ROME, JUNE 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Catholics aren’t surprised that Benedict XVI’s day starts bright and early with Mass or that he’s authored dozens of books, but a wider public heard about the Pope’s life when the “Today” show featured him today.
Host Matt Lauer, escorted by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, visited the Holy Father after a traditional Wednesday audience.
Lauer was introduced by the archbishop and, mindful of the Pope’s well known love for felines, presented him with a crystal cat. The host asked the Bishop of Rome for a message for Americans and the Holy Father responded: “Confidence in God and continue in the faith of Christ.”
The Vatican also gave the Today show footage of Benedict XVI’s daily life — with images of his morning Mass, his meals complete with vegetables from the Vatican’s gardens, and an end-of-the-day viewing of Italy’s evening news.
Lauer and Archbishop Dolan also stood on the steps of St. Peter’s to talk about the situation of the Church today.
The TV show host asked about statistics on people leaving the Church, the sexual abuse scandal, and restoring trust.
The prelate suggested there might be a need for “marketing” to discover what leads people to leave the faith. He also reiterated that the Church must continue to learn from the lessons of the abuse scandal.
“This [scandal] is the kind of thing,” he said, “that was so horrible, so tragic, so nauseating that we gotta keep remembering it so that the steps toward purification and renewal that are going on within the life of the Catholic Church continue.”
The prelate also responded to Lauer’s summary of the recently released John Jay study, confirming that celibacy was not found to be a contributing factor to priests who turned sexual abusers.
“[The study] showed some contributing factors,” the archbishop said. “What caused [the abuse] they can’t give a real crisp answer to. I think we can. I think sin causes it. … What causes it? I think we gotta delve into that study, glean some reasons and work to see that those causes are eradicated.”
<p>”I was grateful to see that the John Jay study showed that celibacy is not a contributing factor to the abuse of minors,” he added. “Thanks be to God that’s been said. But hopefully we can put that to rest.”
Lauer told Archbishop Dolan that he has “enormous charisma” and “a great personality” and asked him how he goes about convincing Catholics that the Church “serves their needs.”
Archbishop Dolan responded by speaking about how the Church is peopled by sinners. “One of the things we gotta be is honest. You just had a great piece on Benedict XVI. Every morning the most important thing we do is Mass. And every Mass starts with ‘through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.’ We are sinners. We have made mistakes. We got flaws, we got faults, and darn it, to say that very honestly, to just say that very humbly.
“And say, ‘Come on in. You’re in a family of imperfect people. We’re all trying for virtue, we’re all trying for sanctity. We’re all trying to be saints. It’s good to do it together. Let’s be realistic about the flaws and the difficulties that we got, but let’s say with the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and together as a spiritual family with common values that we cherish, we can make some progress here.'”
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On the Net:
Lauer meets the Pope: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/#43249096
Behind the scenes in the life of Benedict XVI: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/#43249590
Interview with Archbishop Dolan: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/#43249615