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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Bishop Gainer on Pope Francis visit

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Sep 22, 2015 4:16 PM
BishopGainer2.jpg

Bishop Ronald Gainer

What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, September 23, 2015:

Pope Francis' visit to the United States over the next few days -- including this weekend in Philadelphia -- has excited millions of Catholics and non-Catholics alike for several reasons.

First of all it's historic.  Francis is only the fourth Pope to come to the U.S.  As a result, many see it as an once-in-a-lifetime event.

Francis is seen as a different kind of Pope.  He is very popular around the world and here in the United States.  The Pope often walks into crowds of people when he travels.

Pope Francis is sure to get a reaction from both political conservatives and liberals in the U.S.  He has warned of climate change caused by man, criticized capitalism, and opened the door for divorced Catholics to take Communion.  At the same time, Francis has upheld opposition to abortion and the death penalty, same-sex marriage, and women becoming priests.  However, on the abortion issue, the Pope gave priests around the world permission to absolve women who have had abortions during the "Year of Mercy" that starts in December and has counseled a transgender couple.

The Most Reverend Ronald Gainer, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, is already in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families 2015.  Bishop Gainer appears on Wednesday's Smart Talk to discuss the Pope's visit and his influence on the Church.

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  • Bob Nunn img 2015-09-23 07:50

    Maybe the Bishop could clarify why the Vatican voiced objection to a gay bishop and transgender man being invited to the White House Ceremony, but apparently didn't have an issue with the Pope making a special trip to see Fidel Castro. Are they saying that a man with human rights violations is less offensive than a gay bishop?

  • Life Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness img 2015-09-23 08:32

    The founders of the United States of America (as well as the first members of We the People) fully understood Pope Francis I’s description of the hardships caused by unfettered capitalism and markets without any limits. America’s founders rejected the notion that the few who possessed extraordinary amounts of money should rule. Rather, they entered into an agreement among all Americans that money should serve We the People. In other words, all Americans have already agreed with Pope Francis: “Money must serve, not rule!” The Agreement among We the People already mandates that wealth must serve to fulfill the human rights of all Americans and that the few who have extraordinary wealth shall not rule the many. The Declaration of Independence evidences all Americans’ agreement to Human Rights Capitalism. See https://goo.gl/AgAc2a

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-09-23 09:43

    Matt from Hanover writes:

    Your guest is devious to imply that the pope MISSPOKE after being tired at the end of a long day in saying "who am I to judge?" about people who are gay. The pope did NOT misspeak; this statement is one of many he's made that point to his clear ecclesiastical (church order) position that he is the bishop of Rome, first among EQUALS, and that the 19th century doctrine of papal infallibility is wrong. This drives conservative Catholics crazy; they want the pope to view himself as the supreme authority on all church questions, as their beloved JPII and Benedict did, and to leave that as a legacy power in the office. Francis is very clearly and specifically trying to get rid of it. "Who am I to judge?" is Francis saying, "I am JUST a human being," and rejecting the "direct infallible mouthpiece of God" view.

  • Lisa img 2015-09-23 09:46

    Two issues and the resultant culture wars have lead to young people not having interest in the church (not just Roman Catholic, but church in general): abortion and gay marriage. Younger people are turned off by the judgement and condemnation. Until the church begins to focus on issues that truly mean something such as economic justice for the poor, the church will continue this decline until it is no more.

    • John img 2015-09-24 20:32

      Bishop Gainer's response to Lisa is that the Church has no choice since it is following truths that cannot be changed. He said that is because they are based on two things; revealed doctrine and natural law.
      There is no doubt the Church cannot reject revealed doctrine, which is its very foundation. But natural law is something else entirely. It is a philosophical construct developed in western society beginning with pre-Christian Greek philosophy. Most of us in the West and especially in the Church are so imbued with that way of understanding that it is very difficult to realize that it is not the only possible way to understand behaviors.
      Lisa and her peers see the contradiction, even hypocrisy, of such moral rigidity in the face of the much stronger mandate of love and mercy. Perhaps Bishop Gainer should consider the possibility she conveys a message from the Holy Spirit, still active especially in the poor and lowly, calling for a recognition that philosophical pride is interfering with the Church's moral judgements.

    • John img 2015-09-24 20:37

      John
      John img 2015-09-24 20:32

      Bishop Gainer's response to Lisa is that the Church has no choice since it is following truths that cannot be changed. He said that is because they are based on two things; revealed doctrine and natural law.
      There is no doubt the Church cannot reject revealed doctrine, which is its very foundation. But natural law is something else entirely. It is a philosophical construct developed in western society beginning with pre-Christian Greek philosophy. Most of us in the West and especially in the Church are so imbued with that way of understanding that it is very difficult to realize that it is not the only possible way to understand behaviors.
      Lisa and her peers see the contradiction, even hypocrisy, of such moral rigidity in the face of the much stronger mandate of love and mercy. Perhaps Bishop Gainer should consider the possibility she conveys a message from the Holy Spirit, still active especially in the poor and lowly, calling for a recognition that philosophical pride is interfering with the Church's moral judgements.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-09-23 09:55

    Deb writes:

    Thanks for having the Bishop on your program today. I appreciated his perspective. I am not a Catholic but I am a "practicing Christian" which is a whole conversation in itself. As your guest spoke to~if you aren't practicing, maybe you aren't really a Christian or Catholic...it's not just a name. But is HAS become just a name in our country with all of it's affluence over this past century, we have forgotton that it was God who created us and knows what's best for us so it doesn't take surveys to see that our families are a mess, our prisons are full, programs aren't working.

    You have had many guests on your program who have spoken to those issues. The Bible is God's Word to us and tells us how we should live and is very available to us at this point, but we continue to debate and reject it. We have sinful hearts and we need a Savior. We need to be looking to God, not to other human beings, including the Pope and ourselves, for our Help.

  • CatsinBoots img 2015-09-24 20:31

    Did that man actually say people who have families, people who have full time jobs, people he acknowledges endure a great deal of daily stress, are too 'selfish” to church? Really? Talking out of both sides, he judges the spirituality of harried families from his episcopal heights. As if selfishness is defined by attendance at a church! What a shallow conception of spiritulity.

    And did he actually state a man who remarries without an annullment has “chosen” a wife over the Sacrament? As if a woman and God were in competition? What is wrong with these men! Clueless doesn't begin to describe it. And how, exactly, does such a couple “participate” in church life when they are excluded from what cathoics consider the most sacred form of participation?

    With assumptions such as these, one has to wonder if the hierarchy's concerns about church attendance h isn't more for the benefit of the collection plate than the spiritual care of the persons attending.

    Perhaps people stay away because it is better for their spiritual health to spend quiet time with their families and their God, rather than deal with the kind of “community” one finds in a church where bishops say such things.

  • CatsinBoots img 2015-09-24 20:34

    Did that man actually say people who have families, people who have full time jobs, people he acknowledges endure a great deal of daily stress, are too 'selfish” to church? Really? Talking out of both sides, he judges the spirituality of harried families from his episcopal heights. As if selfishness is defined by attendance at a church! What a shallow conception of spiritulity.

    And did he actually state a man who remarries without an annullment has “chosen” a wife over the Sacrament? As if a woman and God were in competition? What is wrong with these men! Clueless doesn't begin to describe it. And how, exactly, does such a couple “participate” in church life when they are excluded from what cathoics consider the most sacred form of participation?

    With assumptions such as these, one has to wonder if the hierarchy's concerns about church attendance h isn't more for the benefit of the collection plate than the spiritual care of the persons attending.

    Perhaps people stay away because it is better for their spiritual health to spend quiet time with their families and their God, rather than deal with the kind of “community” one finds in a church where bishops say such things.

  • John img 2015-09-24 20:35

    John
    John img 2015-09-24 20:32

    Bishop Gainer's response to Lisa is that the Church has no choice since it is following truths that cannot be changed. He said that is because they are based on two things; revealed doctrine and natural law.
    There is no doubt the Church cannot reject revealed doctrine, which is its very foundation. But natural law is something else entirely. It is a philosophical construct developed in western society beginning with pre-Christian Greek philosophy. Most of us in the West and especially in the Church are so imbued with that way of understanding that it is very difficult to realize that it is not the only possible way to understand behaviors.
    Lisa and her peers see the contradiction, even hypocrisy, of such moral rigidity in the face of the much stronger mandate of love and mercy. Perhaps Bishop Gainer should consider the possibility she conveys a message from the Holy Spirit, still active especially in the poor and lowly, calling for a recognition that philosophical pride is interfering with the Church's moral judgements.