Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Apostolic Church

During the ten days spent with the Bishops of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin on our ad limina visit to Rome, cold weather helped keep us focused on our purpose.

First, it was a pilgrimage, a time of prayer focused on the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.  We are an apostolic church because we believe what the apostles taught and because the bishops are their visible successors as pastors of the church.  When the bishops gathered in front of the tomb of St. Peter and recited together the Apostles’ Creed (which is a second century baptismal creed of the Roman church), our reason for being in Rome came together in our hearts with our thoughts and prayers for the priests and people in our dioceses.  These prayers were the high point of our time in Rome.

Second, it was a time to strengthen our governance of the church.  The bishops receive authority from Christ to govern his church.  The sexual abuse crisis is upon us because bishops did not govern priests who did not govern themselves.  Exercising episcopal authority often elicits opposition, but not exercising it destroys the church.  Meeting with the Holy Father and with the heads of the various offices of the Roman curia helped us to return to our dioceses more united with the Pope and one another.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to see that all of us are one in prayer and faith, in governance and love.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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