Boston cardinal emphasizes need for Catholics in politics, media

Cardinal Sen OMalley at the Ecclesia in America Conference Dec 12 2012 Credit Alan Holdren CNA CNA500x320 Vatican Catholic News 12 12 12 Cardinal Seán O'Malley at the Ecclesia in America Conference on Dec. 12, 2012. | Alan Holdren/CNA.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston says the Church needs more and better prepared Catholic politicians and journalists who can bring the faith into the public square.

"We need to be much more proactive to prepare our laity and help them understand what a crucial role they have in public life and in the media where they're forming public opinion and educating people through different means that have a great impact in society," Cardinal O'Malley told CNA on Dec. 13.

He added, "if we're going to evangelize the culture, we need to have evangelizers in those areas."

During the last day of the Dec. 9-12 "Ecclesia in America" congress at the Vatican, Cardinal O'Malley said he believes things are "only going to get worse because Catholics themselves don't worry about defending the unborn or teaching the true meaning of life."

"There are just not enough legislators who favor life," he said.

The cardinal stated that the Church needs to do a better job of catechizing young people and help them see work in these fields as vocations, as a mission to embrace.

He also appealed for more spiritual retreats, seminars and continuous formation to better involve media and politicians in community life.

The cardinal mentioned the late Colombian Cardinal López Trujillo as an example to follow, since he brought pro-life politicians from the Americas together when he was in charge of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

"It was an opportunity for them to have ongoing formation in social teachings of the Church and to feel each other's support in their faith and vocation," Cardinal O'Malley recalled.

The communal dimension of formation is something that Cardinal O'Malley also highlighted, saying, "we need to give our young people more enthusiasm because the Church's vision is much more communitarian than our individualistic secular society."

In the media realm, Cardinal O'Malley said that Catholic media can also be a bridge to open relations with people in the secular media because "they speak the same language."

He also offered his reflections on how the recent conference was able to apply the vision of the Synod for the Americas, which met in 1997.

"I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm and the wonderful spirit of fraternity there," Cardinal O'Malley remarked.

"We're all trying to evangelize the continent together so we need to be in partnership, particularly with the fluid population we have with immigration," he added.

"We also have a lot to offer to other countries in terms of the screening and the lessons learnt," he said in reference to the numerous sex abuse cases he has dealt with in three of the four dioceses he has served in.

"Obviously you need to do everything possible to prevent this from happening, but you also need to know how to respond correctly otherwise many people could be hurt," he said.

The cardinal also called on bishops to use World Youth Day as an opportunity to meet again to discuss common problems.

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"Sometimes bishops tend to go with their language groups and become isolated, although we share in the celebration and liturgies, so I think we can be more proactive, and music and celebration can overcome this barrier," he said.

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