Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cardinal George on Chicago's Slaughter-Streets

"Laws cannot create a peaceful person out of someone who has not experienced, especially in his or her family, the love that teaches internal discipline. Without peace of soul, there can be no real peace on the streets, in our homes or among nations." Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago 

What were you doing between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M. on Saturday December 8th, 2012?  I was sitting in visitors lounge of the Cardinal's residence thumbing through a book penned by His Eminence The Difference God Makes.  This is a theology text that happens to be reader friendly, as well as thoughtful.

I was waiting while Cardinal George counselled two high school students who have very tough circumstances confronting them beyond the rigors of sports, scholarship and just getting to and from school without taking a few bullets. His Eminence had a few hours*out of his schedule that includes meeting big shots (clerical and lay), sitting with media ambush-artists, articulating the Catholic position on abortion, marriage, euthanasia which always gets a hot-foot from secularists and movie stars, as well as very painful chemotherapy sessions.  The Cardinal called me to find out 'how are our guys doing?'  Not so hot.  

"Bring them up, Saturday at 3 P,M."  

The dude abides.

I have been to the Cardinal's residence on a few occasions - always as a chauffeur.  The Cardinal is always a warm and gracious gent, but he is not there to see me.  The Cardinal is ministering to young guys whom our secular lifestyles, celebrated in the TV series Shameless, or on the endless reality shows, has pounded them senseless with false expectations.  Evil matriculates  at home and takes graduate-studies in nihilism out on the streets.

Little boys are threatened to 'Man-up,G!'  And warned not to be 'Bitches.'  It's all good.

Up close, we know it ain't.  Kids can only take so much nonsense from their role models and not become monsters.

Cardinal George had two teenage victims in for a couple of cans of pop, cookies made by lovely Polish nuns, and a few hours of honest pouring out of the nonsense and some prayer.

At the same time this was going on only a few blocks away, kids were just playin' on the Magnificent Mile-

Two teenage boys (both 15) were treated by a real man for a little over two hours.  They exited laughing with the most consequential man in the American Catholic Church and assurances to 'call when you need me.' We will. Followed by a very nice but no-kidding remonstrance directed at the chauffeur -" See to it."

I took the the guys out for chow in Old Town -the great rib joint Twin Anchors was packed and an hour and half wait would not stand - we hiked to grub at Marge's a few blocks north on Sedgewick.  They ate like they were going to the chair.

When the ribs and chicken were disappeared, I asked about the visit.


"Yeah, Cardinal George is a good guy."

"Like the way he prays."

" Yeah."

" We get dessert, too?"

Do try and eat, lads.

Society speaks of victims and their oppressors and settles the conflict through revenge. The church speaks of martyrs and their persecutors and settles the conflict through forgiveness. It is foolish to imagine that “justice” can be satisfied at the cost of love. It’s the difference between getting even and getting it right. Because of the incarnation of God’s eternal Word and his suffering and rising for our salvation, the gift of Christ’s peace is always available, but too often we fail to accept it. The violence done to Jesus himself is the source of the world’s peace, although it takes faith to recognize that truth. Francis Cardinal George - December 16, 2012

* e.g.

Cardinal George’s Schedule

  1. Dec. 16: 2 p.m., Cardinal's Christmas Concert, Holy Family Church (Roosevelt Road)
  2. Dec. 17: 1 p.m., Administrative Council Meeting, Quigley Center
  3. Dec. 18: 5:30 p.m., Big Shoulders Fund Christmas Reception, Residence
  4. Dec. 20: 6:30 p.m., The Illinois Club for Catholic Women Presentation Ball, Hilton Chicago
  5. Dec. 23: 5 p.m., Simbang Gabi Mass, St. Peter's Church, Skokie
  6. Dec. 24: Midnight Mass, Holy Name Cathedral
  7. Dec. 28: 5:45 p.m., Vocation Evening, Residence
  8. Dec. 30: Noon, 100th Anniversary Mass, St. Wenceslaus Parish
Cardinal's Crest

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