April 26, 2009

A better life or a new life?

Cardinal George's Schedule

  1. April 26: 11:30 a.m., Bilingual Sunday Mass, St. Mark Parish; 5 p.m., Italian Catholic Federation Bishops’ Day Celebration, Glen Ellyn
  2. April 27: 1 p.m., Board of Advisors Meeting, St. Joseph College Seminary; 3 p.m., Seminary Rectors Meeting, St. Joseph College Seminary
  3. April 28: 1 p.m., Administrative Council Meeting, Quigley Center; 4:45 p.m., 25th Anniversary Mass, Oblate Sisters of Jesus the Priest, Mundelein
  4. April 30: 11 a.m., National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management Meeting, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont
  5. May 1: 1 p.m., Catholic Church Extension Society Executive Committee Meeting; 6 p.m., Amate Magic, Navy Pier
  6. May 2: 9 a.m., Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Meeting, Quigley Center; 6:30 p.m., Resurrection High School Annual Dinner, Niles; 8 p.m., 10th Annual Stanley C. Goulder Interfaith Lecture 2009, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield
  7. May 3: 2 p.m., 175th Anniversary Mass, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
  8. May 5: 9:30 a.m., School Mass, St. Rita of Cascia High School; noon, Address and Discussion, Roosevelt University
  9. May 6: 10 a.m., Call to Orders, University of St. Mary of the Lake
  10. May 8: 11:30 a.m., Mass with Priests Celebrating their Silver Jubilee of Ordination, Mundelein
  11. May 9: 9 a.m., Archdiocesan Women’s Committee General Meeting, Meyer Center; 3 p.m., University of St. Mary of the Lake Convocation, Mundelein
Cardinal's Crest

Cardinal's Appointments

April 3, 2009

His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George announces the following appointments:


Rev. Andrzej A. Bartos, from extern priest from the Diocese of Koszalin- Kolobrzeg, Poland, incardinated into the Presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Chicago and will continue to serve as associate pastor of St. Christina Parish, South Homan, effective immediately.

The Catholic Church is much engaged in helping many people lead better lives, through education, health care, public advocacy and private counseling, with social services to the aged, the homeless, the hungry and many who would otherwise be without help. Catholic Charities in our archdiocese and in every diocese provides help to people who want to live better lives.

Meeting immediate needs

Catholic Charities of the archdiocese serves one out of every six people who live in Cook and Lake Counties. Three out of four people who live in poverty are served in some fashion by Catholic Charities. While the Charities staff is entirely professional, many of these services are possible only because of the great number of generous volunteers organized by Catholic Charities.

The greatest and most immediate need is for food. Six areas in the archdiocese are referred to as “food deserts,” where there are no grocery stores for fresh food, vegetables, milk and other basic necessities. Catholic Charities has five Women, Infants and Children centers in the food deserts, where thousands of families come for basic necessities, along with older people who must spend their money for medicine, rent and utilities and who therefore have no money to buy their own food. Catholic Charities serves Meals On Wheels throughout all of Lake County and most of southern Cook County. It runs nine senior dining centers in Lake County and several as well in Chicago and its suburbs. In 2008, Catholic Charities provided the equivalent of 4,602,642 meals in all its programs, including the parish-based suppers for the poor and homeless.

Occasionally, one hears that the church is concerned more about the unborn than the poor. The statistics on nutrition, maternity and pregnancy programs, adoption services, child-development activities, programs to eradicate domestic violence, job training, health care, housing, substance-abuse programs and services for veterans expose such an accusation for what it is.

Teaching social morality

Besides meeting immediate needs, the church helps us lead better lives together through her teaching on social ethics. The current economic crisis has particularly brought into question the “rules of the game” in developed economies. The overriding objective to pursue short-term financial profits seems to have seriously impaired the financial market’s capacity for self-regulation. The connection between the market and civil society is being rethought, as is the place of the United States in a global economy. Paradoxically, while capital from poor countries is being invested in rich countries, making the poor ever poorer, the wages that immigrants send back to their families in poor countries far exceed all the official state-to-state foreign aid. Rethinking the global economy means thinking of instruments of exchange that will help develop poor countries as well as benefit poor people in rich countries.

Structural considerations cannot abstract from the moral character of those who make financial decisions that affect others. There is something very strange about a decision-making context where the financial operators’ time framework was extremely short and where trust was put more in the market’s mechanisms than in relations between partners. Economics, by itself, cannot determine whether any activity is ethical or not. An economy that substitutes efficiency for morality will end up both inefficient and immoral. A society that is organized to help people live better lives needs to understand both the rules of economics and the moral law.

Proclaiming new life

Part of the church’s moral and social teaching judges this world in the light that comes from the risen Christ. Christ rose from the dead with new life, not just an improved version of our present life. With the promise of eternal life comes the hope of communion with Christ and with the whole family of God in the world to come and the courage, therefore, to face and overcome the difficulties of life in this world.

At the end of last year, Pope Benedict XVI said: “Jesus Christ did not organize campaigns against poverty but proclaimed the Gospel for a complete ransom from moral and material misery to the poor. The church … does the same.” In Christ, we help each other to lead better lives now in the hope of new life forever. That new life begins now with the grace given us in baptism and the other sacraments, which are all actions of the risen Christ. In the Eucharist, we receive into our mortal bodies the bread of eternal life, the seed of the new life that satisfies every hunger. The risen Christ ate bread and fish with his disciples not because he was hungry but to show them he was alive.

Like the voice of Christ, the message of the church is always original. The risen Christ does not fit into any of our normal categories of understanding and, often, neither does the voice of the church. As catholic, the church speaks for the whole human race in particular societies, cultures and countries that are always less than universal. Her moral and social teachings come from a source bigger than any financial or political order we can imagine. This is both disquieting and comforting, like the risen Lord himself.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

Archbishop of Chicago