cathedral. Our Guidelines for the Ecumenical and Interreligious Use of the Cathedral specifically state: “If a particular denomination is celebrating a special moment in its life and history, then the Cathedral may be available for Prayer Services, Vespers or other non-sacramental celebrations” [III.A].
The Guidelines further state: “The use of the Cathedral’s altars is reserved for the celebration of the Eucharist by Catholic priests and bishops according to the usages of Catholic Churches, that is, those in communion with the Bishop of Rome” [III.B]. And further: “The celebration of Eucharistic or other sacramental liturgies by other denominations is best reserved to the designated places of worship of those denominations or other appropriate locations” [ibid].
Last Sunday, we were honored to host the Pontifical Divine Liturgy of His Holiness, Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, at our Cathedral. Why this exception to the above guidelines?
In Unitatis Redintegratio, the Vatican II Degree on Ecumenism, the special position of the Eastern Churches is specifically noted: “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all — by apostolic succession — the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy” [III.14]. This cannot be said of all Christian Churches, but certainly can be said of the Armenian Church.
In light of the conciliar document and the Ecumenical overtures of both our late Pope, John Paul II, and our current Pope, Benedict XVI, to the Eastern Churches, and acknowledging the hospitality extended by Karekin II to John Paul II during his pastoral visit to Armenia, when the Pope celebrated Mass on the altar of the Catholicos’ Palace Chapel, we were singularly honored to host that spiritually rich and historic liturgy on our Cathedral altar.
Given the religious diversity of our city, it is fitting that our Cathedral be used both ecumenically and interreligiously, that it truly serve as the spiritual heart of Los Angeles.

Yes!



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hieronymus

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:05 pm


I’d like to offer my own moderate and reasoned suggestion:
Excommunicate Mahoney and send him a millstone as a going-away present. Postage due. Burn down the hideous cathedral (removing the tabernacle first, assuming anyone can find it, on the off-chance that it actually has a valid Eucharist in it and not the leftovers from a Buddhist butter sculpture), and stomp salt into the ground over its ruins. Give the property to Judy Brown to build a sprawling, gothic revival pro-life pregnancy center, complete with gargoyles, rose windows, and turrets from which she can plug local politicians with red paintballs as they walk down the street. In exchange, demand that she take a perpetual vow of silence.



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reluctant penitent

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:38 pm


zhou,
The first text you cited (from JPII) says nothing about using a Catholic Cathedral for an interfaith service. It says nothing about interfaith worship at all.
You have also not explained how the Mark passage that you first cited relates to interfaith worship.
The third text you cited is a very muddled attempt to justify this sort of interfaith service. It appeals to provisions for allowing a Church to be used by other denominations (=Christian denominations) and to an Armenian divine liturgy. I don’t see how one can leap from this to an interfaith service involving Buddhists, Muslims and others.
It is, of course, important to be on good terms with other faiths, and to exercise Christian charity toward people of other faiths. However, Christian charity does not require us to engage in interfaith services.
Why be opposed to interfaith services? Because they affirm the idea, already quite persuasive to a great many people, that “we’re all on the same path to God.” That’s not a message that is consistent with Christian belief and with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.



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Eileen R

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:43 pm


hieronymous, thanks for the laugh. That last sentence reduced me to giggles.



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reluctant penitent

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:45 pm


“Burn down the hideous cathedral (removing the tabernacle first”
It can probably be sold to someone who can convert it (without doing very much work) into a refrigerator warehouse or a convention space. I’m sure Trekkies would love to have their annual meetings there.



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Richard

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:51 pm


“It is an outrage that an event honoring a pro-abortion Catholic public figure that openly supports the killing of the preborn would occur at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral,” said Brown.
Can’t argue with that.



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Richard

posted July 1, 2005 at 4:58 pm


Nancy,
It was billed as an “Interfaith” service, which is appropriate, since they inaugurated the guy Mayor of Los Angeles, not Cardinal. So, there were lots of people there from other faiths.
There’s something wrong with that?

Only if it’s in the cathedral.



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Richard

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:04 pm


Hello Zhou,
I think this morning’s interfaith prayer service is exactly in line with “a house of prayer for all peoples.”
Fair enough, but I presume the Holy Father had intended that the prayers be directed to the Triune God.
I guess there’s always Assisi, which the Holy Father later had some regrets about. But even so it wasn’t like it was held at Lateran or St. Peter’s.



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Quintero

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:09 pm


Go to my blog, L.A. Catholic, for lots of details.



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:14 pm


Dear Reluctant,
Well, you might not like Catholic Cardinals or Bishops or Popes holding interfaith prayer services in Catholic Cathedrals, but Mahony is not the only one. Some other examples, by no means an exhaustive list:
Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa, on March 23, 2003.

…there will be a special interfaith prayer service for peace at Notre Dame Cathedral. On this occasion, we will be welcoming Rabbi Arnold Fine (Agudath Israel Congregation), Bishop Peter Coffin (Anglican Diocese of Ottawa), Imam Dr. Gamal Solaiman (Ottawa Mosque), The Reverend Andrew Johnston (St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church), Pandit Madhu Sahasrabudhe (Hindu Temple of Ottawa Carleton), Father Ihor Okhrimtchouk (Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Assumption of the Blessed Virgin), and Norma McCord (Montreal and Ottawa Conference of the United Church of Canada). The Apostolic Nuncio will also be in attendance.
Given the current situation in Iraq, it would be wonderful if we could fill the Cathedral for this event and I would ask you to actively promote this prayer service.

Cardinal Pell of Sydney, with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf at. St Mary’s Cathedral for a lunchtime Interfaith Prayer Service, April 1, 2004.
Archbishop Norberto Rivera of Mexico, with the Dalai Lama at the National Cathedral in Mexico City, October 5, 2004.
When Pope John Paul II stopped in St. Louis in January 1999, he held an interfaith prayer service at the Cathedral Basilica:

The pope wrapped up his 30-hour visit with two events. First was an interfaith prayer service held at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, with Vice President Al Gore in attendance along with other civic leaders and a host of local religious leaders—Jews, Muslims and Buddhists included.

It happens. I think that is a good thing.



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Clayton

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:16 pm


I get the Cardinal’s missionary impulse to reach out to all peoples. But it is a strange missionary that loathes his own family.



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David Kubiak

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:22 pm


Who is the most prominent and courageous spokesman in this are on Catholic issues? Mel Gibson, of course.
Mother Angelica knew exactly where to pick her fights…



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Veronica

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:22 pm


hieronymus:
LOL. Those are good suggestions, but I might add that they take down that horrendous statue of the Virgin Man first and sell it in parts as scrap metal.
As for the building itself, it could be used as a convention center, as reluctant penitent suggested… or maybe as a museum for Picasso’s or Dali’s paintings. They would look at home in there.



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Veronica

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:40 pm


Zhou:
“Archbishop Norberto Rivera of Mexico, with the Dalai Lama at the National Cathedral in Mexico City, October 5, 2004.”
Ah yes, I remember that. It made my stomach churn when I turned on the TV and heard about this in the night news. In fact, it still annoys me very much. Ugghhhhh….
I have a lot of respect for the Dalai Lama, but Mexico City’s Catedral (or any cathedral, for that matter) is NOT the best place to hold an ‘interfaith’ service with the head of a religion that has nothing to do with Christianity. There are other places for that.



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Steve Skojec

posted July 1, 2005 at 5:51 pm


Some thoughts – first from an old pope:

A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion. (Mortalium Animos A P. 2 – Emphasis mine)
And from a new pope:

The prayers for peace in Assisi, called by John Paul II, are multireligious, as all participants pray at the same time but in different places.
In these cases, the participants “know that their way of understanding the divinity and, therefore, their way of addressing it, is so different that a common prayer would be a fiction, it would not be true,” writes Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On the contrary, in interreligious prayers, people of diverse religious traditions pray together, he explains.
“Is it possible to do so in a truthful and honest way?” the author asks. He responds by saying that he seriously doubts it.
If such interreligious prayers are organized, however, they require three conditions, Cardinal Ratzinger stresses.
First, he says, it must be made clear that one is praying to the one, personal God; second, it must be established that what is being prayed for is not in contradiction to the Our Father; and third, it must be stressed that for Christians Jesus Christ is the sole redeemer of all people.
(Ratzinger, Faith, Truth, Tolerance — Christianity and the World Religions)

So it would seem this might not be the best idea.



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Jimmy Mac

posted July 1, 2005 at 6:18 pm


Let’s face it, kiddies: unless Abp. Mahony commits hari-kari in front of you, ANYTHING ELSE he does will not please you. And he isn’t going to do that. And he most likely won’t be removed by B16. So why don’t you worry about something else and save your blood pressure?



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Zhou

posted July 1, 2005 at 6:20 pm


Apparently Steve Skojec (who has a really cool, new look on his blog), left us in a very narrow place.Trying to wident it.>S-t-r-e-t-c-h.



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jtbf

posted July 1, 2005 at 11:01 pm


Zhou,
I usually agree with you but not on this.”My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Mk 11,17), we readily turn our thoughts to the Clergy and faithful People of Los Angeles”: JP2 clearly meant faithful to the teachings of Jesus.
Were the Buddhists praying to the God of Abraham? No. Were the rabbis praying to God in 3 Persons? No. Were the Muslims praying to the Trinity, one of Whom is the divine Jesus? No. Where was the “inter” of the faiths? Gets you to relativism mighty fast since there is no “inter” except that one higher power is as good as another.



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Steve Skojec

posted July 1, 2005 at 11:04 pm


Zhou:
Thanks. I’m glad you like my new blog theme! It’s a bit more fun than before.
And sorry about the endless blockquote. Sloppy html on my part there.



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mtk

posted July 2, 2005 at 12:11 am


Maybe St. Paul should have skipped preaching to the pagans at Mars Hill and instead had an interfaith service with them. I cannot believe I’m reading that anybody believes this is in line with Christian belief to drop a kneeler with an imam and a shaman and offer up prayers to a supreme “it/they/we/earthmother/whatever”. The Isaiah and Mark passages clearly indicate a triumphant worship of the world of the true God, not that all worship of a “higher power” is equally valued by Him. Were it equally valued, there would have been no reason for all the prohibitions against worship of the Canaanite and Assyrian gods. Exd 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:



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jtbf

posted July 2, 2005 at 12:34 am


mtk: Exactly.
By the way, were Wiccans represented? Druids? Can you imagine St. Patrick bowing his head as Druids worshipped whatever they do in a Catholic cathedral?
Was the Holy Eucharist removed from the tabernacle prior to the service? If so, does the bishop countenance removing Christ from His position of centrality in the Church He founded to make it cozy and comfy for Buddhists?



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Mary Kay

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:55 am


The “interfaith” discussion above misses the main point, which is that the LA archbishop publicly honored a so-called Catholic who is promoting what is gravely against Catholic values.
That is the scandal – that instead of upholding Catholic values, Mahoney would rather follow his own agenda than follow God’s way.



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David James

posted July 2, 2005 at 5:25 am


Cardinal Mahoney has spoken eloquently against abortion, but is against denying communion to pro-abort or pro-sodomy political candidates.
As a matter of public (court) record, he has shielded molesters of children and youths and other unchaste clergy. He allows condemned, suppressed, heretical clergy to speak at the religion ed. conference. The gay subculture at the St. John’s Seminary College (an archdiocesan seminary) drove many young men away and was a definite factor it’s closing. He recently invited the Rainbow Sash Movement to receive communion at the cathedral in their sashes. He still seems to wink at ordaining active homosexuals:
http://onelacatholic.blogspot.com/2005/06/openly-gay-in-mahonys-la.html
He encourages, nay, mandates liturgical abuses:
http://www.adoremus.org/97-11_gft.htm
Were he in Rome under Diocletian, I have difficulty imagining him following the path of the martyrs. Why not encourage Christians to briefly worship the emperor-god in an interfaith service?
Cardinal Mahoney is a very personable man with many fine qualities. I like him. I wish I knew what motivated him to act as he does.



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Clayton

posted July 2, 2005 at 7:14 am


David,
I’ve wondered too about what drives the Cardinal. I don’t know for certain, but here is my theory.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 8:47 am


Everyone I know who’s met the Cardinal speaks well of him as a person. The lady who designed the Cardinal’s garden at the Cathedral (he wanted plants from the Holy Land) is not a Catholic, and she nearly converted on the spot, she thought so well of him.
I differ from the majority here in that I am in love with the Cathedral. If I lived in LA I’d spend all my free time sitting in there praying.
But. The Cardinal’s record in dealing with abusive priests is… words fail me. Let’s just say “horrible” and leave it at that. He’s a major moral failing in this area. He’ll apparently go to any length to shield these men, ship them out of the country, whatever it takes.
I too am puzzled.
___
Was the Holy Eucharist removed from the tabernacle prior to the service? If so, does the bishop countenance removing Christ from His position of centrality in the Church He founded to make it cozy and comfy for Buddhists?
The one thing I don’t care for at Our Lady of the Angels. The Blessed Sacrament is in a closet. You really have to look. No one would notice one way or the other.



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Mary Kay

posted July 2, 2005 at 8:54 am


David wrote: “Cardinal Mahoney has spoken eloquently against abortion, but is against denying communion to pro-abort or pro-sodomy political candidates”
I’d say that actions speak louder than words.
That may have been David’s point. But then he also throws in a jab against interfaith services. That bothers me because it seems to detract from the main issue, which is that Mahoney, however eloquently he has spoken against abortion, is not practicing what he preaches. And worse, is publicly supporting someone committed to the murder of the unborn.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 8:59 am


According to Zhou’s post, interfaith services are not exactly unknown at Catholic Cathedrals, and even JPII held at least one.
Accordingly, anyone who thinks this improper is out of line even with what our late Pope thought.
Which is your privilege of course. No one has suggested that Popes are always right.



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Steve Cavanaugh

posted July 2, 2005 at 9:17 am


It was billed as an “Interfaith” service, which is appropriate, since they inaugurated the guy Mayor of Los Angeles, not Cardinal. So, there were lots of people there from other faiths.
There’s something wrong with that?

Yes, there is something wrong with that. Participation in an interfaith prayer service is a form of idolatry. It is not possible to go to an interfaith service and also obey the first commandment. For a Catholic prelate to sponsor and take part in such a service is a serious sin and a scandal in the technical sense.
Charity towards others cannot be carried out without fidelity to truth. If we believe the creed that we pray each week on Sunday, we cannot then offer up prayers to some deity which is the product of human ingenuity, a blend of the true God and the false gods of those who do not believe in the God of Israel.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 10:03 am


I guess you and John Paul disagree, Steve.



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Mary Kay

posted July 2, 2005 at 10:03 am


Since you all seemed so focused on this interfaith prayer service topic, what was inappropriate was to hold something related to a political nature, especially of a Catholic who does not follow Church teachings, in a church.
Steve, I would strongly disagree with your statemtents that “Participation in an interfaith prayer service is a form of idolatry. It is not possible to go to an interfaith service and also obey the first commandment.”
Think of the interfaith prayer services following 9/11 or local crises. An interfaith prayer service in itself is not bad. Circumstances and intention determine appropriateness.
Having said that though, I still think that all of you are detracting attention away from the main issue which is Mahoney’s public support for someone who is publicly against Church teaching.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 10:14 am


I think Mary Kay’s right on here.
I don’t know the new mayor’s position on abortion, nor do I know how publicly he’s stated it or insisted on it. I also have no idea what, if anything, a big city mayor can do about abortion one way or the other.
But if he’s made a public position in clear opposition to Catholic policy, it does seem improper to receive so much public Catholic approval.
Let me ask this. Suppose the new mayor were Jewish. Would the Cathedral still have been involved in the ceremony? (According to their own literature they’d have no problem with that.) Or was this done just because Villaraigosa is allegedly a Catholic? In other words, is this service being held at the Cathedral to honor Villaraigosa as a Catholic (clearly improper) or is it just because he’s the new mayor?



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Richard

posted July 2, 2005 at 10:22 am


Hello Nancy,
Not to pick a fight here, but it may well be that Pope Benedict disagrees as well.
Ratzinger was always critical of the Assisi gatherings, especially the manner in which they were conducted. There’s some evidence that JPII came to have some reservations in his final years as well given evidence that some Catholics may have been confused or drawn the wrong conclusions from the gatherings.
All of which is not to say that interfaith dialogue and good relations are not to be sought after – indeed, the Council’s mandate calls for such work. But there is a difference between praying together and simply coming together to pray. And I think the tradition is clear that if one is to do that, a Catholic church is not the place to do it.
Obviously in recent years that understanding has been discarded by a number of bishops. I think many of us have grave concerns about that practice given the tradition and the implications. It’s not a question of coming together with the Dalai Lamai or the local imam. It’s a question of how and where.



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jay

posted July 2, 2005 at 11:24 am


“The irony is priceless, but I don’t think that it is illegal for the Archdiocese to restruct admission to its Cathedral, at least in the civil law sense.
Posted by: Mike Petrik at July 1, 2005 01:40 PM”
Oh, it’s even more priceless than that. A couple of weeks ago there was a young lady from American Life Leagure spoke after Communion at the Pastor’s invitation. I guess Cardinal Mahony didn’t learn about it in time to stop her. She fired both barrels at the pseudo-Catholic politicians.
Now, the real irony. At Mass on the first Sunday of each month, a disturbed person yells for about five minutes after Communion. I can’t give you many details about this performance because it is in Spanish, odd because the Mass is in English. The Pastor has consulted with the bishop (not necessarily Mahony but he must agree) and has denied this person the Eucharist. That’s it. No arrest on trespassing charges and obtaining a restraining order. Well, guess what, the screamer is still at it. This Sunday, I’m going to walk out of Church before the loon goes off.
Jimmy Mac: dittoes and same with the
Cathedral.
Others: No use kicking a dead horse, crying
over spilt milk, etc.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 12:03 pm


Denied him the Eucharist.
I wonder what the reasoning is here. “It is not the healthy who need a Physician, but the sick.” Don’t you wish as I do that Jesus of Nazareth could be there in human form and cast out the demons, so that the man is found “sitting at His feet, fully clothed and in his right mind”? (And then the Pharisees present could pick nits about the details.)
I go to Mass in Berkeley. You guys only have one screamer? We see a number of… unconventional folks. Insofar as possible their oddities are ignored, and the only reason they’d be denied the Eucharist is if there was a well-founded fear they’d stomp on It or something.
Instead of walking out, try staying and praying for this man. Can you imagine, dare we imagine, the fears that chase him around in his head? Mental illness can be so profoundly frightening; those of us who are reasonably well have a lot to be thankful for. (Another suggetions for after-communion prayer.) No wonder the ancients talked about demonic possession.
______
As for interfaith services, Richard, what you say just proves that holy, highly placed and well-intentioned clerics can and do differ on this matter. As can holy (you), not so holy (me), lowly placed and well-intentioned folks like ourselves.



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Steve Skojec

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:04 pm


The biggest problem here IS of course that there is a pro-abortion candidate being celebrated at a Catholic Cathedral. I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel so desensitized to that sort of thing that I pretty much expect at least some of the bishops to honor politicians who support the murder of the unborn. It happens ALL. THE. TIME.
So we’ve chosen to focus on the whole interfaith thing, because it’s a big no-no. I beg all of you who are in doubt about the proper restrictions on interfaith prayer to READ THE PAPAL ENCYCLICAL MORTALIUM ANIMOS.
It is the essential primer for the false and destructive nature of ecumenical interfaith prayer.
Whether you love JPII or you hate him – the man was not infallible, his office was. The World Days of Prayer in Assisi did not fall under any purview of infallibility. None. They were discretionary acts of the bishop of Rome, just like this debacle at the Cathedral was a discretionary act of the bishop of L.A.
John Paul II’s hero status should not lend inviolability to his every action or endeavor. His traditionalism on some things masked his liberalism on others.



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Mary Kay

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:08 pm


“This Sunday, I’m going to walk out of Church before the loon goes off.”
Jay, what a shining example of Christian charity you displayed.
Perhaps you should stay in Mass and offer up your discomfort, first for the screamer who is obviously not well, second for yourself to learn some emphathy for your neighbor, and third for whoever in the diocese who apparently does not know how to put the Gospel into practice.



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Ann B

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:12 pm


Nancy,
If you think about it, what IS an “interfaith service”?
1. Directed towards Whom? (or what)?
2. Acknowledging the true God?
There could be an “interfaith service” among Christians, who have many beliefs in common, but not in a church, since that is where we differ, mainly, or at Lourdes, say. If you think it through.
I think there were 3 incomprehensible mis-steps:
1. Having an inagural event in the Cathedral, no matter who was just elected.
2. Allowing a schismatic Catholic to be feted in a Catholic Church – which is where fealty should prevail.
3. Asserting that the Catholic Cathedral is a Pantheon – a temple built for all the “Gods”, where all “Gods” can be contacted and worshipped.



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Julianne Wiley

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:39 pm


Y’know, we’re always “deploring” the pro-abortion American Catholic ruling class, the politicos and clerics. We read this sort of article, wring our hands, make a deplore-face, and then scroll on down.
I accuse myself: this is what I do.
Better to do ONE thing that would strengthen the truth-tellers. OK, say one Hail Mary. But then mouse on over to American Life League and send them $10 — $2 — $1, fer cryin’ out loud. You can do it online with a couple of mouseclicks, and then feel you’ve done a little something. Here’s how:
http://www.all.org/activism/support2.htm
Thanks, all. And thank you, ALL.



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David James

posted July 2, 2005 at 1:58 pm


Mary Kay said “That may have been David’s point. But then he also throws in a jab against interfaith services. That bothers me because it seems to detract from the main issue, which is that Mahoney, however eloquently he has spoken against abortion, is not practicing what he preaches. And worse, is publicly supporting someone committed to the murder of the unborn.”
Agreed, I didn’t mean to detract from my main point, which was about his poor example.



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jay

posted July 2, 2005 at 3:11 pm


For the gazillionth time, it’s M-A-H-O-N-Y.
A couple of you are really unclear on the concept of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
A church is not a circus, a subway, a People’s Park or a mental hospital.
Nancy, uou weren’t paying attention. I never stated the sex of the offender.
I can pick up a few nouns to know that the spiel at least has something to do with religion. If someone yells about the benefits of term life insurance for five minutes during Mass, should I accept this too? How about Klansmen burning a cross during the Eucharistic Prayers? Should the parish host that guy who appears on every TV channel during the weekends selling his “health secrets” book? Let’s give Tom Cruise the opportunity to tell us by satellite broadcast how the Catholic Church is in league with Big Pharmacy Companies to keep the nasty aliens within us.
Mary Kay: Remember what those shock jocks prompted people do in a Catholic Church? Should “Christian charity” meant that the church should have videotaped the performance so it could be replayed every Sunday in every Catholic Church in the country?



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jay

posted July 2, 2005 at 3:13 pm


For the gazillionth time, it’s M-A-H-O-N-Y.
A couple of you are really unclear on the concept of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
A church is not a circus, a subway, a People’s Park or a mental hospital.
Nancy, uou weren’t paying attention. I never stated the sex of the offender.
I can pick up a few nouns to know that the spiel at least has something to do with religion. If someone yells about the benefits of term life insurance for five minutes during Mass, should I accept this too? How about Klansmen burning a cross during the Eucharistic Prayers? Should the parish host that guy who appears on every TV channel during the weekends selling his “health secrets” book? Let’s give Tom Cruise the opportunity to tell us by satellite broadcast how the Catholic Church is in league with Big Pharmacy Companies to keep the nasty aliens within us.
Mary Kay: Remember what those shock jocks prompted people to do in a Catholic Church? Should “Christian charity” meant that the church should have videotaped the performance so it could be replayed every Sunday in every Catholic Church in the country?



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jay

posted July 2, 2005 at 3:25 pm


Ouch – didnt mean to double post.
I havd to bring up one more thing – Nancy is UPSET that this person is being denied the Eucharist.
During the most recent Mass when this occurred, the pastor stated that the “screamer” is serving Satan. Does that upset you, Nancy?



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 4:26 pm


Certainly it upsets me, jay, unless the pastor has some kind of mystical straight-line to the divine power of insight. “Serving” implies some kind of willingness. Lacking divine knowledge of the heart, how would he know that?
And whatever difference would the gender of the screamer make, jay? You lost me on that one. If it’s a woman, I’m not taking back anything I said. (This one really puzzles me.)
In fact your whole reaction puzzles me. First, you vow to leave when this “loon” (whom even you describe as “disturbed”) starts screaming. As others have pointed out, that lacks a bit of charity. Next, you’re surprised that I think the Great Physician might be able to help someone who is obviously sick. Then, it’s apparently OK with you when mental illness is described, by your pastor no less, as “serving Satan.”
However, you seem so lacking in compassion (not to mention comprehension) that I don’t imagine I’m likely to get through to you the idea that your brother (or, sister, all the same) is suffering a great deal from something that isn’t his [her] fault. (Unless you really are medieval, and thing mental illness is a punishment for sin.)
People who are being deliberately disruptive for political purposes should be removed. These people are sane, and know perfectly well what they are doing.
People who are ill, if they are making the service impossible, should be removed as gently as possible. Your pastor has not apparently chosen to do this. From your account he prefers to let this person rant on, and then blame him [her] for being sick.
We’ve found in my parish that treating such people gently usually has good effect. Schizophrenics are very sensitive to the vibes of the people who approach them. If approached with love rather than condemnation, we’ve found that many of them can calm down.
The priest is standing in the place of Christ. So should you be, for that matter. I can’t imagine Jesus reacting either the way you’re reacting, nor the way you describe your pastor reacting.



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Kevin Miller

posted July 2, 2005 at 4:28 pm


Let’s see what the Church’s living Magisterium teaches now about ecumenical prayer.
We have in the Catechism:
821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call [to the “unity” of Christ’s Church]: … prayer in common, because “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name ‘spiritual ecumenism;'” …
Non-infallible teachings to the contrary by previous popes are modified by this. (Remember: We are not free to dissent from any Church teaching, infallible or not – but by definition, non-infallible teaching can be modified by the Magisterium itself.)
Now, one does have to distinguish between “ecumenical” per se and “interfaith.” There are more potential problems with the latter than with the former. Hence the caution at Assisi (an “interfaith” event) – so that there would be coming together to pray, but not exactly praying together.
One also has to consider, though, that even “coming together to pray” wouldn’t make sense unless non-Christian prayers for truly good things (like peace) weren’t implicitly prayers to the one, true God.
Finally, one has to consider that when the pope does something “discretionary,” he himself is making an – implicit – theological/doctrinal statement, which we should be extremely hesitant to question (note that doesn’t mean we can never question it – but the pope is more likely to have his underlying doctrine right than we are).



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Kevin Miller

posted July 2, 2005 at 4:30 pm


By the way – I’m NOT saying that the LA event sounds prudent – both because of the apparent nature of the interfaith prayer, and because of the kind of person who was being honored with the service (i.e., a “Catholic” who dissents from the most basic moral teachings).
My main reaction is to agree with hieronymus’s proposal regarding both the LA cathedral and Judie Brown.



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jay

posted July 2, 2005 at 4:48 pm


He said it, and I’d be happy to email his name and phone number so you can ask him. Actually, there must be others who know the story, because I believe that the Pastor said that the disturber goes to different churches each week of a month. I never said the person was “mentally ill” – I used the word “disturbed” because I was being charitable.
The point is not about this person, or even the pastor, but what bothers Cardinal Mahony and what doesn’t. You can be a pro-abort polictician (even one with a mistress*) and he’ll be happy to salute you in an “interfaith service” and be your pal. From the L.A. Times story, it seems that if you point out the Magisterium’s position on this issue, you are less welcome. From my own experience, I have found out that there is at least some behavior which will cause you to be denied the Eucharist. Like I said, great, but that doesn’t rescue the Mass from the ravings of one person.
* No, not Villagairosa – Riordan.



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Emily

posted July 2, 2005 at 4:50 pm


A few comments about the LA event:
– A lot of my friends are in the ALL group, so I heard more about it from them. As one of the earlier posts mentioned, they were scheduled to be in San Luis Obispo. They found out about the inauguration on Thurs. and decided to drive the 4-5 hours to be in LA. Once in the cathedral they were threatened with arrest by the cathedral security guards, who said they couldn’t wear their shirts in the cathedral. As a side note, they were at the same cathedral last week and were not asked to leave. Anyway, they thought they were going to Mass and not an interfaith service and were not about to leave. As Catholics, they can’t really be denied the gift of attending Mass. The security guard was about to have one of the Crusaders arrested, but the LAPD said they could not. They were allowed to stay but were watched during the service. There was nothing disrespectful in their demeanor. They say and prayed. It’s not about judging people — in this case politicians — but about loving them so much that they want to lead them to the Truth, and sometimes it has to be done in bold ways. If these young people didn’t really care about people like Mayor Villaraigosa, they wouldn’t have made so many sacrifices to spend their summer doing this work.
– One of the big issues here is that young adults who are openly standing up for Catholic Church teaching in a Catholic cathedral were asked to leave, while openly defiant public figures and politicians were welcomed with open arms.
– Thirdly, I don’t know if anyone heard the Crusaders being interviewed on the Drew Mariani Show, but the Priests for Life priest who joined them (Fr. Capoverdi) made an excellent point. Instead of rushing to conclusions about the cardinal, or wagging our fingers at him, we should pray for him and allow this as an opportunity to help us grow in holiness. I don’t know if the archives are on http://www.relevantradio.com but if they are, Father’s comments are well worth listening to.
– Finally, please say a prayer for the Crusaders too. It may be easy to sit at home and judge and speculate and question, but imagine what it is like to dedicate an entire summer to building a culture of life in such a hands-on way day after day. And, you may be interested in knowing that at least one baby has already been saved during the summer trek. Praise God! I know they greatly appreciate your prayers.



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Mary Kay

posted July 2, 2005 at 7:02 pm


Jay,
First, thanks for the correct spelling. I simply went for the most familiar spelling.
Second, the sarcasm in your post is uncalled for. No one suggested that Mass is a mental hospital or circus. The comparison to Klansmen and health secrets peddlers displays only your tremendous prejudice and lack of knowledge about mental illness (which is what the “screamer” sounds like. Ditto with the pastor’s comment about the screamer serving Satan.
I have no clue who the “shock jocks” are that you refer to.
Your sarcastic comment whether “Christian charity” meant videotaping and replaying it was not what I meant. What I mean by Christian charity is from the first letter of John: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21, NAB)
Your description of “a loon” is a person, a child of God, who is loved by God. Which reminds me the verse “whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 from the section Matthew 25:31-46) The loving response to the screamer would have been to address his immediate need, then follow up contact with the mental health system. (Addition after reading your later post: No, I don’t know if the screamer has diagnosed as mentally ill, but someone who goes around to different churches, being disruptive, could probably benefit from a mental health screening.)
If it is possible to address the medical needs of someone with a physical health crisis (heart attack or stroke) during Mass, which I have seen several times, it should be possible to address someone with a mental health issue.
Just saw your 4:48 post, which does not change any of the above.
Since this is long enough for now, I’m sure you’ll let me know of any point that I missed or did not adequately address.



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Nancy

posted July 2, 2005 at 7:23 pm


Beautiful post, Mary Kay.
I was thinking about this person on my way home from the post office this afternoon… this behavior is so irrational (screaming in Spanish to a bunch of English-speakers, among other points?) that a mental health screening seems long overdue, if only someone could stop talking about the “service of Satan” and show enough compassion to persuade the person to cooperate.
We can’t do everything for the mentally ill, but we can do a great deal more than we used to. We owe it to each other, and to God, as you point out, to at least try.
As I said before, there are many mentally ill street people who attend Mass at our parish. We’ve found that it is nearly always possible, with gentleness and love, to accomodate these people. When they are disruptive, most of us try to remember that we are there to worship Christ, who died for even the least of us; we aren’t there to please ourselves.



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jay

posted July 3, 2005 at 2:31 pm


Even the most talented psychiatrist in the world could not give a complete diagnosis of a person he/she has never seen or heard. I could have used other words to describe this person, but they are not suitable in a public forum.
Just because a person has strange (yes, even LOONY) ideas doesn’t make them mentally ill and not responsible for their actions. Case in point: Osama bin Laden has delusions of grandeur – one of them being the restoration of the Caliphate – but he doesn’t get a free pass.
I was at Mass this morning, and surprise, surprise, attendance was off by about 1/3. If the goal is to keep people out of Catholic Churches, the disturber is not irrational but quite cunning.
You two still seem to be under the impression that this is some poor soul who needs a hug, or counseling, or medication. Maybe, but not for the particular behavior during Mass.
The pastor, unlike me, has a solid understanding of spoken Spanish – so he knows what is being yelled. He contacted his bishop for guidance.
The pastor spoke to the disrupter, in Spanish, and even through a translator. He told the parish that part of holiness is obedience to lawful authority in the Church. I especially remember him saying that this person was serving Satan.
This is part of what is going on in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. You can love it or hate it. I live it.



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Mary Kay

posted July 3, 2005 at 7:43 pm


Jay,
Thanks for the update; I wondered what happened today.
Yes, there are expectations for decorum during Mass. But when disruptiveness does not respond to ordinary measures, it’s important to consider what else might be going on and respond, not scapegoat the person.
For your most recent post: No one was giving a “complete diagnosis.” In fact, if you were paying attention, my posts have been strewn with qualifiers. In fact, you made assumptions yourself with your comment, “If the goal is to keep people out of Catholic Churches, the disturber is not irrational but quite cunning.” That assumption is that the screaming is knowingly, cunningly, being disruptive. On what basis do you so definitively rule out the possiblity of mental illness as the reason for the screamer’s behavior?
You are correct that strange(loony) ideas in themselves do not constitute a mental health diagnosis. That’s why I mentioned a screening would be appropriate. That determination should be done not by you, who have displayed little knowledge of mental health, nor by me, as you have correctly pointed out that I’m not in a position to say what exactly the person’s issues are, but by trained professionals who are on the spot and able to gather sufficient information to make an assessment.
People who are disruptive fall into three groups:
1. those who do so with the intention of being disruptive (example protesters) and who do so with their mental health basically intact
2. those with mental health issues ranging from moderate to severe
3. there is always the possiblity of demonic possession. But even then, the rite of exocism is always preceded by a mental health assessment and treatment to separate out mental health issues.
So while I don’t know the reason why the pastor said the screamer is serving Satan, if it is a case of possession, the screamer needs to have professional help. Just as you and I can not make that determination, even a priest can not do so, simply on the basis of a person’s behavior and comments during Mass. That requires a very careful evaluation.
For the first group, a response by the police is sufficient, for the other two groups, a mental health assessment is essential. The point of entry differs from city to city. In some communities, the police have special training, in others there’s a mental health crisis team.
A city the size of Los Angeles must have something in place to respond to disruptive people.
I never said that screamers should get a “free pass.” What you’ve described is that someone has been denied the Eucharist and that apparently has been the end of the response to the screamer.
If intervention has been offered and rejected, then a restraining order might be appropriate, but from what you’ve described, nothing has been done to assess what is going on with the screamer and consequently, there’s been no offer of hope for a way out of the situation.
Yes, there are expectations for decorum during Mass. But when disruptiveness does not respond to ordinary measures, it’s important to consider what else might be going on and respond, not scapegoat the person.
I don’t know the reason for the screamer’s disruptiveness. I do know that your comments sound very close to the criticisms of healing on the Sabbath, simply because it was the Sabbath.



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Mary Kay

posted July 3, 2005 at 7:46 pm


In the meantime, I will add your pastor, parish and screamer to my prayer list.



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Mary Kay

posted July 3, 2005 at 8:56 pm


Jay,
Correction to earlier post: I don’t know if you live in LA. That was an assumption, a fairly common one, such as when I say that I live in New York, people assume that I live in or near NYC, when in fact, I’m several hours away.



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jay

posted July 4, 2005 at 1:31 pm


Mary Kay and/or Nancy:
This is really going on too long. It’s Amy’s blog, not ours. If either of you have a blog you’d like to discuss this on, let me know.
The church in question is in the city of L.A. and I live in the city – but the real point is that it is in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Karen Hall talks about stuff going on around these parts on her blog, and so does the fellow at onecatholic.blogspot.com . I don’t know the age of either, but I’ve been around long enough
to have attended ~2000 Sunday Masses in the diocese. I just don’t have the desire to report on everything that I’ve seen.
I really don’t get the “healing on the Sabbath” remarks. I’m not the pastor, and I have no authority in the parish. The Cardinal is in charge of the Archdiocese, so I have to assume that the pastor is not acting against orders, as he is still there. If you think the pastor should have someone present during Mass to evaluate this person, OK, but it seems to me that would just cause a further disruption during Mass.
Look, getting a psychiatric evaluation for the disturber is not a bad idea. (I wrote “if” in regards to purpose, btw) The person thinks the speechmaking in Mass is a good thing, so how could this be done? I can only think of one way, and that would be by force of law. So, perhaps arresting this person might be an act of mercy. The guy who chained himself to the Cathedral chair was arrested, so it’s not like it would be unprecedented in L.A.
This is my positively last comment on this thread, so thanks for reading and my apologies to the blogmistress for dragging this out so long.



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Mary Kay

posted July 6, 2005 at 8:57 pm


Jay,
Thanks for the blogs and your comments. Usually, I don’t make a comment on other dioceses (the one I live in is far from perfect).
Mainly, my point was that the continued disruptiveness indicates that what’s been tried up to this point has been insufficient (because it’s still continuing) and that the “one size fits all” response to disruptiveness misses a lot.



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