Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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May 03, 2015
Shortly after I was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago by Pope John Paul II in 2003, I received a packet in the mail from a man whose hobby was tracing the genealogy of bishops, not in the sense of family ancestry, but in the terms of episcopal lineage. The fact that every Catholic bishop follows in an unbroken chain by the imposition of hands going back to the times of the apostles is called apostolic succession. Since I was ordained a bishop by Francis Cardinal George, this means that my lineage as a bishop traces back through him. Cardinal George was ordained a bishop by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, who in turn was ordained by Cardinal Jean Villot, Vatican Secretary of State, from 1969 to 1979. The fact that Cardinal Villot was French means that my episcopal lineage traces back through France. Although the records hit a dead-end after several centuries, there is no doubt in my mind that my apostolic succession goes back to the original apostles. It only means that meticulous records were not kept from the outset, but the early church relied heavily on oral tradition for handing down the faith from generation to generation.
April 19, 2015
There has been a lot of incorrect and misleading information about recent legislation in Indiana and Arkansas designed to protect religious freedom. Gay-rights activists have wrongfully characterized these laws as providing a license to discriminate against homosexual people. In fact, the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act adopted recently in Indiana and Arkansas is modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)adopted by Congress with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in both the United States House and Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
April 05, 2015
In my previous reflections, I addressed the topic of indulgences. An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment for sins, whose guilt is forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful obtains under certain and clearly defined conditions through the intervention of the church. Indulgences are a means from the spiritual treasury of God’s graces to help us get to heaven. So as we celebrate Easter it is fitting to discuss the conditions for obtaining indulgences to assist us on our journey to eternal life.
March 20, 2015
On Friday, March 13, the second anniversary of his election as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis announced an Extraordinary Holy Year dedicated as a “Jubilee of Mercy.” In making this announcement, the Holy Father said, “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’ (cf. Lk 6:36). This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception [Dec. 8, 2015] and will end on Nov. 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe — and living face of the Father’s mercy.”
March 08, 2015
The season of Lent is a time for us to accept that we are weak and sinful people born into a beautiful but broken world and then to renew our faith joyfully in the meaning of our baptism. For it was through our baptism that we entered into the mystery of Christ as redeemer.
February 23, 2015
The season of Lent has begun, during which every year we examine our lives to see where we have strayed from God and how we can turn our hearts back to the Lord in preparation for the celebration of his resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. This examination of conscience is both an individual and a communal task, that is, each person examines his or her own personal life to turn away from sin, but we as a society also need to take a look at how together we are living either in conformity with God’s plan or contrary to it.
February 08, 2015
Pope Francis recently gave his annual address to the judges of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, which serves as a court of appeals principally for marriage annulment cases. In his remarks on Jan. 23, the Holy Father said, “Sacraments are free of charge. The sacraments give us grace. And marriage processes touch on the sacrament of marriage. How I would like all marriage processes to be free of charge!”
January 25, 2015
On April 1, 2005, the day before the death of Pope John Paul II, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an “emergency rule” that required pharmacies that sell contraceptives to fill prescriptions for birth control without delay. There was no provision for pharmacists who objected in conscience to filling prescriptions for contraceptives as a matter of their religious beliefs. In fact, the reason Blagojevich issued his executive order was precisely because some pharmacists had refused to fill such prescriptions as a matter of conscience. It was the former governor’s position that pharmacists had no rights of conscience, saying, “Just fill the prescription.”
January 11, 2015
Four years ago at my first Midnight Mass at the Cathedral in Springfield I spoke in my homily of the plight of Christians who are being persecuted and killed in the Middle East, saying that “we should count our blessings that we enjoy the freedom to [celebrate Christmas] in relative safety. But we should not forget our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world that are not so fortunate and for whom Christmas is not so joyful.” Then and on some subsequent occasions that I have spoken or written about the persecution of Christians by radical Islamist extremists, my remarks have been criticized as being anti-Muslim. So let’s take a look at what others have been saying about this.
December 28, 2014
My prayer for this new year is that racial hatreds will be overcome, that ethnic prejudices and discrimination among all races may stop, that violence everywhere may cease, that lawful authority may be respected, that employment and educational opportunities may abound, that families and communities may abide in harmony, and that everyone will be able to live together in peace.

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