2008 Archive

  1. January 6

    Making moral choices: war, migrants and corruption

    At the end of a calendar year, many review their lives and make promises to themselves to change for the better. We call these New Year’s resolutions. To make them, we engage in a sort of examination not only of our lives but of our consciences and the choices that have shaped our lives.

  2. January 20

    Jerusalem: Golden and conflicted

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I am writing this column in Jerusalem, a city that gleams like gold when the sun lights up its walls and its stone buildings. The presidents or representatives of the United States, Canadian and European Catholic Bishops’ Conferences have come to pay a pastoral visit to Catholics living in the State of Israel and in the territories governed by the Palestinian Authority.

  3. February 3

    Self-sacrifice: Lent, Lourdes and Marriage

    This is the first week of February, 2008, and, as we watch the snow and cold gradually dissipate, the Church enters into the season of Lent, preparing us for Easter.

  4. February 17

    Lent: A practice run at dying well

    During the 40 days of Lent, the practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving help us to die to self in order to live in Christ. We can see Christ in others if we are of one mind and heart with him ourselves.

  5. March 2

    God and human suffering

    During Lent, we take stock of our own sinfulness and its consequences. The toll is heavy, both personally and socially. Faced with this picture of evil in our lives and in the world, many come to question God and his relation to his creatures.

  6. March 16

    The day the Lord has made

    Easter Sunday celebrates Christ’s victory over sin and death. This victory is directly and immediately the work of God, and Easter is therefore the day the Lord has made. The first creation of the world went astray; the re-creation of the world dawns on Easter when all is made new. “This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad” (Ps 118: 24).

  7. March 30

    Who is Peter? Where is Peter?

    Who is Peter? St. Peter figures in the stories of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. First, he denies he knows the Lord. Then he repents his betrayal and is a witness to Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Then we hear him proclaim his love for the Lord, and Jesus responds by telling Peter to feed the Lord’s own flock (Jn 21: 15- 27).

  8. April 13

    The resurrection of Christ and Catholic social teaching

    The various accounts of Christ after he rose from the dead bear witness to someone who is totally free. The source of this freedom is the Holy Spirit. Christ’s risen body is so totally filled with the Spirit of God, that it is no longer subject to the rules of space and time that define our fallen cosmos. Limited by our own still mortal bodies, we can barely imagine what such an immortal body must be like.

  9. April 27

    Truth and enthusiasm: Pope Benedict’s visit

    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.

  10. May 13

    Old flames and new

    At the end of his encyclical letter “Spe Salvi” (“Saved in Hope”), Pope Benedict XVI, wrote of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the star of the sea, a beacon that guides us on the voyage of this life to Christ, the source of our hope. Stars are balls of flame, and if the Blessed Virgin is a light for us now, it is because she was with the apostles on the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon them as flames of fire to transform them and make them guides for the new-born Church.

  11. May 25

    When law encourages violence

    The escalating statistics on homicide, especially the killing of school children, in the city of Chicago leave many profoundly disturbed. There is the tragedy of mothers and fathers whose children have been killed, the tragedy of families further broken. There is the tragedy of fear that stalks the streets of neighborhoods no longer safe for daily activities like walking to school or to the store. There is the tragedy of hopelessness as young people confront a future they fatalistically believe they will not live to see.

  12. June 8

    The month of the Sacred Heart and the Year of St. Paul

    The Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by a soldier’s lance while Jesus still hung on the cross after his death, is a symbol of God’s infinite mercy. God’s desire to forgive our sins becomes visible in Jesus’ wounded heart; we see God’s infinite love captured in a finite human heart. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us on June 1 that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is traditional in the month of June, and he called for its renewal.

  13. June 22

    How many Catholics are there in the United States?

    During their meeting last week, the Catholic bishops of the United States heard two reports about the state of religious groups in our country, with particular application to the numerical status of Catholics in the general population.

  14. June 6

    On embryonic stem-cell research

    A statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  15. June 20

    Mary Immaculate in Chicago and Lourdes

    The doctrine that Mary of Nazareth was without sin from the first moment of her conception in the womb of St. Ann was officially defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Four years later, in 1858, Mary appeared in Lourdes, France, to St. Bernadette Soubirous.

  16. August 3

    World Youth Day: love and life united

    World Youth Day 2008 took place in Sydney, Australia, from July 15 to July 20. Almost three hundred young people from the Chicago area joined about 400,000 others from around the world for the final Mass on July 20 on a racetrack near Sydney.

  17. August 17

    Eucharistic adoration and procession: Following Jesus Christ

    Last week, a representative group of Catholics from the archdiocese went in pilgrimage to Mary’s shrine in Lourdes, France, while other Catholics here participated in the pilgrimage at home. There are three processions during a week of pilgrimage in Lourdes: the torchlight procession while saying the Rosary, the eucharistic procession with the sick and the Way of the Cross.

  18. August 31

    Catholic schools are schools for life

    “Those who instruct many in the ways of justice will sparkle as stars for all eternity” (Dn 12:3).

  19. September 14

    Worshiping God through marriage

    One of the best eucharistic celebrations each year is the Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass. Although the cathedral is the church that usually hosts the Jubilarians and their families, the Mass was celebrated on Sept. 7 this year at St. John Brebeuf Parish in Niles. More than 500 couples celebrated marriages that began in 1958.

  20. September 28

    The centennial of the Diocese of Rockford: What does God remember?

    On Sept. 23, our neighboring Diocese of Rockford celebrated its 100th anniversary of foundation. 1908 was a significant year not only because that’s when the Rockford Diocese was established but also because that was the year when the entire United States ceased to be mission territory and began to be governed by the ordinary law of the church. Ceasing to be a mission territory didn’t mean the mission of the church was accomplished here; it only meant that the Holy See recognized that the church in this country was well established and could now begin to give and not just receive.

  21. October 12

    The Word of God in the life and mission of the church

    On Oct. 5, bishops from all over the world began to meet with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome to consider the Word of God in the church. This Synod of Bishops, as it is officially called, meets every three years and usually lasts for three weeks. The bishops of the United States elect four of their number to represent our conference at the synod, and I am one of those four.

  22. October 26

    Musing on Creation

    Jesuit Father Raymond Baumhart is a personal consultant to Cardinal George. He wrote this column at the cardinal's request while the cardinal is at the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

  23. November 9

    God’s Word in our prayer

    During the three weeks of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, I thought often of the ways we use Sacred Scripture in personal prayer; and I recalled Pope Benedict’s words to the U.S. bishops last April, when he told us to teach people how to pray in order to prevent the secularization of our lives and our society.

  24. November 23

    Plenary Session Address by Cardinal George

    The Thanksgiving holiday this year gives us the opportunity to direct our thoughts and prayers to God, whose Providence governs our lives and the world. Sometimes God’s purposes are obscured by our sinfulness; always they are rendered opaque by our limited natures, our finiteness. People look at their lives, at the church, at the state of our society and our world and wonder: “What is God’s will for me and for all of us?”

  25. December 7

    As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever

    How we mark time reveals where and with whom we live. We mark family time by celebrating birthdays and the anniversaries of important events like marriages and deaths. We mark our time as citizens by campaigns and elections along with civic holidays to honor heroes and events, like declaring independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. We mark our time as believers in following the liturgical calendar, celebrating the events by which Christ saves us and noting the anniversaries of the deaths of his saints, our brothers and sisters. The purpose of the liturgical calendar is to help us live with God, in his kingdom now and forever.

  26. December 21

    Christmas: the Gift of Life and the Dignity of the Person

    “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) In the mystery of the Incarnation, all the dimensions of our human nature, including our bodies, are now joined to God’s Eternal Word in Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Mary, savior of the world.