Friday, February 12, 2010
The recent exchange between Patrick Brennan and Steve Shiffrin brought to my mind the time when Francis E. George, O.M.I., returned to his native Chicago after being named by Pope John Paul II as the city's new archbishop, succeeding the late and much beloved Joseph Cardinal Bernadin. Upon his arrival in Chicago, George went to Holy Name Cathedral and spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. After that visit, he then went to meet the press.
At the press conference, one journalist asked what he undoubtedly thought was the "money" question -- the question that was on everyone's mind, the question that eveyone wanted to see asked and answered. Not suprisingly, the question also made plain how many in the media understand the Church. The answer, however, was even more revealing as to the nature of Chicago's new Archbishop.
The reporter noted that the late Cardinal Bernadin was thought of as a "liberal" and he asked whether George would be a "liberal" as well.
George responded in a way that journalists in general and religion reporters in particular are seldom accustomed. He noted the people who make up the local church in Chicago were a large and diverse group, and that Cardinal Bernadin had a special talent for making everyone feel welcomed. He also said that he hoped that God would give him this same grace in his interactions with all of the members of the Archdiocese.
George then noted that it is the vocation of every bishop is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that "the faith is neither liberal nor conservative. The faith is true."