Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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December 10, 2017
In recent days, news reports have been filled with stories about accusations of sexual harassment involving powerful figures in the entertainment and media industries such as Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., political journalist Mark Halperin, veteran TV talk-show host Charlie Rose, Today Show co-host Matt Lauer, and the author and radio personality Garrison Keillor. Politicians such as Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Congressman John Conyers of Michigan have also been accused of sexual misconduct. In light of these scandals alleging abuse of power to coerce sexual favors, some commentators have been asking questions such as: Is office romance still allowed? Are new rules needed for the workplace?
November 26, 2017
We are now coming to the conclusion of our fourth diocesan synod, which has spanned most of this calendar year. On Sunday, Jan. 22, we held the Prayer Service for the Opening of the Preliminary Phase of the Diocesan Synod at our Cathedral in Springfield. The Synod Preparatory Commission developed a series of questions inviting people to reflect on the meaning of discipleship in their lives, namely, that being a disciple is to have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
October 29, 2017
On Saturday, Nov. 4, I will run the Indianapolis Marathon, God willing. Since beginning my marathon training on July 1, I have run 535 miles, including three long training runs of 20, 21 and 21.2 miles, so I should be ready to go. If all goes well, this will be my 23rd marathon. One of the reasons why I run marathons is to raise money for worthwhile causes. In the course of my 22 marathons, I have raised more than $460,000.00 for various charities. This year, my designated fundraising cause for the Indianapolis Marathon is “Running for Priestly Vocations.” Why is this needed? From a financial perspective, those of you with children or grandchildren in college know the cost of higher education. The cost of sending seminarians to college seminary and graduate theology in the major seminary is comparable. To give you an idea of the costs for our seminarians, our budget this fiscal year for 24 seminarians is $1,029,391, which comes to approximately $42,900 per seminarian.
October 15, 2017
Gov. Rauner’s broken promise and signing of taxpayer-funded abortion is shameful, but it is even more disgraceful that so many of the legislators who promoted and voted for House Bill 40 are Catholic. No one can facilitate the killing of unborn babies and still be a Catholic in good standing. No one can support abortion rights and claim to be following the teachings of Jesus Christ and his church. Christianity and abortion are inherently incompatible. From the very first century, The Teaching of the Apostles (known as the Didache) taught, “Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.”
October 01, 2017
Earlier this year the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 40, an abortion bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion to Medicaid recipients and to those receiving state health care. It also aims to preserve the legality of abortion in Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court should strike down Roe v. Wade. Last April, Gov. Bruce Rauner promised to veto HB 40 if it reached his desk, saying, “What we should not do is take on controversial divisive issues right now when we don’t have a balanced budget, when we do not have proper school funding, when we do not have economic growth and job creation. We should not take on divisive, controversial issues, and expanding taxpayer funding [for abortion] is a controversial divisive issue.” In recent days, the governor’s spokesperson indicated that he is now undecided about whether to keep his promise to veto House Bill 40.
September 17, 2017
Article VI of the United States Constitution mandates that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” Despite this prohibition on making one’s religious beliefs a basis for appointment to governmental office in the United States, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois either is not aware or chose to ignore this basic principle of the United States Constitution in his questioning of Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Professor Barrett’s nomination to serve as a federal judge on the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago. In his line of questioning on Sept. 6, 2017, Durbin asked Barrett, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” This question does not address any particular legal or moral issue, but focuses squarely on her religion. Whether Barrett is an orthodox Catholic or an unorthodox Catholic or any kind of Catholic is totally irrelevant to a person’s qualifications to serve as a federal judge and in my opinion it was unethical and unconstitutional for Durbin to make her religious beliefs a test for public office.
September 03, 2017
Living in Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln lived for over 20 years before he was elected president, we are frequently reminded of his crucial role in ending slavery as a legal institution in the United States. Although slavery officially ended on Dec. 6, 1865, the day the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, racial segregation would continue under the protection of the law until the United States Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools with their 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended all state and local laws requiring public segregation. Although slavery and segregation are no longer legally enforced, one cannot say that all racial divisions in our country have been overcome. A very ugly manifestation of the residual racial tensions that continue to afflict our country was seen recently in the violent demonstrations that took place in Charlottesville, Va. The violence there was sparked by a member of a white nationalist group who drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others. These racist impulses and actions must be thoroughly denounced and entirely rejected as being morally unacceptable.
August 20, 2017
In keeping with this call for a calm and rational approach to the situation in Korea, it will be helpful to recall the words of the Catholic Bishops of the United States in their 1983 pastoral letter on war and peace entitled, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response. The context of The Challenge of Peace was the Cold War nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. Today’s tensions between the United States and North Korea evoke similar concerns about the threat of a military conflict escalating into a more expanded and potentially destructive use of missiles and weapons, including nuclear bombs. Thus, The Challenge of Peace is pertinent to the situation facing us today.
August 06, 2017
This past July 27-29, I attended the Napa Institute Conference in Napa, Cali. The overall theme for the conference was, “Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Christian Faith in a Post-Christian World.” The theme was taken from the book by that title published recently by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.
July 23, 2017
Once again people are left with incomplete or even false information if they rely on the secular media for news about the Catholic Church. This time, the issue pertains to the question about holy Communion for people who cannot tolerate any gluten in their food. A cursory reading of headlines in the secular media, which unfortunately is what too many people do in terms of keeping up with the news, would lead one to believe that a new document from an insensitive Pope Francis and his advisors at the Vatican now make it impossible for people with celiac disease and others who are gluten-intolerant to receive holy Communion. That is simply not true. People with gluten intolerance still have valid options for partaking in the Eucharist.