RIP Francis Cardinal George

Chicago's Francis Cardinal George

Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George

Chicago’s Archbishop Emeritus, Francis Cardinal George died at 78 today, finally succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Doctors had told him it was terminal last December. George was appointed Archbishop of Chicago in 1997 after the death of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.

He served three terms as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, leading the fight against Obamacare. In the midst of that fight, George and other Catholic leaders were often accused of “politicizing” religion. In a 2014 interview with America, a Jesuit Magazine, turned those charges right back on his accusers, saying, “I don’t believe the bishops have been more politically active in recent years, but it is true that our political activity is more adversarial as the law no longer permits the exceptions that used to safeguard believers whose conscience will not permit them to approve of what has become lawful.”

Perhaps his most famous statement came in 2010. Surveying the already growing assault on religious liberty, George said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” The first part of his prophetic witness has come to pass. May we pray and act in a manner that will forestall the latter two.

Rest in Peace, Cardinal George.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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30 Responses to RIP Francis Cardinal George

  1. Becky-TN says:

    God Bless him!

    Pray for us, Cardinal George! We have no idea what we’re doing! Have mercy, O’Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. audiemarie2014 says:

    This makes me sad, yet happy Cardinal George no longer suffers and is now helping us from heaven. The picture of him above is so sweet. Whenever I experience pain, whether it be physical and/or mental, I will think of Cardinal George for courage. Rest in peace, Francis Cardinal George.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jim M. says:

    A knight has fallen.

    I pray he was in Heaven an hour before the devil knew he was dead.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Lizzyjane says:

    Because he held fast to his faith in the wake of the political storm of Obamacare, may our Dear Lord give him swift entrance into His kingdom….may he RIP+++

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Unrein says:

    Cardinal George helped begin a new order to secure the sacred its web site is
    His legacy continues!! May he rest in peace and continue his shepherding!! Heaven is very active these days!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      The canons, a wonderful order, may be moving to Springfield. The new Archbishop is not so enthused about them – but they will be welcomed in Springfield, whose wonderful Bishop, Thomas Paprocki, is a profound defender of the faith.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mary Ann says:

        That is tragic. They are literally named for the parish that they revived and that is their center. Some master of the spiritual life once commented that the greatest trials come from the Church itself.


        • Petra says:

          Mary Ann: I think there is some misunderstanding here regarding the Canons Regular of St. John Cansius in Chicago. It is my parish, and there is absolutely no indication they are leaving Chicago. In fact, they are growing. Four more young men (in their 20’s) have begun the novitiate this past year.
          It’s my understanding two of the more recently ordained priests (and they are excellent men, believe me) are being assigned to the Springfield diocese as the request of the bishop there. From information published in the bulletin, they will be going sometime this summer. I am not certain of their mission, except probably to offer the Traditional Latin Mass and rites in that diocese, and instruct priests there on them. Other than that, there does not seem to be any opposition to the Canons Regular in Chicago, even though some people (so far just unfounded speculation as far as I can tell) opined Archbishop Cupich would be against them. If something does occur, I’ll let you all know.


          • charliej373 says:

            If it is a rumor it is my fault. Someone close to them told me this is something they are quietly dealing with now. My friend in the matter is usually reliable, but sometimes gets a bit ahead of himself. He is a valuable source of leads, but I always double-check what he gives me lest this is one of those occasional times he has misinterpreted. I did not double-check this, so I can’t be sure whether it is a real concern or just reasonable fears overstated. My apologies.


          • Petra says:

            Well, Charlie, I also may not be in the know being just a person in the pews. I am not in any kind of inner circle there, and so could also not be informed to everything. I hope I didn’t overstate what I think I know.


  6. Jacquie says:

    There was an awards ceremony in Peoria, Illinois, I attended with my step father and mother back in the mid or early 1990’s. Cardinal George was the main speaker. I will never forget a segment of his talk where he told the audience, “prepare your children for martyrdom “. Obviously, there was much more he said but that part I will never forget.
    Yes, I believe he had everyone’s attention at that point. This was long before there was the kind trouble that is so obvious today.
    Eternal Rest Grant to Your Servant, O Lord. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a man who truly understood, his words are evidence of that. In the heavenly beatitude now sits a Servant of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joanp62 says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And may your perpetual Light shine upon him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. May this saintly man rest in peace and pray for us who have to face the battle down here, may his sufferings help to atone for the sins of a nation that has lost her soul.

    And may I add thank you to all of you here in this family that have sent me messages asking why I am “lost.” Well, I am not lost, I am just fighting a very difficult battle. Your prayers are felt. This is my opportunity to put my money where my mouth (or pen) is. I am grateful I can fight this battle for Jesus and Mary but I am more grateful for the prayers that give me the strength to continue. The final result is uncertain but I trust that ultimately, good will prevail over evil. I t is not fun to face evil so close but that is my lot and I must accept it. There is no other way.

    I haven’t been able to post mush at DELUMEN or any of the other sites due to sheer exhaustion and lack of time. The time to pay for the server is drawing near so the sites may disappear entirely but I also trust the Lord will keep them alive if they are any good. The center of the problem now is mere money and God owns all the gold and silver so He will provide eventually like He has been doing steadily for the last eight years. May He bless all of you without exception.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Kathleen Vacheresse says:

    CWhen Cardinal George adjusted the quote about his successor would die a martyr added “Because of the drift of the American society and almost seeming to prophesy a Church of the Cstacomb. s in the not too distant future that is one driven underground by increasing secularison. This sounds like what we are called to do. His faithful life is our model into the STORM , through the STORM and the rebuilding after Our Lady’s Triumph. Here we are Lord we have come to do your will.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mack says:

    The book the Cardinal published a few years ago, “God in Action” is truly excellent, a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the battle lines between secularism and religion in our society. Secularism is taking over, obviously, but many people do not realize how this will lead to loss of our democratic freedoms. The cardinal was prophetic, for we are seeing this now, in the battles over gay unions, etc. Cardinal George said that if we claim we have freedom of the press and allow newspapers to operate but not to publish editorial opinions, there would be no true freedom of the press. The same is true with religion. If it taken to mean only freedom to worship in one’s own church, while the Church is prevented from having any voice in the public square, then we have a secularist takeover and our democratic freedoms will erode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      Every time I hear someone say we must keep religion “out of the public square” I think of Jesus’ command to be like yeast – which incorporates into all the dough and makes the whole mixture rise. Or Him saying, no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket – they put it on a lamp stand to light the whole room. Forcing us to curtail God’s work of bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth is wrong. It is the enemy trying to make us think we are imposing. And we are – on him and his kingdom.
      This week the scripture readings at Mass describe the early days after Jesus’ Resurrection. Re-read those chapters. They are so interesting and instructive for our times.
      When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
      and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
      the high priest questioned them,
      “We gave you strict orders did we not,
      to stop teaching in that name.
      Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
      and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
      But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
      “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:27-30
      It goes on to say the Sanhedrin had them flogged, and the Apostles rejoiced they were found worthy to suffer something in His name.
      “And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
      they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.” Acts 5:42

      Liked by 1 person

  12. jmhem5 - John, in the diocese of Peoria, IL says:

    May he rest in peace and rise in Glory!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A Quiet Person says:

    Hi Carlos, I too face evil up close and I agree . . . if you want NO fun, this is definitely the way to go! Facing evil has seemed to be my lot in life as well. Over the past several years, like Job, I often asked, “Why me?” especially because I see myself as so . . . quiet. One priest who knew of my various trials over the years would simply say to me, ” You are good.” (He did not say perfect!) But he would say, “You are good and that goodness threatens people.” And the implication is that that goodness makes unstable people even crazier in trying to prove that the goodness is actually evil. Another priest says to me, “You are a light” meaning that evil that thrives in the darkness does not like light and will try to put it out. I think all of us here are good, and seriously trying to be even better. Because that goodness comes from Jesus we will be threatened, like Jesus, but soon, very soon, we will win, with Jesus. Meanwhile, be assured of my prayers during this difficult time.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Anne says:

    Cardinal George’s funeral….April 23 ….the feast of st George…I know cos it would be my father’s birthday if still here.
    Most appropriate considering his name!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CrewDog says:

      My Birthday too and as an old Military Man, St. George has a double meaning for me! 😉
      RIP Cardinal George. Amen!

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

    Crew Dog,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON APRIL 23!!!!! (in my best Crew Dog imitation 🙂 I love your all capital letter closings!)
    And, thank you for your military service.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. DanSouthChicago says:

    Very nice farewell for Cardinal George today. We went to the cathedral this morning to say our goodbyes and I felt a different type of sadness. Yes, he will be missed, but I think it’s because he’s the kind of priest that we need more of these days. He said that he was neither conservative nor liberal. He was Catholic, and he did not compromise on that. May Our Lord smile upon him.
    (Plus, he was a Cubs fan, so he had that going for him!)
    And happy birthday, Crew Dog!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Mick says:

    Oh, I can’t wait until Cardinal George’s book is published! Apparently, he was still polishing up the manuscript in his final days:


  18. jlynnbyrd says:

    I served on His Eminence’s Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Cardinal Francis George was brilliant in so many ways. When he spoke to you, you felt as if you were the only one on earth. Over many years in different venues, he always addressed me by name. It did occur to me at one point that wearing my name tag probably helped. 😉 At our meetings he jotted down every question and concern and carefully addressed each one of them, carefully lining them out one by one as he did. He had to carry the burden of the great crises of Our Church and sincerely worked to put into place measures to deal with them on many levels as the Cardinal and later as the President of the USCCB.
    He had a great demeanor of calm and humor. In the last years of Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II’s life and there was a lot of fear and chatter on a Divine Mercy Forum about Our Pope giving up on life due to not taking his meds. At the time, during a weekend retreat at the beautiful Mundelein Seminary, I sat down next to Cardinal Francis George at breakfast and asked him outright about their concerns. With such grace and a warm smile he assured me that he knew personally that Pope John Paul had to stop taking a prescribed medicine due to adverse reactions with other meds in order to stay strong and carry on his mission, which he did with great suffering until the very end. He added that he appreciated the possibilities that the internet can bring, however speculation and misrepresentations spread online were a cause of concern to him as well. He asked me to be sure that the forum members were told the truth. I obliged his request.
    Cardinal Francis George was also the keynote speaker in a Chicago Archdiocese Catechesis Formation Conference. This was my first year teaching and he told the auditorium of R.E. teachers present that what we were responsible not only to for the religious formation of our students but to the formation of the entire Universal Church. I was so overwhelmed and immediately thought I am not equipped to handle this. As my path would lead, I had the honor to teach seventh grade (pre-confirmation) classes for eight years afterwards. The Holy Spirit shined through my inadequacies on so many occasions thru my words and actions, thanks be to God. Another great message he offered was that the seeds of faith that we plant may not come to fruition in our lifetime and that was our cross to loving bear with trust.
    He was so pivotal in deepening my faith and in hindsight was spreading the message of Trust-Do-Love too. RIP and pray for us beloved Cardinal Francis George.


    • charliej373 says:

      He was a fine man, a great Cardinal, and a true credit to the Church. The few times I met and spoke with him, his graceful way and occasionally impish sense of humor put me immediately at ease. I am so proud he was my Cardinal Archbishop for a time. What a man to be formed under! Thank you for carrying on his work.

      Liked by 1 person

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