Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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October 13, 2019
The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region is meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican this month from Oct. 6 to Oct. 27. While it would seem that this meeting should only concern people from that region, nothing in our world of instant global communication remains confined to one geographic area anymore, and so we should be familiar with what is being discussed at this synod.
September 29, 2019
As we approach the month of October, we should also remember that October is Respect Life Month and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. During the month of October, the church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life. The Respect Life theme this year is Christ our Hope: In Every Season of Life.
September 15, 2019
We are living in very confused and confusing times, when longstanding truths from time immemorial are not only being questioned but are being rejected outright. One of these basic truths is the reality that people are born into the world as male or female. Proponents of transgender theory argue that gender is fluid and cannot be confined to binary categories of male and female.
September 01, 2019
As we celebrate Labor Day this year on Sept. 2, this is a good time for us to reflect on the meaning of work, why we work, and what we hope to gain from our work. At its most basic level, people work to earn a living to pay the bills. But if that is all that it means, our work quickly becomes nothing more than boring tasks that we must do if we want to collect our paycheck. Work takes on a deeper meaning when it is done for a higher purpose and not just narrow self-interest.
August 18, 2019
Thirty-two people were killed in a period of less than 13 hours over the weekend of Aug. 3-4. The first shooting, in El Paso, Texas, killed 22. Nine more died, plus the shooter, in an attack in Dayton, Ohio. In addition to those atrocities, that same weekend 15 people were shot in two separate incidents in Chicago. Although reports of such senseless violence are unfortunately becoming more common, they still continue to shock and sadden us, as they should. The response to such violence has become quite predictable as people tend to assign blame according to their own ideologies.
August 04, 2019
I was in California twice in the past two weeks. First, I concelebrated the Solemn Mass of Dedication of Christ Cathedral with Bishop Kevin Vann in the Diocese of Orange on July 17. Then I participated in the Napa Institute’s Annual Conference July 22-27. There were several of us from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois at the dedication of Christ Cathedral in a show of support for Bishop Vann, a native son of our diocese, who served in various capacities in our Diocesan Curia and in several parishes, most notably as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Decatur and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield. The following week I participated in the Napa Institute’s Annual Conference. We spoke of the various measures that have been adopted by the Holy See, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and in our respective dioceses to address the scandals that have been in the news during the past year.
July 21, 2019
The phrase, “If you see something, say something,” has also made its way into safe environment training programs to encourage people to report suspected sexual abuse of minors. In fact, state law mandates some people who work with children to report suspected child abuse, such as teachers, school administrators, healthcare practitioners, law enforcement personnel, social service and child-care workers, as well as clergy (except when revealed in sacramental confession). While reporting suspected abuse and suspicious activity can help prevent crimes, care must be taken to make sure that such suspicions are not spurious, given the harm to a person’s good name and reputation that can come from false accusations. Suspicious situations should also be brought to the attention of the proper authorities, lest the suspicions become simply the subject of idle chatter, habitual gossip, and rumor-mongering.
July 07, 2019
This past June 22 marked the ninth anniversary of my installation as bishop of our Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. That day was also the feast day of my patronal saints: St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. It was a special blessing to mark this occasion by visiting some of the historic places associated with these two great martyrs in their homeland of England. The main reason for my visit to England was to deliver two lectures at the University of Oxford.
June 23, 2019
During the week of June 10-14, I was in Baltimore attending the meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), during which we made substantial progress in addressing the recent issues that have confronted us in the church. The outcome of these meetings was that we voted to approve directives designed to implement the document Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world), issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable. We also approved the document, Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments and the Protocol regarding Available Nonpenal Restrictions on Bishops who have resigned or have been removed due to misconduct or negligence in office. In addition, we voted to authorize the implementation of a third-party reporting system that would allow people to make confidential reports of abuse complaints against bishops through a toll-free telephone number and online.
June 09, 2019
A new divide is separating our nation again between North and South, this time over the issue of abortion. In recent weeks, we have seen governors in states like Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Louisiana sign legislation banning abortion at various stages, while states like New York and Illinois have passed laws purported to declare abortion a fundamental right at all stages of pregnancy, right up to the moment of birth. In the 19th century, it was the North that was on the right side of morality in opposing the evil of slavery. Now, in the 21st century, it is the South that is on the right side of morality in seeking to outlaw the evil of abortion. On May 31, shortly before they were scheduled to adjourn at midnight, the Illinois Senate approved Senate Bill 25, which, among other things, purports to declare abortion to be a fundamental right, requires private insurance to pay for abortions, and declares that an unborn baby does not have independent rights under the laws of this state.