The Cardinal’s Column
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
April 27, 2008
Truth and enthusiasm: Pope Benedict’s visit
Cardinal George's Schedule
- April 27: 3 p.m., Charismatic Convention, UIC Pavilion; 9:30 p.m., Sunday Mass, De Paul University, Lincoln Park Campus
- April 29: 1 p.m., Administrative Council Meeting, Pastoral Center
- May 1: 11 a.m., United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance Ceremony, U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.; 6 p.m., Bishop Timothy J. Lyne’s Anniversary Dinner, Westin River North
- May 2: 11:30 a.m., 25th Anniversary Mass with priests celebrating silver jubilee of ordination, Mundelein; 5:30 p.m., James E. Quigley Society Reception, Residence
- May 3: 9 a.m., Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Executive Committee, Holy Name Cathedral Parish Center; 3 p.m., University Convocation, Mundelein
- May 4: noon, 170th Anniversary Mass, St. Patrick Parish, Lemont; 4 p.m., Blessing of Grotto, Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Lemont
- May 5: 10 a.m., Episcopal Council Meeting, Residence
- May 6: 9:30 a.m., Presbyteral Council Meeting, De Paul University (O’Hare Campus); 6 p.m., Catechetical Ministries Awards Banquet, Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace
- May 8: 2 p.m., Board of Advisors Meeting, Mundelein
- May 9: noon, Catholic University Presidents Meeting, University of St. Francis, Joliet
- May 10: 9 a.m., Archdiocesan Women’s Committee Meeting, Pastoral Center; 3 p.m., Feast Day Mass, Our Lady of the Cenacle (Fullerton Parkway) Chicago
March 20 , 2008
His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George announces the following appointments:
Rev. Ho Chan (Simeon) Cha, from the Diocese of Incheon, South Korea, to be director of St. Paul Chong Ha Sang Catholic Mission, Des Plaines, effective immediately.
The visit of our Holy Father to the United States and to the United Nations Headquarters last week was planned many months in advance, and it kept to schedule. What wasn’t planned was the reaction of so many to his presence and his words. Enthusiasm built from his meeting at the White House on the first full day of the visit to his encounter with young people and seminarians in New York on the day before he returned to Rome.
Popular enthusiasm and papal response
The enthusiasm of the people, who lined the streets each time his car moved from one event to the next, was matched by the happiness of the pope. He is, as everyone should know by now, a rather shy man. People could see that side of him, along with his kindness, and they reacted to his authenticity. With the people’s reaction, he seemed to relax and respond with a vigor that surprised even many who know him well. It was wonderful to see him relate to the young people he had explicitly asked to address. It was wonderful as well to see how he appreciated the love and enthusiasm that surrounded the celebration here of his birthday (April 16) and of his election as Bishop of Rome (April 19).
Two of the most poignant moments for me were his meeting with children who are disabled and his prayer for all those who died at Ground Zero and for their families. The meeting with six men and women who had been abused by priests some years ago was also part of his pastoral concern for all those whose lives have been affected by tragedy.
The pope is a masterful teacher, so his gestures surrounded a series of addresses and homilies, each very carefully prepared. These talks will be studied more thoroughly in the months to come, but my hearing them, one after the other throughout the week, helped me to see how, on each occasion, he returns to our search for truth. This is a theme he reiterates constantly, and he did so again during this apostolic journey to our country.
Truth and prayer
In his address to the bishops, he echoed our own analysis of the pastoral challenges to the mission of the church here and insisted that the church must above all teach people to pray. How can we know the truth about God if we are never united to him in prayer?
Before coming here, the pope had written to us: “I shall come to the United States of America as pope for the first time, to proclaim this great truth: Jesus Christ is hope for men and women of every language, race, culture and social condition.” He did that by relating the search for truth to a full range of concerns that mark our lives today.
Truth and unity
During his homily in Nationals Stadium in Washington, he drew a connection between truth and unity. We cannot act together as Catholics, face the future together as Christ’s people, unless we are united in the truths of our faith.
Truth and freedom
The Holy Father pointed to the relationship between truth and freedom first of all in his address at the White House, where he said that history shows, time and time again, that freedom loses its foundation without truth. Political leaders must be guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nations they govern. To educators, he pointed out the communal nature of truth, which moves the seeker from his or her own individualism into the objective order of things, discovered in research and study. The truths of God’s revelation, the pope said, must permeate every aspect of life in a Catholic university or school system.
Truth and peace
To our dialogue partners of different faiths, Pope Benedict showed the relationship between truth and peace, our common goal. If there is to be peace, not only what we already share in common but also our differences must enter into our conversations. To Christian leaders of other churches and faith communities, the pope spoke of the truths of the Gospel as the context of our dialogues.
Truth and life
To the young people in Yonkers, he spoke about how life is fulfilled in surrender to truth, because truth is a person: Jesus Christ. This note was sounded again when he spoke to almost 60,000 people during the Mass at Yankee Stadium.
At the United Nations Headquarters, Pope Benedict explained that each member of the human family is possessed of human rights. These are more basic than civil rights and must be protected by government. He taught that national sovereignty is therefore less important than the protection of human rights. Should a country’s government infringe the human rights of the country’s citizens, the international community should find ways to intervene nonviolently in order to protect people oppressed by their own government. This thesis will, I am sure, be discussed at some length in the months to come.
Finally, the truth sets us free because it shows us the source of our hope. “Christ Our Hope” was the general theme of the week that the Holy Father spent with us. The young men and women in New York completed the theme when they greeted him loudly: “Christ our Hope, Benedict our Pope.” For many Catholics in this country, it seems that Benedict XVI became their pope in a new and more convincing way during his visit.
He leaves us more confident in our faith and more grateful for our church. We will keep him in our prayers with more personal satisfaction in the years to come.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago