Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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January 27, 2013
President Barack Obama did not invite me to deliver the benediction at his second inauguration as president of the United States of America on Jan. 21. I didn't really expect him to do so. Despite the fact that I am the Catholic bishop of Springfield in Illinois, where he first announced that he would run for president of the United States at the Old State Capitol building on Feb. 10, 2007, I am not his pastor, he is not Catholic, and we really don't know each other. But even if I were his pastor, if he were Catholic, and we did know each other, apparently I would have been disqualified by a new litmus test for cultural acceptability in certain quarters.
January 13, 2013
Our state's elected lawmakers will soon consider a bill called The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. A more fraudulent title for this dangerous measure could not be imagined. The proposed law is, in truth, a grave assault upon both religious liberty and marriage. All people of goodwill, and especially Christ's faithful committed to my pastoral care in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, should resolutely oppose this bill and make their opinions known to their representatives.
December 30, 2012
Looking back at this past year, the horrendous shootings that took place on Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will cast a dark shadow on the whole year, much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 became etched in so many people’s minds simply as “9/11” without even needing to mention the year because everyone knew.
December 16, 2012
As a hockey fan, I feel disappointed that there have been no National Hockey League games played this season due to the labor dispute following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement last September. Negotiations between league officials, owners, players and their union have been going on now for months with no sign of agreement in sight.
December 02, 2012
"Fiscal cliff" is the term being used to describe the drastic consequences of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that will go into effect unless the White House and Congress can reach some solution by the end of this month. While concern about the "fiscal cliff" is certainly warranted, it pales in comparison to the "moral cliff" over which many weak souls are in danger of tumbling. The "fiscal cliff" threatens economic hardship in this world, but falling over the "moral cliff" lands one in eternal torment in the life to come.
November 17, 2012
"No matter what happens in the election on Tuesday, I know I'll wake up happy on Wednesday." That was the confident assertion of a person with whom I was speaking after our recent Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference, held in Decatur. I was intrigued, so I asked, "Why do you say that?" She answered, "Because no matter what happens in the election, Jesus Christ will still be Lord!"
November 04, 2012
We have now begun the “Year of Faith” proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In civil society, the celebration of a New Year is generally over by Jan. 2 and most New Year’s resolutions are quickly forgotten. In the church, the observance of a holy year needs to be remembered throughout the year, not just on the first day. This Year of Faith will continue until Nov. 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King. We should keep this celebration in mind until then.
October 21, 2012
Due to the volume of calls, letters and e-mails, it has been impossible to respond to most of them personally. But to those with whom I have spoken, like the football fan mentioned earlier, my first question is usually to ask if they have read the whole column or watched the entire video recording of it. The answer is usually no. They read a few excerpted sentences out of context, watched a pirated video with a brief clip accompanied by someone else’s spin on what they thought I said, or saw an editorial in the local secular newspaper that distorted and misrepresented my words. So it would help for people to read the whole column or watch the entire video recording of it before reacting.
October 07, 2012
This is the time of year when many dioceses are celebrating their annual "Red Mass" for judges, lawyers, politicians and others who work in the legal profession. The name "Red Mass" comes from the red vestments that are worn for Masses of the Holy Spirit, because the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is being implored to bless and guide the work of justice at the beginning of the new court term. Being one of the few bishops who has both a canon law and a civil law degree, I am often asked at this time of year to be a homilist for the Red Mass or speaker at gatherings of lawyers and judges around the country.
September 23, 2012
Much attention was given at the Democratic National Convention held recently in Charlotte, N.C., to the fact that all references to God had been purged from the draft version of the party platform. After outcries of protest from outside as well as within the Democratic Party, the sentence with the same reference to God used in 2008 was restored to read, "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."