The Passing of a Cardinal

On Friday morning, April 17, Francis Cardinal George, o.m.i., went to his eternal reward. Much will be said about his life in the days ahead, as the Church in Chicago provides the rich services that surround death, and the hope of eternal life. With the death of such a prominent figure of Church life in America, many will write about what they remember and recall. News stories will discuss his successes and failures as a leader. There will be statements made by Church leaders, political leaders and others.

But the passing of any person usually leads to the telling of stories, and I would like to take this occasion to tell of my experiences with Cardinal George, as limited as they were.I will leave the details somewhat vague, since they are really not very important. Suffice to say that I found myself, during my time as president of Fenwick High School in a situation that required a conversation with Cardinal George.

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Homily for Friday, October 31, 2014

Readings for Today

In hearing the gospel today I got to thinking about the recent Synod on the family. I always seek to avoid the extremes that such events in the Church might bring. Much was made of cardinals and bishops arguing with one another. It can be easy to get caught up on a context that these arguments are really no different than the political arguments we are subjected to, especially during these days just before the election.

The biggest reason I avoid the coverage, or at least take it with a large grain of salt is that the media often does not have the understanding to present an event such as a Synod. The only way they know to present such an issue is in the political model they so often discuss.

What that means is that in practice is that events like the Synod are covered like political conventions, with “conservatives” and “liberals”. A political convention has “winners” and “losers”.

But in the Church, such discussions are really about seeking what is right, good and true. It means seeking that expression to today’s modern day problems that is about applying what Jesus tells us to say, to present the gospel in a way it can be heard today.

I might be too simplistic, but it seems to me that what we saw during the Synod was not a lot of fundamental division (though others might argue differently) but rather the challenge of understanding the relationship between justice and mercy.

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