Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

2007 Archive

  1. January 7

    ‘Behold, I make all things new …’

    Hanging on a wall in my sitting room is a contemporary icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "written" by a monk of Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon ten years ago. It was a gift to me from the monks to welcome me as Archbishop of Portland, and it combines in one image two titles of Mary: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Snows.

  2. January 21

    Schools of Spirituality

    Last year, the mostly lay Archdiocesan Pastoral Council asked the Presbyteral Council to consider how the homily at Mass might be used to deepen lay people's understanding of some contested mysteries of faith. The request arose during a discussion on what it means to be Catholic. Many of the more external signs of Catholicism, the practices people associated with life in the Church, were abandoned thirty or more years ago. The disappearance of external protections left the internal life of faith exposed to error and confusion. The priests took the time to clarify with representatives of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council just what was being asked for, and a list of six topics was finally agreed upon. The six topics that are to be discussed at some time over the course of the year, depending on the liturgical readings and season, are: the Eucharist, ordained priesthood, penance or reconciliation, marriage, the Blessed Virgin Mary and immigration.

  3. February 4

    Conversations in Spirituality: religious dialogue

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ended this year, as it does each year, on Jan. 25, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Ecumenical dialogue has evolved in the past thirty years. Conversation about the respective beliefs of the various Christian faith communities has led to discussion about differences in doctrine that are due only to misunderstanding and into discussion about other differences that are founded on principle. Dialogue has awakened a desire to work together for social transformation and, especially in recent years, has the dialogue partners talking together about the spiritual life. Added to ecumenical dialogue with other Christians are conversations with people of non-Christian faiths. One such conversation that has taken on added urgency in recent years is that with Muslims.

  4. February 18

    Lent and the Purification of our Desires

    The Lenten season that we enter this coming week is a season of penance for our sins and the sins of the world. It prepares us to celebrate Easter with renewed joy and enthusiasm, free of sin and its consequences in our lives.

  5. March 4

    ‘Keep Us Free from Sin’: Conscience and Confession

    After the recitation of the Our Father at every Mass, the priest prays to the Lord: “In your mercy keep us free from sin…”

  6. March 18

    From one homeland to another

    During the season of Lent, everything about the Mass and the daily prayers of the Church are designed to remind us that we have here no lasting city, that our true homeland is heaven. The discipline of Lent shows us how to live now in God's company and to find in him our true home. We live here in the belief that we are all immigrants who hope to reach heaven.

  7. April 1

    Victims of sexual abuse and the healing of lives

    The season of Lent is given over to self-examination and the doing of penance for our sins. Especially since 2002, the Catholic Church in the United States has been faced with the sin of sexual abuse of children and young people by some bishops and priests. Much time has been spent in self-examination, by bishops and many others, and much has been done to make amends to those whose lives have been wounded.

  8. April 15

    Christ's Resurrection and ours: the theology of the body

    St. Teresa of Avila told the story of the devil's appearing to her in the guise of the Risen Christ, hoping to tempt her into believing that it was Jesus himself coming to her. Immediately she dismissed him; but before he left her the Evil One asked her how she knew that he was not Christ. St. Teresa answered, “Because you have no wounds.”

  9. April 29

    To Christ be Glory in the Church

    When I was ordained a bishop on the feast of St. Matthew, September 21, 1990, I chose as my motto: To Christ be Glory in the Church. It appears in Latin on my coat of arms. Episcopal mottoes are phrases that indicate a bishop's mind and heart, that give an indication of his pastoral priorities. My motto says that I believe the Church exists, first of all and above all, to glorify Christ, to make his grace visible to the world in the Church's ministries and mission. If people look at the Church and see Jesus Christ, then everything else will fall into place.

  10. May 13

    To Christ be Glory in the Church, 2

    Reflecting on ten years as Archbishop of Chicago, I wrote in the last column about the signposts that have put some order into my own recall of my life and ministry as pastor to the Catholics of Cook and Lake counties. The Church is concerned always about her own life with the Lord, but she is also concerned about what she does for all those whom Christ loves. This outreach for the sake of justice and charity gives glory to Christ in the Church but for the world at large.

  11. May 27

    Confirmation: Be strong but don’t be hard

    Because I broke the femur bone in my right leg last Holy Saturday, I wasn’t able to take a couple of confirmation ceremonies that had been scheduled for me in the last several weeks. I missed doing those confirmations. In a large archdiocese like our own, confirmation is celebrated throughout the year, but the privileged time for confirmation remains the weeks between Easter and Pentecost Sunday. The auxiliary bishops are in the various parish churches each evening to confirm the (mostly) young men and women of the Archdiocese. I am proud of the hardworking bishops and of those confirmed, as well as those who spend a great deal of time and zeal in preparing the young people who are confirmed.

  12. June 10

    New Movements in the Church: Sign of the Spirit for our times

    Different groups have been coming together in the past month to mark my tenth anniversary as Archbishop of Chicago. Each gathering has had a different spirit and each has brought its own joys. When we think of gathering the Catholics of Cook and Lake counties, what comes to mind are the priests, the religious men and women, the parishes, friends and benefactors. Another group, one that might not be so immediately before the mind of many Catholics, will be gathering on June 14: Lay Ecclesial Movements and New Communities.

  13. July 8

    Who is native to America?

    Normally, anyone born in a particular city or country is considered native to that place. Native means born there. Yet in the United States we have taken to reserving the adjective “native” to those whose ancestors were in North America before the European discoveries and conquest of the continent. That leaves the many millions of us who were born here and are natives of no other place but are not members of an American Indian tribe without a native place. It would seem to me to be more accurate to speak of American Indians as native pre-Americans, because that drives home the point that is specific to them. They were here first, before this was America. Furthermore, they are conquered peoples, whose collective rights as peoples are established first of all by treaties with the Federal Government, not by the bill of individual rights in the U.S. Constitution. Constitutionally, the American Indians (as they still often call themselves) were wards of the federal government, not U.S. citizens until the time of President Franklin Roosevelt. To assimilate them into one more ethnic or racial group, like Irish Americans or Italian Americans or African Americans, is to ignore their distinctive history and their place in society. It co-opts them into our history by making them just one more immigrant group. Instead, they are tribal and relate to our society as semisovereign entities.

  14. July 22

    A missionary in Chicago: Fr. Arnold Damen S.J.

    In my last column, I wrote about Fr. Peter John DeSmet’s work among the native peoples of the plains, a ministry that began in 1823. During Fr. DeSmet’s trips back to Europe, he gathered funds to support the Church’s work among the American Indians and he also recruited men to join him as missionaries. In 1837, Fr. DeSmet brought to America a twenty two year old Dutchman who was eager to join the Jesuits in America. His name was Arnold Damen.

  15. August 5

    Who is the Church?

    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.

  16. August 19

    Embracing the love of Christ

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    It is a great pleasure to be with you this evening. My heart is very full seeing gathered in the cathedral so many who represent the institutions and parishes of the Archdiocese. It is not just a picture of the people in our two counties; it is a picture of love made visible and, in that picture, all our hearts should be moved.

  17. September 2

    Schools and Scholarships

    This issue of the Catholic New World features our schools. It gives me the opportunity to thank all the pastors, principals and teachers in our Archdiocesan schools as well as those who direct and teach in the Catholic schools sponsored by religious orders and others. Because so much effort and generosity go into making our schools the marvelous ministry they are, it is always easy to thank those in the schools and in the Office of Catholic Schools itself. It is also necessary to do so because gratitude is sometimes all we can give.

  18. September 16

    We pray … through Christ Our Lord

    The Archbishop’s residence at State and North has a chapel, as has every bishop’s residence. It was fashioned by Cardinal Mundelein from a waiting room that was part of the house when it was built by Archbishop Feehan in 1882. Every morning, Mass is celebrated in the chapel by myself or one of the priests who live in the residence. The Sisters who take care of the house and those who live here attend that Mass, but the Sisters also use the chapel during the day to come together to pray. The priests use it for visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes I pray there late at night, after going through the mail or watching the late news on TV. All the prayers said there, whether in the liturgy or in personal prayer, are offered in the name of Christ.

  19. September 30

    Who is Capable of Faith?

    Over the summer, a number of books in defense of atheism appeared on the market. The titles speak for themselves: God, the Failed Hypothesis; The God Delusion; God is not Great; The End of Faith. While some of these books target religion as a system of thought and action rather than belief in God as such, all of them presuppose that God does not exist. In this, they bring to a popular level the presuppositions of thinkers who have shaped academic life for a century: Marx, Nietzsche and, especially, Freud. Often they rely on their interpretation of Darwinian theory to “prove” that God is an unnecessary and dangerous figment of our collective imagination.

  20. October 14

    A Conference Misconceived; an Opportunity Missed

    On Oct. 19 and 20, a conference for Catholic college faculty and administrators will be hosted at DePaul University on the topic of ministering to gay and lesbian students in Catholic colleges and universities. Called the “Out There Conference,” this program is coordinated out of Santa Clara University in California and has as its stated purpose to discuss how to be pastorally present to homosexually oriented young people.

  21. October 28

    Cardinals, in Rome and elsewhere…

    Last week, while I was in Rome with the President of the United States Bishops’ Conference to visit the Holy Father and the Cardinals who head up some of the various departments of the Vatican, the Pope announced the names of bishops and priests who would be created Cardinals at the end of November. Among twenty three new Cardinals, two are from this country: Archbishop John Foley, from Philadelphia but working in Rome as head of the communications department for the last thirty years, and Archbishop Daniel DiNardo, of Houston, Texas. Because the Archdiocese of Houston had not previously had its chief shepherd named a Cardinal, this appointment occasioned much comment. It recognizes the growing importance of the Southwest for the country and the Church.

  22. November 11

    Mission of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

    The Catholic Bishops of the dioceses of the United States meet this week in Baltimore, from Nov. 12 - 15. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops traces its origins to 1917, when the United States entered the First World War. The Catholic bishops then formed the National Catholic War Council (NCWC), and its purpose was to help the dioceses work together to raise money and commit people to provide spiritual care and recreation for serviceman. At that time, the patriotism of Catholics, especially that of immigrants from Ireland and Germany, was suspect, even by the U.S. government. The NCWC was the Church’s response. After the war, Pope Benedict XV asked the bishops of the world to work in their respective countries to help create just conditions of work and life in order to prevent another war. In 1919, the U.S. Bishops changed the name of their organization to the National Catholic Welfare Council (still NCWC) and set up the first Administrative Committee of seven bishops to handle the Council’s business between the meetings of all the bishops. The headquarters were established in Washington, D.C.

  23. November 25

    On Giving Thanks and Giving Grief

    Each year as our nation celebrates the civic holiday of Thanksgiving Day, the Church draws our attention to the end of time, when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead.

  24. December 9

    Living in Hope of Salvation

    At the beginning of Advent, when the liturgy turns our attention to the coming of the Savior of the world, Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter on hope — “Spe Salvi” (on Christian hope).

  25. December 23

    And Peace on Earth

    We sing of peace and pray for peace at Christmas because peace is a sign of God’s presence. Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us, and peace is a sign of his presence. For most of recorded history, however, the world has known little peace. Each generation of Americans has fought a war, on this continent or somewhere else in the world. War is a constant in human affairs, not only among nations but also, too often, in families and in our hearts.