Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tackling the Digital Classroom

Archbishop Donald Wuerl celebrated Mass this past Sunday at Washington's St Matthew's Cathedral to mark the 40th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Continuing the celebrations, and as he preps for his first Christmas in the capital, the quintessential Benedictine choice -- who the Pope said he picked after "considering" (as opposed to "accepting") the opinion of the Congregation for Bishops" -- held a digital chat yesterday on the website of the Washington Post.

Money exchange:
Potomac, Md.: Where do your true loyalties lie -- Steelers or Redskins?

Donald Wuerl: Fortunately, the teams are in different conferences and both apparently need prayers.
Snips from the rest:
Herndon, Va.: Do you think it is your duty to discuss the Church's position on life issue -- abortion and stem cell research in particular -- directly with Catholic Senators and Representatives. If yes, have you?

Donald Wuerl: Among the topics that I have addressed with consistency and regularity in my entire priestly and Episcopal ministry, which stretches over 40 years, is the defense of human life. We are often told that all the Church talks about is the "pro-life agenda." This, of course, isn't true, but it does reflect how high a priority the Church gives to the life issues and how human life is treated today. One reason why we are such a persistent voice in defense of the sanctity of life, the God-given origin of life is because there is so much said and done in our culture today that underlines that understanding. We are at a real crossroad in our culture today. We have to clearly explain and proclaim the uniqueness of human life in a way that convinces others of this reality. Otherwise we could face a society in which human life was reduced to a simple commodity. Hence, the great worry over embryonic stem cell research that is so regularly encouraged in our land. Once we appropriate to ourselves the right to end human life at any age, we set the stage for the unbridled manipulation and use of the lives of others.
"Pro-life agenda" in quotes.... Hmm.
Mount Rainier, M.: Archbishop Wuerl, given this archdiocese's unique location in our nation's capital, how do you see bringing the Church's teachings on justice and peace into the public square -- particularly in relation to the unjust war and occupation of Iraq, on U.S. use of torture, as well as the further building of the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It seems we need more prophetic Catholic voices to "speak truth to power," to speak out clearly on issues. Thank you.

Donald Wuerl: Every pastor, priest or bishop, has an opportunity and obligation to teach the faith. Necessarily, the faith will impact on our lives, on our actions and the positions we take individually and collectively. For that reason, I would see my ministry as one that includes presenting clearly and I hope persuasively the teaching of the Church in every situation so that those who have to make political decisions, which happens regularly in Washington, would be fully apprised of the obligations that flow from the Gospel....

Annapolis, Md.: Excellency,

Now that you know your archdiocese better, what is the top priority for the archdiocese in particular, and the Church in general, today? The choices that one usually hears about include orthodoxy, vocations, social services, evangelization, ecumenism, political action, and uniting people of different cultures (such as when a large immigrant population from Asia or Latin America moves into a hitherto homogeneous parish). Which one or two things are most urgent today?

Donald Wuerl: Today, the Church faces the challenge of proclaiming the Gospel and telling the story of Jesus in a world that is caught up in so much activity and often focused almost entirely on the here and now. Our task is to continually remind people of their relationship with God. The priority of the Church today is pretty much the same as it has been from the beginning: tell people the Good News that God not only loves us, but is with us and wants to have a living relationship with us.
Tomorrow is the six-month anniversary of Wuerl's installation as archbishop of Washington.