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Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love
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Where are you and I after five years as your bishop?
June 28, 2015
Monday, June 22, marked the fifth anniversary of my installation as the ninth Bishop of Springfield in Illinois. Anytime we look back at a period of time in our lives, it is natural to look for highlights and accomplishments, as well as to take note of things that did not go as well as anticipated. Starting with the latter, it was a real disappointment that the civil unions act was passed and signed into law during my first year as Bishop in Springfield, resulting in the state of Illinois canceling our contract for foster care and adoption services because we would not place children with couples living contrary to the teachings of our faith. This misfortune was exacerbated in 2013 with the State attempting to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. I say “attempt” because the State has no moral authority to change a natural institution created by God. It certainly has the legal power in civil law to coerce its definition, but that does not make it morally valid in the higher realm of supernatural realities.
What that middle initial in my dad’s name could mean
June 14, 2015
Last month in celebration of Mother’s Day, I shared my brother Joe’s reflections about our mom, Veronica Paprocki. In anticipation of Father’s Day, I want to share with you some reflections from the homily that I gave at my dad’s funeral on Dec. 16, 1997.
Invitation to the faithful to participate in Corpus Christi processions
May 31, 2015
Sunday, June 7, is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known by its Latin name of Corpus Christi. Last year to mark this occasion I published my first Pastoral Letter, Ars Celebrandi et Adorandi (On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy Properly and Adoring the Lord in the Eucharist Devoutly). The Eucharist is essentially God’s efficacious action, but we can either cooperate with God’s grace by celebrating the Eucharistic liturgy properly or hinder its effects by failing to do so. Celebrating Holy Mass properly, with a welcoming and caring community, good music, inspiring preaching, heartfelt prayer and an environment conducive to prayer, will attract people to participate and deepen their connection to God and the church. An unfriendly and uncaring community, bad music, poor preaching, insincere prayer and an environment distracting from prayer will turn people away.
My mother, Veronica, receives ‘the greatest gift you can imagine’
May 17, 2015
In celebration of Mother's Day on Sunday, May 10, my brother Joe wrote a wonderful tribute about our mother on his blog (http://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/) that I would like to share with you. It is titled, Veronica: True Icon — A Tribute to My Mom:
Episcopal motto of Cardinal George: ‘To Christ be Glory in the Church’
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.
Not a ‘license to discriminate,’ rather, fairness for all
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.
Indulgences are from the spiritual treasury of God’s graces
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.
Pope Francis reveals a great gift to the Catholic Church
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.”
We must recognize, name and resolve to overcome evil
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.
Examine your life; conformity to God’s plan or contrary to it?
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.
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