Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Who is the Church?

Cardinal George's Schedule

  1. Aug. 5: 3 p.m., Mass, Theology-On-Tap, Holy Name Cathedral; 4:30 p.m., Theology- On-Tap Picnic, Residence
  2. Aug. 6-8: Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus 125th Annual Convention, Nashville, Tenn.
  3. Aug. 9: noon, Episcopal Council Meeting, St. Joseph Seminary; 4 p.m., 10th Annual Curé d’Ars Awards, St. Joseph Seminary
  4. Aug. 11: 5 p.m., Mass of the Assumption, St. Henry, Chicago
  5. Aug. 12: noon, bilingual Mass, Immaculate Conception, Waukegan
  6. Aug. 13: 6 p.m., photographs with Augustus Tolton Award honorees, Pastoral Center
  7. Aug. 14: 1 p.m., Administrative Council Meeting, Pastoral Center
  8. Aug. 15: 6 p.m., Mass and Dedication, Flores Residence Hall, Assumption Seminary, San Antonio, Texas
  9. Aug. 16: 6 p.m., Opening Reception and Dinner, “The Gates of Paradise,” The Art Institute of Chicago
  10. Aug. 17: 3:30 p.m., meeting with Chicago seminarians, Mundelein Seminary
  11. Aug. 18: Vacation
Cardinal's Crest

Cardinal's Appointments

July 26, 2007

His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George announces the following appointments:


Rev. Christopher Gustafson, from associate pastor of Our Lady of Ransom, Niles, to be pastor of the same, effective immediately.

Rev. George Roy, O.M.I., to be the pastor of St. Malachy Parish, West Washington Blvd., effective Aug. 1.

Rev. Kenneth Simpson, from director of Sheil Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, to be the pastor of St. Clement Parish, West Deming Place, effective Aug. 1.

Associate pastors

Rev. JoAndre Beltran, from associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Lake Zurich, to be the associate pastor of Notre Dame de Chicago Parish, West Harrison, effective immediately.

Rev. Matthew Compton, from associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Wilmette, to be the associate pastor of Holy Name Cathedral, North Wabash, effective immediately.

Rev. Jerome Twarog, from associate pastor of St. Peter Parish, Skokie, to be the associate pastor of St. Mary Parish, Lake Forest, effective immediately.


Rev. Thomas Tivy to be the administrator of Maternity BVM Parish, West North Avenue, while retaining his duties as Pastor of Resurrection Parish, North Francisco, effective Aug. 12.


Rev. Daniel Cassidy, from associate pastor of St. Mark Parish, North Campbell, to be a resident of St. Ita Parish, West Catalpa, effective immediately.

Priest’s placement board

Rev. James J. Donovan, part-time executive secretary of the Priests’ Placement Board while retaining his duties as pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish, Hometown, effective Aug. 1.


Rev. Timothy Fiala, from associate director of Pope John Paul II Newman Center, University of Illinois, Chicago campus, South Morgan, to be the director of the Sheil Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, effective immediately.

Associate director

Rev. John Sanaghan, from associate pastor of St. Matthias Parish, West Ainslie, and Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish, West Carmen, to be the Associate Director of Pope John Paul II Newman Center, University of Illinois, Chicago campus, South Morgan, effective immediately.


Rev. Thomas Pelton to be on sabbatical from Aug. 12 to Feb. 11, 2008.

Acouple of weeks ago, the Holy See released a short document entitled, “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.” Because of some reactions to this document addressed to Catholic theologians, it is probably good to review who we understand the Church to be. First of all, the Church begins with Jesus Christ. He is the Church’s head and the Church is his Body. The Church belongs to him, and all who call themselves Christ’s disciples or followers belong to the Church on his terms.

What are those terms? They are found in receiving the gifts that Jesus gained for the world through his death and resurrection and that he himself wants all who know and love him to share. In other words, we belong to Christ’s Church to the extent that our lives are shaped by Christ’s gifts. The most important gift is the grace that brings us God’s own life and our salvation. Grace is invisible, as are faith and hope and love itself. All those whose lives are shaped by God’s grace are, in some fashion, related to Jesus Christ and his Church, even if they don’t know who Christ is. But the Church is also a visible community; and the three gifts of Christ that visibly mark the Church he established are 1) the profession of the apostolic faith, 2) the celebration of the seven sacraments, and 3) apostolic governance.

The apostolic faith was proclaimed in the preaching of the apostles themselves. The Church existed before the New Testament was written, but the written witness to apostolic preaching is found in the Acts of the Apostles and in the writings of St. Peter and St. Paul and St. John in the New Testament. The Church expresses this faith in the creeds of the Ecumenical Councils and in the professions of faith that have been written as the Church’s understanding of the truths God wants us to believe has deepened through the ages. The essentials of the apostolic faith in the official teaching of the Church have been preserved through the action of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth that Jesus promised to send his Church to keep her from error.

The seven sacraments of the apostolic Churches are actions of the risen Christ and continue to be celebrated in the Catholic Church and in the Orthodox Churches. At the time of the Protestant Reformation, the sacrament of Holy Orders was explicitly rejected by the Reformers, and ordained priests were succeeded by ministers. This action leaves only sacramental baptism common to all Christians. It also changed how Protestants understand church governance. Apostolic governance in the Catholic Church is continued visibly through the body of pastors that succeeds to the authority of the apostles as evangelizers and heads of local churches.These pastors constitute the college of bishops in union with the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

The Catholic Church understands herself as enjoying, only through Jesus’ own will and love, all the gifts that he left for his people. Other Churches and faith communities enjoy most or some of these gifts, depending on their history and their own self-understanding. We should try to understand people as they understand themselves. Many sincere followers of Jesus Christ reject the Catholic Church’s understanding of who the Church is. Some think Catholics are not even Christian; others say the Pope is the anti-Christ. They don’t want to be Catholic, and that should be respected. But the Catholic understanding of Church should also be respected. It has a two thousand year history. It seems somewhat strange that only the Catholic Church’s self-understanding should be a matter of public indignation.

Finally, the recent statement of the Holy See says nothing about any individual’s eternal salvation. The linkage of the Church’s self-understanding about her visible gifts to conclusions about the invisible gift of an individual’s salvation is a different question. Nor does the Church’s teaching about her objective gifts draw any conclusions about an individual’s subjective holiness. One can be baptized and still sin; one can be ordained and still betray the Lord. Nevertheless, both baptism and ordination remain sacramental means of holiness.

What we as Catholics need most is a clear grasp of the Catholic faith. Without that, every report or article by people who don’t understand our Church or have even rejected her faith causes unnecessary dismay. Our parishes and schools should increase their efforts to teach the Church’s faith as it comes to us from the apostles, so that Catholics can rest secure in that faith and be eager to share it and all Christ’s gifts with others.

We owe our gratitude, as a community of faith, to those who do hand on and explain at various levels the truths of the Catholic faith. It is parents, and Godparents first of all, who teach their children how to pray and who begin to respond to their questions about God. Catechists in the religious education programs and in the Catholic schools use the approved texts to cover, over eight years, the essentials of the faith. Apologists are able to explain the faith to those outside the Church, aware of the objections to the Catholic faith that are most prevalent in our kind of society. College and university professors of theology locate the truths of the faith historically and philosophically and bring a critical sense to Church teaching that unites faith and reason in the pursuit of truth. Some years ago, the Church said that Catholic professors in Catholic Universities are to ask their local bishop to say publicly that they are teaching theology in communion, in unity, with the Church’s faith. Some professors at Chicago’s Catholic Universities have done that and others have not. It’s a great pleasure for me to have that kind of understanding with a professor of theology; such teachers are a gift to the Church. It seems to me important for students at the Universities to ask who among their professors are explicitly teaching in unity with the Church and who are not. Finally, the ordained bishops, priests and deacons have obliged themselves to teach not only in communion with the Church but also in the name of the Church. If that personal promise is ever broken, ecclesial communion is severely wounded.

Jesus proclaimed that he is the truth, as well as our way and our life. To live in truth is to live in freedom. Let us ask for that grace in our lives. God bless you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

Archbishop of Chicago

Cardinal's Column Archive