A hundred-fifty thousand welcomes!

If you are a regular reader, thanks for stopping by again this week. If this is your first time visiting, welcome.

This week I met with several different groups of people in the Archdiocese of Boston, including women religious, directors of religious education, newly ordained priests and those who are preparing to be welcomed into the Church this Easter.

Also, we announced yesterday that the 2006 Catholic Appeal raised 13.8 million dollars. Please know that I am most grateful to all who made our campaign a success. Through participating in the Appeal, Catholics express their heartfelt support for the programs and services that allow us to put our faith into action by helping meet the needs of our Catholic family and all who turn to us for assistance. To all the Catholics who gave so generously, and the pastoral leadership seen in all of our parishes, thank you. Your support of the Catholic Appeal sustains the vital work we do today, and establishes the foundation for the way forward.

– – –

On Sunday, we welcomed over 500 catechumens (those who are not baptized) and candidates (those who are baptized but not Catholic) to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the Rite of Election. The Rite is one of the final steps in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (commonly referred to as the RCIA), the primary way non-Catholics are prepared to enter the Church at Easter. As in the past, the ceremony was very impressive. The number of people � including their sponsors, relatives and directors of RCIA � is so large that we split them up into two separate ceremonies. The first group filled the cathedral, and the second group was nearly as large.

The RCIA program is a wonderful opportunity for us to remind people that we are to be an evangelizing and welcoming Church. This year about 150,000 people will join the Catholic Church in the United States. The first Sunday of Lent is when they gather in the cathedrals throughout the world for the Rite of Election.


As I said in my homily on that day, holding the ceremony in the cathedral is a very important part of the symbolism of the rite, and it shows the unity of the Catholic family. It is important for those who are joining the Church to understand that they are not just becoming members of a parish. They are becoming members of a larger Church � of a diocese and of a universal Church.

In the ancient Church, the bishop performed all the baptisms. In the Western Church, we have maintained some aspect of that by having the bishops continue to do the confirmations. That way, the bishop is involved in the initiation of people into the life of the Church � the fullness of baptism in confirmation.

I want to share my homily to the candidates and catechumens with you:


A hundred thousand welcomes (maybe we should say 150,000 welcomes!). I welcome you to our Catholic Family, to our Church, into our hearts. In the United States in all our Cathedrals 150,000 new Catholics to be will be part of the Rite of Election today in preparation for their baptism and reception into the Church this Easter. The Rite of Election has nothing to do with voting, no dimpled or hanging chads. It is the ceremony where those who are �chosen� (Elect) inscribe their names in the book of the Elect. Jesus has said: �I have chosen you.� We do this ceremony in the Cathedral to show that as Catholics you are not just members of your parish community but that you are part of a larger family, the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Church throughout the world. We are over one billion Catholics � you do not have to learn all of our names � we come in all sizes, shapes and colors speaking every language imaginable. We are saints and we are sinners. We are the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ on the Apostles who were our first Bishops.

Today�s Gospel reminds us of the questions that Jesus put to His first disciples. The first question He asks is, �Who do you say that I am?�


Sponsors, candidates, catechumens
and relatives join in prayer

It is Peter who answers in our name and in the name of all the disciples: �You are the Christ, the son of the living God.� Peter�s answer is one of the Church�s faith, faith in who Jesus is. In discovering who Jesus is, then we understand what our role is as His disciples.

Later on in the Gospel, Our Lord asks the disciples another question. He speaks to them about the Eucharist. He says, �I am the bread of life. If you do not eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you will not have life in you.� Many of the people who heard these words found them difficult to accept. They could not accept Jesus� teaching on the Eucharist and they stepped away.

Jesus then asks the second question to his disciples. �Are you going to leave me too? Are you going to abandon me?�

Peter, once again, steps up to the plate and responds: �You are the Christ. To whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life.�

Peter places his trust and all of his hope in Jesus� words, in Jesus� promises. Even when we don�t understand all of their implications, our hope is in Him. He is our Savior, our Messiah.

Later on, at the end of the Gospel, after Jesus� arrest in the garden of Gethsemani, Peter � in his human weakness � tries to follow our Lord at a safe distance, but then he discovers that it is not possible. Jesus wants us to follow Him up close, to carry the cross with Him.

After the resurrection, our Blessed Savior comes back, and He asks a third question, the most important of all. �Do you love me?�

Peter, again, answers in our name, �Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.�


A moment of the Rite of Election

These questions are the questions the Lord puts to us today. Do we believe, do we hope in Him, Do we love Him? It is precisely because we believe, because we place our trust in Him, because we love Him that we are here. And we are here to be members of His Church built upon the Apostles.

We gather as a community of faith around the Eucharist, the Lord�s Supper. At Mass we obey Christ�s command given on the night before He died: �To do this in memory of me.� It is at the Eucharist when we are fed by the word of God and the Bread of Life that we are most Church.


At the Mass we find the strength to live a life of discipleship and embrace the mission that Christ has entrusted to us as people. We must witness to our faith in the risen Lord, strive to pattern our lives on Jesus� teaching and be an active member of the community of faith.

Lent is an opportunity to focus on our vocation to discipleship in the Catholic Church. Too often our modern society is suffering from a spiritual Alzheimer�s by which we forget about God. When we forget about God, we become disoriented and our behavior, our relationships, our ability to communicate are diminished.

Lent is a time to remember, to refocus, to rediscover our God and His great love for us, to embrace His plan for our lives as the path that leads to meaning and to happiness. Lent is making time and space for God in our lives through prayer and works of mercy, alms and sacrifices.

The presence of these new brothers and sisters in the faith is a reminder to the entire faith community that we must be a welcoming community and be serious about witnessing to the Catholic faith by striving to be faithful to our Catholic way of life, to live the ideals of the Gospel together with our brothers and sisters in community.

There are many outside the Church who seek to define who we are and what we believe as a Church. It is important for us to learn the teachings of the Gospel and how to live that faith with love of God all over, and in loving our neighbors as ourselves. In the past many have attacked the Church for what we believe about God and the Trinity. Today many take exception to what the Church teaches about the human person, the Gospel of Life, our dignity as made in God�s likeness. A deep understanding of the Church�s belief is an important part of discipleship. The disciple is always learning. Disciple means student.


In our history many who have joined the Church as adults have become great saints and leaders in our Church. We rejoice at the spiritual gifts that you bring to our community as you join our Church.

Lent begins with the ashes on our foreheads to remind us of our mortality and the urgency of the Gospel message. Lent is a Baptismal retreat for all our catechumens, our new Catholics, but it is also a Baptismal retreat for us who are already baptized to stir us the graces we have received and prepare ourselves spiritually for Holy Week when we will all renew our baptismal promises to follow Jesus as His disciples in the Catholic Church.

I am very grateful to our pastors, priests, deacons and lay ministers involved in our RCIA program. Jesus commissioned His followers: �to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them what I have taught you and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,�� The RCIA program is one important way to fulfill Christ�s command, and it is a source of blessings for the whole parish.

As you write your name in the Book of Elect know that the Lord is calling you by name as He called His disciples in the Gospels. He calls you as one more sign of His love for you. Know that you are not alone on this journey. We stand with you, we welcome you and we thank you to saying yes to God�s grace that calls you here today to become members of our Family, the Catholic Church.


The book of the Elect


– – –

The previous Friday I met with the major superiors of congregations of women religious in the archdiocese at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brighton. I periodically meet with the major superiors of both men and women religious. Sister Marian Batho is my delegate for religious; she does an excellent job of bringing the different religious orders together to have these moments of prayer and sharing.


The gathering opened with a prayer service. Then I gave the sisters a brief update on some of the happenings in the archdiocese. We discussed the financial situation of the archdiocese, the upcoming bicentennial year, the 2010 Initiative in our Catholic schools and the recent decision to affiliate our Caritas Christi health care system with Ascension Health system.


The gathering also included a question and answer period. The sisters asked a variety of questions. For example, one question I was asked concerned the role of women religious can play in helping guide the future of the archdiocese. In response, I pointed out that we have named a sister to the Finance Council, have sisters on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and, of course, Sister Marian is a member of my cabinet. I also mentioned that during the process of revitalizing Catholic schools, we are going to need a pool of experts willing to serve on school boards of trustees. We think that will be a wonderful way for the sisters, who bring a great deal of experience and commitment to Catholic education, to help strengthen our boards of trustees of Catholic schools.

In another question I was asked if I planned to hold listening sessions again, as I did a couple years ago with as many as 500 sisters at a time. I told them that we may hold such sessions again, perhaps in conjunction with our celebration for World Day of Consecrated Life. This time, however, we may hold separate sessions for each region of the archdiocese.


Sister Marian Batho

– – –

Sister Clare Bertero the director of the Office of Religious Education, organized a day of recollection for all directors of religious education on Wednesday. I celebrated Mass with them at St. John�s Seminary in Brighton. Following a lunch together, I gave a talk on prayer and the importance of being teachers of prayer � a vital part of their role as educators in the faith. It was a very nice turnout and many of our DREs were there. Sister Clare and Susan Kay do a wonderful job supporting them in their ministries.


Joining Sister Clare Bertero for lunch


Sister Clare and Susan Kay from the Office of Religious Education
organized the event


DREs play an important role in our parishes



– – –

Later that same day I met with the priests who have been ordained within the last five years in the archdiocese. We have these gatherings, which we call Jesu Caritas meetings, several times a year. This time, about 30 priests joined our gathering at St. Mary Parish in Waltham.

We always begin with a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Then we pray vespers, have a meal together and reflect on different themes. At this gathering we reflected on the Holy Father�s Lenten letter, and talked about what Lent should mean in the life of a priest.

These meetings have always been wonderful moments for me. It is life-giving to be with our brothers and to reflect on themes related to the spiritual lives of priests, our ministry and the concerns we face today.

In every diocese I have been in, I have tried to have these regular meetings with recently ordained priests. They are a way of continuing their formation, building a sense of paternity and brotherhood among the priests as well as connecting them to the bishop. I am always very edified by the response of the priests.

– – –

I�ve noticed some of you have posted comments regarding the recent federal court ruling involving two sets of Lexington parents who filed suit to be allowed to opt their children out of discussion of same-sex themes in the classroom. Massachusetts law states that parents must be notified in advance and have the option of removing their children from the classroom when their children from a classroom when �human sexual education or human sexuality issues� are presented. However, in this case, the judge ruled that the school�s discussion of same-sex marriage concerned diversity rather than human sexuality.

Obviously, the Church sees the parents as being the primary educators of their children and having a very special role that must be respected. The disturbing part of this affair is that it underscores how, by redefining marriage in Massachusetts, people�s religious rights are going to be challenged by the state. I think that people were very na�ve saying that we can change the definition of marriage and it will not have any repercussions and will not affect anyone else�s marriage or society as a whole. This situation with the Parkers and the Wirthlins is just beginning to show how far-reaching and how ill-advised the course of action embraced by our Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts was. In Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2005, they are already seeing the many different ways that people�s religious rights are being trampled because of the redefinition of marriage. So I am pleased to see that these families are attempting to address the situation through the courts, and we certainly hope they will be successful in their endeavors.

– – –

For those of you who visit my blog from afar, we had a beautiful snow fall this week in Boston, one of the few during this unusually warm winter in New England. As my photo of the week, I have chosen this image of snow-covered trees surrounding St. John’s Seminary.

God Bless you all as we prepare ourselves through this Season of Lent to celebrate the passion, death, and glorious resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


32 thoughts on “A hundred-fifty thousand welcomes!”

  1. Cardinal Sean:

    I was disappointed that you used the Parker case to further your campaign against equal civil marriage. The judge’s logic in his ruling applies regardless of the existence of civil marriage (gay couples such as that in King and King, one of the books at issue, exist whether their union is recognized by the state or the church and hence the diversity rationale is independent of such recognition), and parents have been fighting about what state-run schools teach children for the history of public schools in Massachusetts. What a foolish if not downright dishonest claim to cite the Parker’s predicament as an outgrowth of the legalization of gay marriage.

    Moreover, as is clear, a book about a same-sex couple like King and King is no more a book about “sexuality” than is a fairy tale where a straight couple gets married. If you see “sex” in either, you are projecting it.

    It’s time for you to reach out and model a ministry of active love to gay people, not simply tell straight persons not to gay bash them.

    All that said, I appreciate your leadership with respect to the raids in New Bedford and the plight of the families there.

    May God grant you the grace of an open mind.

  2. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    My husband directed me to your site, and have really enjoyed it. Love to see all of your nice pictures, and getting to see what is going on in the East.
    Boston sounds like such an exciting place, with all of those wonderful Catholics.
    God Bless, and keep up the good work.

  3. Where is the Church leadership in this deplorable situation in New Bedford? These people who were rounded up are here for the same reasons that my grandparents came, to find a better life for themselves and their families. Why are we separating mothers from their children? Why are the factory owners still free? Why are we not speaking up??? What would Jesus Do? What should the Church Leadership be doing?

    John McGonagle St. Clement Parish, Medford

  4. Beloved Cardinal,

    I wish to congratulate you for your blog. I want to ley tou know that Diari de Girona (daily newspaper from Girona City, in Catalunya, Spain) will publish this next Saturday, March the 10th, an article talking about it in a very nice manner. Thanks so much and go ahead.



  6. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    I hope all is well with you. Thank you for your blog posts.

    Here is my question: it’s been all over the blogosphere that one of your brother cardinals was online doing a chat this past week and was asked about women’s ordination. He pointed readers to an article which said,

    “The Vatican maintains that the church has no authority to grant women the additional leadership roles of deacon, priest, bishop, or pope.

    “But as Catholics we might do well to reflect on the sometimes irritating ways of the Holy Spirit, who through people like Moses, Susan B. Anthony, and even Sister Chittister, always seems to have plans far and ahead of what most of us can see.” The implication was that the Holy Spirit is guiding the laity who ask for women’s ordination to pressure the Church to grant it. This would mean that the Church does in fact have the authority, contrary to what it claims.

    I was wondering if you could please recommend any books or resources that explain Church teaching on women’s ordination. Maybe you yourself could explain it.

    Thank you.

    In Christ’s Love,


  7. I am so concerned with the jailing of undocumented workers from New Bedford. I hope you will send a priest to offer Mass for them, and to report if they are sleeping on cold cots with only cheese sandwiches to eat. The immigrant community is the most vibrant in my parish of St. Columkille in Brighton. It’s school vacation week at Brandeis why don’t you send Walter.

  8. Dear Cardinal Sean:
    A week and a half ago, I “blogged” you re the allusions to the natural law in the Mass. state constitution, its significance in our current cultural debate(s) and its almost total absence in the Church’s public teaching from the pulpit or other means. How can it be more prominently explained ?
    Faithfully yours in Christ, and in the spirit of the widow before the unjust judge,

    Norman W. Vail

  9. Cardinal Sean,
    I’m glad to see that both you and The Pilot in its 3/2 editorial addressed the plight facing the Parkers and Worthlins of Lexington (and indeed all parents of public school children.) Donations to help the parents can be made at http://www.davidparkerfund.org or sent to David Parker Fund, P.O. Box 2, Bedford, MA 01730.

  10. Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you so much for your blog and thank you for your work on behalf of marriage. I was happily encouraged to see your stated support for the David Parker situation about allowing parents to opt out when human sexual education or human sexuality issues are presented. Thank you so much for stating, Obviously, the Church sees the parents as being the primary educators of their children and having a very special role that must be respected. For the past few years I have been assuming that there has to be no way you know what material is being presented in the Talking About Touching program because there would be no way you would allow for that. Now having read your thoughts on the Lexington situation I am sure there is no way you have seen the extremely graphic and yes even frightening examples and stories that are used in the TAT program.
    I understand the desire to protect children but shouldnt we in the Church take this to a higher level? Shouldnt we be implementing a program where we are demonstrating our belief about the special role of the parents that must be respected? Shouldnt we be working with parents so they can create protective environments for their children? Wouldnt that be a great model for the World? Cant we as the Church come up with something better than an off the shelf secular program that doesnt model the Church teaching on the parents role and finds the need to use fear to get its point across? With amazing gifts like JohnPaul IIs Theology of the Body we can do so much better. Thank you again for all you do and I cant imagine all the concerns that are on your plate and I now know there is no way the examples in Talking About Touching have ever been shared with you because they directly are examples of human sexuality issues being presented to children as young as five and the parents are not in the room or the parents role as primary educators is not be respected.

  11. Os informo que el prximo sbado 10 de marzo en el Diari de Girona saldr una recesin sobre su web. El texto, en cataln, dice as:

    Un cardenal blocaire:
    Fa quinze dies us anuncivem el primer blog dun bisbe del nostre pas, Mons Jaume Traserra. Ara ja em trobat el primer cardenal de la histria que t el seu propi blog. Es tracta del bisbe de Boston , Mons. Sen OMalley . Cada divendres el purpurat hi exposa els seus comentaris i reflexions, tot en angls, acompanyat de fotografies. Hi ha lloc per deixar-hi comentaris. Ladrea s: http://cardinalseansblog.org/
    El cardenal utilitza aquesta plataforma conscient que pot arribar a molta gent que no trepitja el seu temple, en especial com el mateix diu en un lateral del web-, els joves.

  12. Good to hear Cardinal Sean’s viewpoints! We were very lucky to have then Bishop Sean with us in Palm Beach and we have followed his career with great interest. Bishop Sean did much good in Florida and healed many wounds. His real goals are to help the poor and needy. He is a prestigious Cardinal who is beloved by many because he really is a simple, humble, and honest friar. He did not campaign for, or seek the red hat. He wants to help the poor people of Boston and the world. Consider yourself very lucky to have his talent—and do yourself a favor—attend his masses!!

  13. Cardinal Sean,
    Thank you for supporting marriage and bring to light the consequences of changing the definition of marriage. With regards to the David Parker case, if “Massachusetts law states that parents must be notified in advance and have the option of removing their children from the classroom when their children from a classroom when human sexual education or human sexuality issues are presented.”, why are parents in some parishes not being allowed to opt out of the “Talking about Touching” program, which certainly deals with sexuality issues.

    And, if “the Church sees the parents as being the primary educators of their children and having a very special role that must be respected.”, why is the Archdiocese making an objectionable program mandatory for all children, thus usurping parents rights as primary educators of their children. If we want to protect our children from sexual abuse, and support parents as primary educators why not train the parents. You can even make it mandatory if you like.
    There seems to be a contradiction in what you say, and what our Archdiocese is doing.

  14. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I realised that I left part of my answer to your Deacon friend out. The Old Catholic Church as you will know it in the USA takes root from Ghent, where there was (and just about still is) a Church in full communion with Rome (this is not so unusual, there are Orthodox Churches and Anglican Use groups in similar situations). The problem came when Arnold Harris Mathew convinced the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht in the 1850’s to ordain him Bishop, ostensibly to start a church in the UK, in which he claimed (incorrectly) many followers. The Archbishop was, frankly, duped into ordaining and consecrating him. Mathew was not an altogether bad man, he too was duped by friends into ordaining and consecrating them as well, again ostensibly to help his church grow. Over time, one can see a handful of re-schisms which have, truthfully, tried their best to use this line of consecration licitly. The last such was the UK Catholic Apostolic Church in Gordon Square, London, now owned by Forward In Faith, the Anglican group who practise Catholic worship, but within the CofE (and of which I am a member). The Apostolic Church formally closed in the 1980’s. Now, the wandering Mathew line Bishops have multiplied all over the globe, some took further orders from the RC Cardinal Thuc, who went a bit potty, some seek further orders from Abp. Milingo, and there have been many other RC bishops who have, it is claimed, laid hands on people over the years, whether from misplaced allegiance or what we do not know… However, I understand in the USA some of these people have opened more or less successful local churches, in the UK, the situation is that there are, as I said in my previous message, many ‘Bishops’ who sing Mass to their cats in back bedrooms. I would hope to lay down my life for my faith if ever (and I hope it does not) I had to, which I believe most other people in my situation would. If you teach faith, you have to live by it, and being a closet Bishop does not, in my opinion, lead one to great faith and charism, the better to teach the way of Christ.

    Joe, thank you for your comments and prayers. I am afraid that you are wrong, though, no errors on the part of Human beings in the Church led me to take this step, although I have seen a few (in myself as well!). I am going to put myself out on a limb upon which it would be easy to take potshots at me, but I truly believe this is where God is leading me, and my life has been filled with grace ever since I took the step. Like many Anglicans, I feel guided by Our Lady, ark of the one covenent for all believers, and focus of unity (look at Walsingham and the wellsprings of grace there). This step was taken and, when my feelings crystallised, guided by a very faithful RC spiritual director. I do find your comments about my immortal soul worrying, as I can no longer find any teaching which says that only Roman Catholics can be saved. I will be accountable to God all the same. I will be found wanting, as we all will, but if I continue bringing other people to the Love of God, then I will be content that I have fulfilled His plan for me.

    It is to our shame that we cannot stand equal in our eyes in front of the far more important gaze of God, as fellow Christians, spreading the Good News. I am actively working for the Kingdom, as we all are. We should find a shared mission, as ‘deep night is coming down on this rough spoken world, and the banners of darkness are being boldly unfurled’, which I believe we will find, if we can jointly fall on the patronage of Mary, mother of God and Mother of the Church.

    May God bless you, pray for me as I will pray for you, but pray more for an end to abortion and the spread of the Word of God.


  15. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for what is happening in the communication field in the Archdiocese of Boston.

    I have encouraged my family to check out your “blog”; and to tune in to both Catholic TV, and now your “cardinalcast” over the internet.

    To me, it is all a total miracle!!

    May God continue to bless you!! In Jesus name I pray.


    With the love of Christ,

    Mrs. Kathleen Tobin

  16. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Ive been reading your blog for some time. I only decided to chime in when I read comments about the Old Catholics. Actually Old Catholics are only part of a larger group of independent Catholics. As a bishop in the American Catholic Church, U.S.A. we are descendents of the National Catholic Church of Brazil.

    I was Anglican but left because of the ordination of women. I agree with Andrew that some independent Catholic bishops are interested in the role of bishop not the pastoral responsibility that is mandated with episcopal ordination. Andrew failed to mention that many are not adequately trained in theology and pastoral praxis. Regarding Deacon Len Dexters question, independent Catholics have no relationship with the Church of Rome.

    At the risk of stirring the ire of some of my brother independent bishops, I should end here. I should add that all of us, trying to spread the gospel, have things in our churches, which need improvement. However, I would also like to say I read your blog because you are a bishop of the people. I greatly admire that and feel that leaders in all Christian Communities need to get closer to the people. My bishops motto is: To heal the broken hearted. ( Luke 19). In my ministry Ive seen the broken hearted and have even been broken hearted myself.

    Thanks much for your blog. It very much touches me and speaks to me how you are very much a role model for bishops of all branches of the Christian Church.

    +Joe Beisel, O.S.F., M.Ed., M.Div.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing the recent Rite of Election you experienced. I am currently going through the RCIA process and will join the Church at Easter. It was enlightening to read your homily and remember the words of our own local bishop!

  18. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    The news from the Catholic Appeal is promising. I’m pleased that people continue to support the Church after all we’ve been through. I pray that it’s a sign that their faith in Christ remains strong in a world groaning under the burden of sin. Your example continues to inspire us.


  19. Your Eminence

    Another wonderful article. Thank you so much from the UK.

    If I make a comment to Andrew – I will pray for you as I am sure will others – in great charity. I pray that God will give you the wisdom to recognise that straying from the one true faith in the Catholic Church, to the Anglican Ecclesial Communion is a serious mistake and, for your eternal salvation, you must return to the Church.

    I may be wrong, but I suspect that errors on the part of human beings within the Church may well have caused you to take this step. Such errors must be put right by those that might have made them. But they should not impede anyone in remaining true to the Faith.

    Christ only founded one Church and that Church subsists in the Catholic Church – as I am sure your brother, in the SSPX (from a rather different perspective) will also tell you.

    Please, Andrew, come back to the Church.

  20. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    I always find your blog interesting. It’s very brave of you to do this, I once had a weblog and one can generate an awful lot of hysterical opinion one way or the other, that, indeed, is the reason I stopped blogging, what started out as a sounding board for my Theology PhD became a whine-board for the disaffected of the WWW community.

    If I can raise two points, firstly to your Deacon friend, the Old Catholic Church is interesting from an academic perspective, but nothing more. I am currently writing a paper on the resurgence of Wandering Bishops in my home of England, which happened after my church, the Church of England (wrongly in my view), began ordaining women to the priesthood and concurrently as the Roman Church in England became so homophobic (much to the embarrassment of a few faithful, celibate homosexual Roman Priests of my acquaintance) that people either left in shame or left to start even more extreme groups. These two stances have urged a number of men (and women!)to form their own ‘churches’ claiming orders from the Old Catholic Church, campaigning for or against the freedom of Theological enquiry. Mostly, though, they are concerned with the minutae of Rubrics and producing websites where you will see plenty of Bishops in suspiciously high mitres but no faithful. Christ commanded us (myself included, as an ex Roman Catholic now training as an Anglican Priest) to feed His lambs and tend His sheep, this, to me, means leading people to God with open minds and hearts on fire to the liberation from the material and the cancer of sin to live in Him, as He lives in us. This is not, in my experience, best practised by sitting in a back bedroom or converted garage wearing a cassock and pectoral cross writing new codes of Canon Law that suit you. There is a tangible sense of the Divine in any expression of true faith, which I have never found in my researches into these groups. However, the SSPX (of which my brother is a member, what did we say about good Catholic families!), seems to have flourished, and it makes an interesting academic model to measure these new groups against, by looking at issues such as discipline and order, teaching and commitment – and importantly, a well publicised mandate. The success of this group will maybe be seen in the near future, BUT, watch for the classic new group problem (already encountered by them but dealt with well) of re-schism.

    My second point, Dear Cardinal Sean, is that I am detecting very little hint of Ecumenism on these pages, It’s a bit of a drum to bang of mine, having been a Roman Catholic ordinand and having followed Gods will for me (which, sometimes I frankly wish had been different) to be a celibate priest, obedient to the word of God as the Church and individuals recieve it. I’m not suggesting you kiss Ms Schori (or Abp. Akinola!), but I have always been of the opinion that things were fairly ‘advanced’ in that direction over the pond.

    Ad multos annos!


  21. Dear Cardinal Sean,
    Thanks for the picture of snow-covered St. John’s Seminary. I can remember the days when we played baseball at that same site when the weather was better! All my best!

  22. Yes, we are truly blessed to have Cardinal Sean. He is truly humble and a great leader.

    May God continue to bless you and keep you strong and healthy so you can keep up the great work you do in our archdiocese. Peace and God bless!

  23. Dear Cardinal Sean’…
    ……………………………I enjoyed your blog…and who…exactly…gets to determine the ‘sex’ of the individuals who are preparing for marriage?…
    ……………………………Seriously, though…we ought to be more mindful of the gifts and joys that each and every person can bring to our family…and then let God work on the rest…
    …………………………..God Bless! ……………Laura Larsen…

  24. Cardinal Sean: Thank you so much for sharing your blog with
    all of us. I live in the Kansas City, MO area and I’m spreading the
    news about this wonderful communication device that you and
    your staff have developed. Your writings and your pictures are
    so very informative. Most folk’s have not a clue as to what a day in the life of an Archbishop/Cardinal is like. Thank you for
    taking us behind the curtain (so to speak).. As a result, I’ve come to realize that you and your brother Bishops have the
    oppurtunity to do more good in one day than I’ll do in a life

    The Catholics in Boston are truely blessed to have you as the
    spiritual leader. May Gosd bless you in your continuing efforts.

    Jim Gardner

  25. Cardinal Sen –

    Thank you for your comments on marriage. I was one of those who wondered why the Church would oppose the gay marriage as a civil issue. I have come to understand that it affects us all.

    I am proud to have you with us in Boston.

  26. Dear Cardinal Sean, best wishes to you and yours during Lent. Thank you again for the work that you and your staff put into this wonderful blog. I enjoyed your homilies very much, and enjoy when you ‘include your readers in on your meetings’ by giving us a flavor of the discussion and questions and answers. And of course the pictures of you, the people, and the scenes are beautiful.

    I loved your homily and Peter is a great, great man, a fact I think for some it is easy to take for granted or forget, until one looks at his dialogue with the Lord as you have so nicely done. I know that people find comfort in the human weakness he once showed, but this underscores all the more his total greatness as he never stopped preaching in the face of danger and the threatened demise of our church. During Lent, especially in these difficult times for our faith, I think people would be inspired to recall his words when the Apostles were arrested:

    “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him on a tree. Him God exalted with his right hand to be Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to all who obey him.” But they, when they heard this, were cut to the heart and wanted to slay them. Acts 5:29-33

    A blessed and fruitful Lent to yours and yours.
    Yours in Christ.

  27. Dear Cardinal Sean,

    Thanks so much for making this available to the general public. It is very interesting to read and see the many places in Rome that you attended. As well as reading your thoughts and teaching of the Catholic faith. You probably don’t remember me but we had a conversation a few years back when you were Bishop of the Falll River Diocese. You were interviewing the Pastor and Deacons of the different parishes and I had a chance to talk to you about my own ministries. Of course we also had a meeting in my pre-ordination formation as did all those aspiring to the diaconate at that time. I was part of the Class of 97 where we had the ordination at St. Anthony of Padua in New Bedford. You ordained me to the diaconate, which has been a blessing in more ways than one would imagine.
    I do have a question for you regarding the Church and it’s history. What are you views and feelings on the “Old Catholic Church?” I have just discovered this organization and have been just a little curious about it’s connection to the Roman Catholic Church. I have read some of the history but would like to have someone elses idea on the subject. I you have a moment could you comment?? I will look for it on your blog page or my own email. Thank you so much for your time, for all the you do and my sincerest congratulations on being elevated to Cardinal. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer priest nor a more humble servant of the Father. May God bless you and keep you always in His care. The Will of God Will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

    Love & Prayers
    Deacon Len Dexter

  28. Thanks for your post this week, Cardinal Sean.

    Thanks especially for your wise and temperate remarks about the definition of marriage (this week and in the past). I hope this challenge will be an occasion for the Church to remain faithful but also to reach out to all people.

  29. As a former catechumen myself, I always love this time of year, when I remember the graces of my own conversion through the example of many candidates and catechumens. Thanks for sharing the homily too.

    I’m also edified by the idea of the young priests meetings. As a newly clerical religious myself, I realize what a critical transition this is in ways that I didn’t anticipate.


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March 2007