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Francis George

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Francis George

His Eminence
Francis Eugene George
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago
Cardinal George at the May 2011 inauguration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Diocese Chicago
See Chicago
Appointed April 8, 1997
Installed May 7, 1997
Term ended November 18, 2014
Predecessor Joseph Bernardin
Successor Blase J. Cupich
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Bartolomeo all'Isola
Ordination December 21, 1963
by Raymond Peter Hillinger
Consecration September 21, 1990
by Agostino Cacciavillan
Created Cardinal January 18, 1998
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Francis Eugene George
Born (1937-01-16)January 16, 1937
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 17, 2015(2015-04-17) (aged 78)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Buried All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Francis J. and Julia R. (nee McCarthy) George
Previous post
Motto Christo gloria in ecclesia
(To Christ be Glory in the Church)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Francis George
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Chicago (emeritus)

Francis Eugene George, OMI (January 16, 1937 – April 17, 2015) was an American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago. He was the eighth Archbishop of Chicago (1997–2014) and previously served as Bishop of Yakima (1990–1996) and Archbishop of Portland, Oregon (1996–1997).

A member of the cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1998. He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010.

On September 20, 2014, Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, to succeed him as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. In this unusual circumstance, George was permitted to remain as the incumbent archbishop until Cupich was installed to succeed him on November 18, 2014. He was initially diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and died from the disease in 2015.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Priesthood 2
  • Early episcopacy 3
  • Archbishop of Chicago 4
    • Interfaith relations 4.1
    • Comments on homosexuality 4.2
  • Extra-diocesan posts 5
  • Retirement 6
    • Final illness 6.1
    • Successor 6.2
  • Death, reaction, and legacy 7
    • Reactions 7.1
    • Afterward 7.2
  • Legacy 8
  • Possible beatification 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Early life and education

Francis George was born on January 16, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, to Francis J. and Julia R. (née McCarthy) George.[1] He has an older sister, Margaret.[2] He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Pascal Church in Chicago's Northwest Side.[3]

George contracted polio at age 13.[4] Due to his disability, he was rejected by Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, and instead enrolled at St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, a high school seminary of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.[5] He joined the Missionary Oblates on August 14, 1957.[1] He continued his studies at the Oblates novitiate in Godfrey before entering Our Lady of the Snows Seminary in Pass Christian, Mississippi.[3]

George was then sent to study theology at the University of Ottawa in Canada.[6] He made his solemn vows as a member of the Missionary Oblates on September 8, 1961.[3]


On December 21, 1963, George was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Raymond Hillinger at his home parish of St. Pascal Church.[7] He received a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree from the University of Ottawa in 1964, followed by a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1965.[6] He then taught philosophy at Our Lady of the Snows Seminary in Pass Christian (1964–69), Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana (1968), and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska (1969–1973).[1]

During his teaching assignments, George earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in American Philosophy from Tulane University in 1970, and a Master of Theology degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971.[2] He served as provincial superior of the Midwestern Province for the Missionary Oblates in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1973 until 1974, when he became vicar general of his religious order.[3] Based in Rome, he served as vicar general for 12 years. He obtained a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in 1988, with a thesis entitled: "Inculturation and communion".[6]

George returned to the United States, where he served as coordinator of the Circle of Fellows at the Center for the Study of Faith and Culture in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1987–90).[2]

Early episcopacy

On July 10, 1990, George was appointed the fifth Bishop of Yakima in Washington by Pope John Paul II.[7] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, with Bishops Roger Schwietz, OMI, and William S. Skylstad serving as co-consecrators, at Holy Family Church in Yakima.[7] He took as his episcopal motto: Christo Gloria in Ecclesia (Latin: "To Christ be Glory in the Church").[8]

George served the Diocese of Yakima for five and a half years. As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), he served as chair of the Commission for Bishops and Scholars (1992–1994), and as a consultant to the Committees on Evangelization (1991–93), Hispanic Affairs (1994–97), and Science and Values (1994–97).[1] He was episcopal advisor to the Cursillo Movement (Region XII) from 1990 to 1997, and episcopal moderator of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities from 1990 to 2008. He was a papal appointee to the 1994 World Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life, and attended the Ninth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City in October 1994.[6]

On April 30, 1996, George was appointed the ninth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon.[7] He was installed on the following May 27 at St. Mary's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. During his brief tenure, he led the Archdiocese's response to a tape recording by the Lane County jail of an inmate's sacramental confession; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled that the tape recording was an unconstitutional and illegal act.[3]

Archbishop of Chicago

Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop George the eighth Archbishop of Chicago to fill a vacancy left by the death of Cardinal Holy Name Cathedral.

On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George's elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals[9] with the title of Cardinal-Priest of San Bartolomeo all'Isola, which occurred at the consistory at the Vatican on February 21.

George was one of the 2005 cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave which selected Pope Benedict XVI, and one of the 2013 cardinal electors in the papal conclave of 2013 that selected Pope Francis.

George published a locally well-read column bi-monthly in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper of which he, while archbishop, was publisher, The Catholic New World, called "The Cardinal's Column". He was also the Publisher of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Hispanic newspaper, Chicago Católico.

He has published at least two pastoral letters. The first, "Becoming An Evangelizing People", was released on November 21, 1997. The second was a major discourse on the sinful and destructive nature of racism, Dwell in My Love, released on April 4, 2001.

The Cardinal was the author of two books. The first, The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture, was published in October 2009 by Crossroad Publishing Company. It is a collection of essays exploring our relationship with God, the responsibility of communion and the transformation of culture. His most recent book, God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World, was published in May 2011 by Doubleday Religion. In this collection of essays, he reflects on the significance of religious faith in the public sphere and underscores the unique contributions of religion to the common good.

George was also known for continuing the work of his predecessor Cardinal Bernardin, regarding young people in the church – specifically, by addressing the archdiocese's annual Theology on Tap gathering in 1997. In his invitation to the event, he wrote, “You are very important members of the Church. Your energy, talent and faith will give me much help as together we build up our local Church to be a vital presence in the Chicago area. Together we can continue the mission of Jesus Christ to bring the Gospel of love, forgiveness and holiness to all the places where we live and encounter others.”

George was a member of the board of trustees of The Catholic University of America and a member of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.[9]

In March 2009, George met with newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama.[10] In the fall of 2010, he finished his three-year presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Interfaith relations

In 2007, he asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus in the Talmud as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity.[11] In 2009, he condemned negationist declarations made by bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.[12]

In 2010, he spoke at

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Stephen Skylstad
Bishop of Yakima
Succeeded by
Carlos Arthur Sevilla SJ
Preceded by
William Levada
Archbishop of Portland
Succeeded by
John George Vlazny
Preceded by
Joseph Bernardin
Archbishop of Chicago
Succeeded by
Blase J. Cupich
Preceded by
Mario Revollo Bravo
Cardinal-Priest of San Bartolomeo all’Isola
Preceded by
William Stephen Skylstad
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Succeeded by
Timothy Michael Dolan
  • Cardinal George Fanclub – news coverage, commentary & resources
  • Archdiocese of Chicago – official site
  • Catholic New World Newspaper
  • Parish Directory
  • Quotes by Cardinal Francis George, OMI - Quotes
  • Quotes by others about Cardinal Francis George, OMI - Quotes by others about ...
  • George's catholic-pages bio

External links

  1. ^ a b c d "Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.".  
  2. ^ a b c McCloskey, Pat. "Part 2: Cardinal George's Second Job". American Catholic. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop Francis Eugene George, OMI".  
  4. ^ "Cardinal George a hero to polio survivors".  
  5. ^ Kerrill, Tamara (April 9, 1997). "The pride of St. Pascal's". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Miranda, Salvador. "GEORGE, O.M.I., Francis Eugene (1937– )". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  7. ^ a b c d Cheney, David. "Francis Eugene Cardinal George, O.M.I.". 
  8. ^ "Coat Of Arms".  
  9. ^ a b c d e "Francis George Biography". Archdiocese of Chicago. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Obama Meets With Cardinal Francis George, America's Top Bishop, Gilgoff, Dan, U.S. News and World Report, March 8, 2009.
  11. ^ Cardinal calls for textual revision, Martin, Ben,, October 6, 2007.
  12. ^ "'"President of U.S. Bishops Says Holocaust Denial 'Deeply Offensive and Utterly False.  
  13. ^ LDS, Catholics must defend religious freedom, cardinal says at BYU, Israelsen-Hartley, Sara, Deseret News, February 24, 2010.
  14. ^ Tim Drake (October 24, 2012). "'"The Myth and the Reality of 'I'll Die in My Bed.  
  15. ^ Francis George (October 21, 2012). "The Cardinal's Column - The wrong side of history".  
  16. ^ "'"Cardinal Francis George Warns That Chicago Gay Pride Parade Might 'Morph Into Ku Klux Klan. Fox News Chicago. December 21, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Cardinal Defends KKK Analogy, Stokes Controversy".  
  18. ^ Erbentraut, Joseph (December 29, 2011). "Cardinal George Stands By KKK Comment, Calls For His Resignation Continue". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  19. ^ Brachear, Manya A. (January 7, 2012). "Cardinal George apologizes for remarks comparing gay rights movement to KKK". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Cardinal Apologizes For Linking Gay Parade To KKK". Huffington Post. January 7, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Cardinal George warns against Illinois same-sex marriage law". National Catholic Reporter. January 3, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  22. ^ George, Francis (September 7–20, 2014). "The Cardinal’s Column". Catholic New World. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Cardinal George Meets With Music Director Fired After Revealing Same-Sex Marriage Plans". CBS Chicago. September 9, 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Cardinal’s statement on archdiocesan governance". Catholic New World. January 15, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c "Chicago’s exiting cardinal: ‘The Church is about true/false, not left/right’". Crux. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  26. ^ George, Francis (May 18–31, 2014). "Mary’s month". Catholic New World. Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Hirst, Ellen Jean (December 2, 2013). "Cardinal George celebrates hope, Advent". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  29. ^ "'"Cardinal George says cancer is showing 'signs of new activity. Chicago Tribune. March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  30. ^ Ford, Liam (March 18, 2014). "Cardinal George hospitalized with 'flu-like' symptoms". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ Pashman, Manya Brachear (April 11, 2014). "'"Cardinal regrets missing meeting with pope 'to report on Chicago. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  32. ^ "News and Events". Archdiocese of Chicago. August 22, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  33. ^ Yeagle, Stephanie (December 31, 2014). "Cardinal George dropped from experimental cancer treatment". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2015. 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Press Office of the Holy See (September 20, 2014). "Rinunce e nomine, 20.09.2014". Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  41. ^ Pashman, Manya; Manchir, Michelle; Mills, Steve (September 20, 2014). "Vatican names Spokane bishop to succeed Cardinal George".  
  42. ^ Associated Press (17 April 2015). "Chicago Cardinal Francis George Dies at Age 78". Time. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  43. ^ Brachear Pashman, Manya (April 17, 2015). "Cardinal Francis George dies after long struggle with cancer".  
  44. ^ a b "Reaction to Cardinal George's death".  
  45. ^ Pope Francis (April 18, 2015). "Telegram of condolence to the Holy Father for the death of Card. Francis George, OMI, 04/18/2015" (Press release). Vatican City. Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ Emanuel, Rahm (April 17, 2015). "Statement From Mayor Emanuel On Passing Of Cardinal Francis George" (Press release). Chicago, Ill. Chicago Mayor's Press Office. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  49. ^ "Cardinal George Services Schedule" (PDF). Archdiocese of Chicago. April 17, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^


See also

After his death there were some people in Chicago and outside of the archdiocese that suggested that there be an investigation into his life and works which could begin a petition for a cause for canonization. It has been suggested this petition could go hand in hand with a potential process for his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. The two were both lauded for their charitable acts in their pastoral ministries to others in their terms as archbishop as well as for their leadership of the church and for their contributions to the universal church.

Possible beatification

In May 2008, Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a famous church televangelist, active in the 1950s through the 1970s). Father Barron is the founder and head of Word on Fire Ministries; in July of 2015, Pope Francis named him one of three new Auxiliary Bishops-elect of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, California, to serve under Archbishop Jose Gomez.


Cardinal George's third and final book, a collection of personal reflections on the faith and spirituality, which he worked on until about a week before his death (he talked about it the night before he died), was released in June of 2015.[53]

A "Month's Mind Mass" celebrating the one-month anniversary of his death was celebrated on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 5:15 PM, with Holy Name Cathedral's Rector, Reverend Monsignor Dan Mayall, as principal celebrant and homilist.[52]

On April 25, 2015, a Memorial Mass at his titular church, San Bartolomeo all'Isola, in Rome, was held, with Fr. J. Francis Stafford.[51]

A Carlo Maria Vigano, and over 50 Bishops (not counting Archbishop Cupich and the Auxiliary Bishops of Chicago) concelebrated the Mass.[50]


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner stated, "He shepherded the church through some of its most trying times, but leaves behind a strong community of faith that has tremendous positive impact on the people of Illinois, regardless of their creed."[44]

Chicago Mayor [48]

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, through its current President, Archbishop Belleville, Illinois). Many prelates and public officials were expected to attend his funeral.

The Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, also sent a telegram of condolence.[46]

Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Francis E. George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, I offer heartfelt condolences to you, and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal George’s witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his service to the Church’s educational apostolate and his years of episcopal ministry in the Churches of Yakima, Portland and Chicago, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God, our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.

[45] One of Cardinal George's wishes had been to visit


A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord. ... Cardinal George was a respected leader among the bishops of the United States. When, for example, the church struggled with the grave sin of clerical sexual abuse, he stood strong among his fellow bishops and insisted that zero tolerance was the only course consistent with our beliefs. Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving. This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God. As we celebrate in these Easter days our new life in the Risen Lord, join me in offering comfort to Cardinal George's family, especially his sister, Margaret, by assuring them of our prayers, thanking God for his life and years of dedication to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Let us pray that God will bring this good and faithful servant into the fullness of the kingdom. May Cardinal George rest in peace.

In announcing his death, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich said,[44]

George died of cancer on the morning of Friday, April 17, 2015 in the archdiocesan residence in Chicago at the age of 78.[42][43]

Death, reaction, and legacy

On September 20, 2014, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal George's resignation and named Bishop Blase J. Cupich as his successor.[40][41]


On March 3, 2015, Cardinal George was admitted to Loyola University Medical Center for tests.[35][36] On March 28, George was readmitted for issues relating to pain management and hydration.[37][38] On April 3, he was released.[39]

[34] On Friday, January 30, 2015, according to an [33] He left the study by the end of the year after the drug was shown to be not effective in his case.

In August 2014, Cardinal George agreed to participate in a research clinical trial of a new drug at the University of Chicago.[32]

George was diagnosed with an aggressive but localized form of bladder cancer in 2006. In August 2012 the Archdiocese announced that his bladder cancer had returned in his kidney and liver, and that he would undergo chemotherapy.[28] The cancer returned in March 2014, and plans for aggressive chemotherapy treatments renewed speculation about his retirement.[29] He was hospitalized for a few days at Loyola University Medical Center in March 2014 after showing flu-like symptoms and signs of dehydration.[30] In April 2014, on medical advice, he canceled a trip to the Vatican. He and the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, agreed that the process for selecting his successor should begin.[31]

Final illness

On December 10, 2014, George was given the rarely-awarded Medal of Merit, the highest honor of the City of Chicago.[27]

He received an honorary doctorate from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois on May 18, 2014, and performed the annual diaconal and presbyteral ordinations that same month.[26]

The liberal/conservative thing, I think, is destructive of the Church’s mission and her life. I’ve said that publicly a lot at times. You’re taking a definition that comes out of nowhere, as far as we’re concerned, it’s a modern distinction, and making it the judgment of the Church’s life. It’s because we’re lazy. You put a label on people, you put a label on something, and it saves you the trouble of thinking".

In the same interview, when asked if he saw himself as conservative, George replied:[25]

I’ve always said that the only thing I’d like people to remember about me is that he tried to be a good bishop. I think I have been a good bishop, in many ways, and I take some pride in at least having tried my best. That’s enough. On the liturgical stuff, I knew it had to be done and that I was in a particularly key spot to see to that what’s most important in handing on the traditions of the Church, namely our way of prayer and our liturgy, was going to be more faithfully presented to the people. That meant a lot to me, because the worship of God is the most important thing we do.

In the 2014 interview Cardinal George said:[25]

I didn’t think there was any press there when I said it. I was talking to a couple of troubled priests who are worried about the secularization of our culture. I was telling them they should take the long view, step back, and renew their confidence in the providence of God. I was saying that even if the worst possible case scenario happens, we’ll be okay. It was a mental game in the Kantian sense … let’s imagine the worst thing that could happen. Instead of wringing your hands, let’s imagine the worst possible scenario and then figure out what our role might be.[25]

In a 2014 interview on his retirement, he said:

[24] On January 16, 2012, George turned 75 and formally submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI. George noted he is a rarity among Chicago's bishops for having lived to see the possibility of retirement. He named the


In July 2011, Cardinal George was chosen one of eight U.S. bishops to serve as catechists at the August 2011 World Youth Day celebration in Madrid, Spain.

He had been a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Society of Missiologists, and the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs.

Cardinal George had been Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Federal Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Grand Prior of the North Central Lieutenancy of the United States for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a member of the Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards Advisory Board. He had been a member of the Board of Directors of Oblate Media, Belleville, Illinois, since 1988.

From 1990 to 2008, he was Episcopal Moderator and member of the board of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (now known as the National Catholic Partnership on Disability). He brought personal experience to his role after a five-month bout with poliomyelitis at age 13 left him with permanent damage to his legs.

He had been the Episcopal Liaison to the Catholic Campus Ministry Association Executive Board since 1998, and had also been the Episcopal Moderator for the Ministry of Transportation Chaplains, from 2003. He also served as Episcopal Advisor to the Cursillo Movement, Region XII, from 1990 to 1997.

He was the Chancellor, from 1997 until his 2014 retirement, of the Catholic Church Extension Society. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Washington, D.C.-based The Catholic University of America, from 1993 until his death in 2015. From 1997 until his death, he had been a Trustee of the Papal Foundation. In 1994, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since 1997, he had been a member of the Board of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Because of his position as Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, since 1997, when he assumed the office, until his 2014 succession by Archbishop Cupich, he had been the de facto Chancellor of the George Mundelein, a deceased former Archbishop of Chicago).

He was Chair of the Committee for Bishops and Scholars from 1992–1994, and of the Committee on Liturgy from 2001–2004, and a consultant to the Committees on Evangelization (1991–1993), Hispanic Affairs (1994–1997), Science and Values (1994–1997), and African American Catholics (1999–2002). He was the Representative to the International Commission on English and the Liturgy from 1997–2006.

He had also served on Conference of Bishops Committees on Doctrine, on Latin America, on Missions, on Religious Life, the American Board of Catholic Missions, and on World Missions; on the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism and the Subcommittee on Campus Ministry.

He served as Vice President (2004–2007) and President (2007–2010) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He served as a member, and later as a consultant, to the Committee on Divine Worship; he was also a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities and the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry.

He was appointed by Pope Saint John Paul II to the 1994 World Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life and a delegate and one of two special secretaries at the Synod of Bishops for America in 1997. He was a delegate of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the 2001 World Synod of Bishops, and was also elected to the Council for the World Synod of Bishops in 2001. He served as a delegate of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the 2008 World Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.[9]

[9] In 2010,

Pope John Paul II appointed George to several offices of the Roman Curia:

Extra-diocesan posts

Later in September 2014, George met with a gay music director of a Catholic parish who had been fired after announcing his intention to marry his partner. The man said of the meeting: "I was just again grateful for the opportunity to meet with him, for him to know me, for him to hear my story ... I think the overall tone was again pastoral."[23]

In September 2014, in his column in the archdiocesan newspaper, he wrote that American government and society were now approving sexual relationships so at odds with Roman Catholic belief that "the church's teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes" and that "those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger." He also cited the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote that "It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law."[22]

On January 1, 2013, in a pastoral letter to the Archdiocese, George stated that the passage of a same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois, which appeared imminent, would be "acting against the common good of society. This proposed legislation will have long-term consequences because laws teach; they tell us what is socially acceptable and what is not, and most people conform to the dictates of their respective society, at least in the short run".[21]

When a new route was proposed for the 2012 annual [19] LGBT rights advocates accepted his apology.[20]

Comments on homosexuality

Later in 2010, he further outlined the degree to which he believed religious freedoms in the United States and other Western societies were endangered. In a speech to a group of priests, he said, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history."[14] The quote was originally published online without the second sentence.[15]


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