Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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February 19, 2017
The Boy Scouts of America announced on Jan. 30, 2017, that, “Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.” In other words, the Boy Scouts of America will accept youth members for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who self-identify as male regardless of the child’s biological sex or physical anatomy from birth. In light of the recent announcement from the Boy Scouts of America, it was very timely that I attended a conference on transgender issues presented in Irving, Texas, by the National Catholic Bioethics Center. There was much valuable information provided to the bishops who attended this conference, so I would like to share some of the more important points with you.
February 05, 2017
In our efforts to call people to discipleship, we should follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles. In the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, two Disciples followed Jesus and asked him, “Where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see” (John 1:39). Still in the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, just a few verses later, Jesus says to Philip, “Follow me.” Philip then finds Nathanael and tells him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see” (John 1:43-46).
January 22, 2017
Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. marks the opening of the preliminary phase of the diocesan synod with a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield. In the months ahead during this calendar year of 2017, our diocesan synod will consider how we can make a communal commitment as a diocesan community of clergy and laity regarding discipleship and stewardship as a way of life. Closely related to this will be for us to look at how we can foster community-wide support of Catholic education so that more students will be able to attend Catholic schools.
January 08, 2017
The beginning of a new year is typically a time to make resolutions to do something better, different or new. It is fitting that we make such resolutions at the start of this new year not only for ourselves individually, but also for our diocese collectively. In order to do that, I have decided that during this Year of Our Lord 2017 we will celebrate our fourth Diocesan Synod. The previous diocesan synods were held in 1889 (when our diocese was based in Alton), 1953 and 1963. Since it has been more than half a century since our previous diocesan synod, you might say that we are long overdue to have another one!
December 25, 2016
This past Dec. 10, was a very historic day in the life of our diocese: the exhumation of the mortal remains of Father Augustine Tolton took place at St. Peter Cemetery in Quincy that day. Born April 1, 1854, he was the first full-blooded African-American Catholic priest in the United States. A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, he studied formally in Rome. He was ordained in Rome on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield), Father Tolton first ministered in Quincy, and later served in Chicago.
December 11, 2016
As an Advent people, we are people of hope and expectation. We live in hope and expectation of our Lord’s second coming. We also live in the hope of improved relationships with other people and the expectation that our relationships can indeed be improved to become more caring and more loving. We should never give up on anyone, but always have hope that God’s grace can touch the hearts of those who hunger for his nourishment, which he gives us now in the gift of this Eucharist.
November 27, 2016
“Christ the King” means that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. “Lord” means that He is Master of all that we have and all that we are. My body, my money, my vocation, my life — everything — belongs to God. “Savior” means that He came to save us, not Himself. We can see that in the Gospel account of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. One of them said, “If you are a King, come down from that cross and save yourself!” Jesus did not come down from the cross, because unlike earthly kings who are primarily concerned with their own benefit, Jesus stayed on the cross to die for our sins because He was concerned with our salvation. We are called to give ourselves completely to Christ our King because He has given Himself totally for us.
November 13, 2016
Catholics who wish to make sure that they receive a proper Catholic funeral with a Mass of Christian Burial should include their instructions in their last will and should discuss their wishes with whomever will be responsible for their funeral arrangements when they die. People can also pre-arrange their own funerals with a funeral director according to their wishes and instructions in keeping with our Catholic faith.
October 30, 2016
Folks here in central Illinois are certainly familiar with the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, which were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Illinois, and incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. Although Douglas won re-election to the Senate that year, the debates set the stage for the presidential election two years later in which Lincoln emerged victorious.
October 16, 2016
Our diocese is blessed with seven Catholic high schools located across central Illinois: Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield, St. Teresa High School in Decatur, Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, Routt Catholic High School in Jacksonville, Quincy Notre Dame High School in Quincy, St. Anthony Catholic High School in Effingham and the newest: Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, which was founded in 2012. All seven of these Catholic high schools provide excellent academics, religious formation, athletics and other extracurricular activities. These various components of our Catholic high schools are not separate silos with no connection to each other. All of them work together with the goal of educating well-rounded individuals who are grounded in the values of the Catholic faith and are prepared intellectually, emotionally and spiritually for successful careers and family life as responsible citizens.