Archbishop of Chicago:
In 2010, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago outlined the degree to which he believed religious freedoms (in the United States and other Western societies) were endangered. After the passage of legislation that enabled Civil Unions in Illinois, his eminence stated:
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.
In February of 2012, Cardinal George reflected on the seriousness of the Obama administration’s health-care mandate:
At the present moment, Catholics in this country are facing challenges to our institutional existence and our mission that we thought would never arise here. … The laws that used to protect us are now being used to weaken and destroy us, and this quite deliberately.[ii]
Shortly, thereafter, when the Obama administration and the media touted the fact that the Catholic Bishops are alone on the contraception issue and that most Catholics aren’t supporting them in this battle, Cardinal George wrote:
This is the first time in the history of the United States that a presidential administration has purposely tried to interfere in the internal working of the Catholic Church, playing one group off against another for political gain. What isn’t always understood is that the Bishops of the Church make no attempt to speak for all Catholics; they never have. The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.[iii]
A few days later on at a press conference held at Loyola University on February 18th, he told the Chicago Tribune about the devastating effects of the HHS mandate for Catholic institutions:
The long-term effect is that the Catholic Church will be stripped of the institutions that are her instruments for public service. We will lose hospitals, we will lose universities. That’s not the country I was born in. … Something monumental is happening here.[iv]
“Ever-increasing attacks on Church calling us to martyrdom”, St. Louis Review, (February 16, 2012). Available HERE, and “In Opposing the Right to Same-Sex Marriage, Catholic Leadership Opposes Laity and Wider Public”, Rainbow Sash Movement Blog (February 9, 2012). Available HERE.
[ii] Cardinal Francis George, “Changes on the Horizon”, Cardinal’s Network (February 6, 2012). Available HERE.
[iii] Cardinal Francis George, “A Timely Visit”, Cardinal’s Network (February 14, 2012). Available HERE.
[iv] “George: Government impinging on religious freedoms regarding contraception”, Chicago Tribune (February 18, 2012). Available HERE.