Schools convene for videoconference with Archbishop

On Monday, Jan. 28, seven McNicholas seniors took part in the annual Catholic School’s Week videoconference.  Students from more than a dozen Archdiocese of Cincinnati high schools joined together via videoconference with prepared questions for Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.  Susan Gibbons flanked Schnurr in the livestream at Elder High School.  The Archbishop began the conference with a prayer followed by Gibbons facilitating the questioning beginning with the host school.

Elder’s student representatives opened by asking what changes, if any, were in the works to make the Mass more accommodating to young people’s diminishing attention spans.  They referenced complaints of some students who say the Mass is “repetitive and boring.”  In his response to this sentiment, Schnurr said, “We live in an entertain-me culture… Mass is for prayer, not entertainment.”

The third question, posed by a LaSalle student, asked for the Archbishop’s thoughts on the recent Covington Catholic situation which was subject to days of controversial national coverage and analysis.  Schnurr said, “Social media has created an environment where people are guilty until proven innocent… It’s unfortunate when people jump to these conclusions.”

Later, students from Mercy McAuley posed the question: “What does the term ‘pro-life’ encompass?”  As the Archbishop said in response, “The right to life encompasses more than the March for Life.”  He talked about how there must be great respect for all life including the elderly and those with all types of disabilities.

A Roger Bacon representative asked for Schnurr to comment on the recent attack on the dignity of human life with New York’s new abortion law.  The Archbishop gave his bluntest answer of the entire conference when he solemnly said, “I think it is barbaric… I don’t see what else can be said… to extend abortion to the day of delivery… it is barbaric.”

Schnurr was later asked about how we as students can effectively engage with pro-choice friends and family.  “It is people your age who are more pro-life than people my age… The March for Life is primarily young people and it grows every year.  You have the right idea and know what is right.  You’ve got the message right.  Now, simply stand firm and witness to the dignity of life,” the Archbishop replied.

The Archbishop also talked about how scientific advances have done nothing but further support the truth of pro-life messages.  Of the pro-choice media and increasingly secular culture, Schnurr simply said, “They are not convincing the young people.”

The topic of immigration was visited when Mount Notre Dame brought up how highly politicized the issue had become.  Schnurr engaged in this discussion and said, “There is a difference between immigrant and refugee… Each party has their own motivation for not entering into a reasonable discussion into how immigration can be reformed.”

Staying on the hot button topic, a St. Xavier student asked if Schnurr supported the building of a wall on the United States’ southern border.  He said, “That’s a question that those in Washington are supposed to work to answer.”  Schnurr continued and talked about how we must recognize the needs of refugees and acknowledge that every nation has the right to secure borders whether that’s through walls or other technology.

A Seton High School student asked, “What is the most important factor in discerning God’s will in our lives?”  Schnurr said, “God has created us for some definite purpose… gives us all the talents and gifts we need to pursue that purpose… involves prayer and listening to other people… sometimes God speaks through other individuals.”

Matt Pryor and Anthony Brandt were the spokespersons for the McNicholas delegation of seniors which also included Georgia Cheek, Shea Dugan, Vinny Ramundo, Olivia Tore, and Lillie Zimmerman. For his question, Brandt asked Schnurr to elaborate on what is meant by “The Sacrifice of the Mass.” Following the conference, Brandt said he appreciated Schnurr’s response because “he quoted [the Council of] Trent.”

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