Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bishop Vasa in the NCRegister

The National Catholic Register has an article (dated June 15) about Bishop Robert F. Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa (formerly of the Diocese of Baker, of course). I notice that they neglected to ask him if he reads “Philothea on Phire”! Oh well!

Here are some excerpts:

...In a recent interview, [Bishop Vasa] discussed current issues as well as his own spiritual life.

What is the difference between conscience and opinion?

There is a huge difference. Conscience is a judgment: What does the Church teach? An individual looks at a particular action: Is it consistent with the body of teaching? An opinion is how I think or feel, regardless of teaching.

How should Catholics act politically?

Politics deal with people’s relations with each other. Love your neighbor as yourself is the ethics of politics. Catholics have a right to intervene when rights are violated. “Thou shalt not steal” is a commandment; it’s a law. The law does enforce morality. If society or government determined theft was no longer wrong, there would be chaos. We believe killing is wrong.  Those who are innocent should never be killed. A baby in the womb is a person; the human entity exists prior to birth. There is a right, a true and a good.

How should Catholics reach out in a relativistic society?

All we can do is teach the truths of the faith consistently and charitably. Everything we say ought to be orthodox. There should be right teaching and right practice. The faithful lay Catholics need to make contact with them (non-Catholics/non-Christians). They need to find those opportunities. It’s a moment of encounter. In times of crisis, people will stop to say, “What’s really important?” They’re used to living moment to moment. The primary role of lay Catholics is to reach out to other Christians.

You recently spoke at the Napa Valley Men’s Conference. What did you discuss? What is men’s spirituality, and why do you focus on evangelizing them?

The spirituality of men is different from women. This conference gave men a chance to claim their own identity. Men are 50% of the population. There is a significant emphasis on women’s spirituality. We tend to focus a lot on Mary and not so much on Joseph. There were 300 to 400 men at the conference. My talk was “The Husband as Priest in the Domestic Church.” I gave a talk on fatherhood. The family is a domestic Church, according to the documents of the Second Vatican Council. There are prayers, rituals, a liturgy of meals. I talked about the importance of men stepping up and showing leadership, as well as the beauty and dignity of worship. I told men that the family is a parish entrusted to them.

What devotions are important to you?

I say Mass every day and have an hour in chapel. I keep God at the center of my life. I read Catholic magazines and books. I deepen knowledge of the Lord and his way. I try to say the Rosary each day. Prayerful devotion is a source of tremendous spiritual power. Devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the summit, the high point in life.

How would you describe your spiritual life?

I recognize Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. It’s not excessively familiar. I deepen my knowledge of the Lord and his way. Czech tradition is a father-oriented society, so the primary relationship is with the Father. Mary is there as a constant source of encouragement. It is about living every day with the Eucharist. I want to lead in a quiet, strong way like St. Joseph.

What do you consider success as a bishop?

What really matters is the salvation of others. Helping others to lead holier lives is a single-minded goal. There is the heresy of numbers. The genuine measure is people faithful to the Gospel. The strength of the Church is the number of religious vocations; it’s a telling measure. It’s more about the salvation of souls than jumping through hoops. My apostolate is showing up. People want to know that they matter and you listen to them. It’s about living every day with the Eucharist.

Read the rest here.

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