Reaching high

Continuing his recent string of unprecedented access to the media, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston gives an interview to the Boston Globe. I’ll give him credit for being proactive with the media. I’ve been telling everyone I could get my hands on in this archdiocese that the Church should stop simply reacting to stories, but when it sees something happening that will likely be in the media, to be the first one out of the gate on it, to frame the story as it forms. Maybe they’re finally getting that idea.

Among his remarks he said he has an expansive view of who is Catholic in the archdiocese, including those who only return to Church on big holidays like Easter and Christmas. Certainly that’s not at odds with the Church’s teaching. Failing your Sunday obligation may be a mortal sin, but it doesn’t make you not a Catholic.

He also said that there is a big evangelization push planned for 2008 to coincide with the archdiocese’s bicentennial (finally, evangelization!) and acknowledged that dissent is a big problem. (Ya think?)

Plenty of tidbits in the transcript

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  • Permanently “failing in your Sunday obligation” makes you a what if not an ex-Catholic?  People can remove themselves from union with the Church; many do by precisely this action.

  • It makes you a Catholic in a state of mortal sin. But commiting a mortal sin doesn’t excommunicate you. It creates a need for the grace of reconciliation with God. But once you are baptised a Catholic you must make an intentional decision through an intentional act to not be Catholic anymore.

    It’s like divorce. If I were to abandon my husband (God forbid!) we would be separated but we would still be married in the eyes of God and man. Divorce requires a legal act it isn’t enough to just run away or stop living together. I wouldn’t be a good wife, but I’d still be his wife.

    Likewise, to stop going to mass and receiving the sacraments doesn’t mean you are a good Catholic. In fact you are a bad Catholic.

    That’s what we’re talking about here. Not people who have joined another church but people who still consider themselves Catholic but just don’t go to mass.

  • Dom –

    I think the comp figures were for the “top 5 compensated individuals” not the “top 5 figures/roles”.  So instead of clergy like the Archbishop, Vicar General, etc., it probably includes the Chancellor, Director if Institutional Advancement, Press Secretary, Controller, Director of IT, etc. 

    My guess is that all of those positions will be 6 figures (or close to it), which might seem high, but it’s probably much cheaper than what comparable figures in other non-profit orgs make and what those individuals made prior to coming to the Archdiocese.

    For me, I hope they pay top dollar for the Director of Institutional Advancement (Fundraiser), since that role is critical and well worth the investment.  Ditto on the Chancellor.

  • Dom, I agree with you about convincing people that the teachings are more than just “not silly.” 

    And Cardinal Sean does as well.  Once he told me that he desires people see them as “life-giving.”

  • Jane,

    Exactly. We need to pray for them and make sure at those masses they do come to that we do all we can to encourage them to come back more fully. I know at the Christmas vigil mass we went to the homily seemed especially couched to reach those people who only come at Christmas, to invite them to think more fully about the great treasure God has given us and to make it more fully a part of their lives.