Cardinal George discusses role of church at St. Mary

The mission of the Catholic Church in the United States is to evangelize and to use its role as a worldwide institution to help the country connect more authentically with the rest of the world, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, told a 500-member crowd at the Church of St. Mary.

The archbishop of Chicago spoke on the role of the Church in the U.S. at the Lake Forest parish at the invitation of its pastor, Fr. Michael McGovern.

A former missionary, the cardinal frankly spoke of the Church’s mission to lead others to conversion. 

"The Church has a mission," he said, citing Mt 28:19: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

However, he conceded, the Church encounters three obstacles: the personal failings or resistance in its members; the ecclesial failures including bishop's tragic failures associated with the priest-sex scandal; and the cultural factors against Catholicism.

Speaking about the sex-abuse scandal, he said the Church is working hard to protect children and prevent abuse. Seminaries are being examined to make sure their programs weed out potential abusers.

The Church’s mission is also to help create a more just and charitable world, “a little bit more like the Kingdom of God," he said. From his work as a missionary, he said he discovered that the Church is a source of hope around the world.

The Church can help bring about a more just world because of its emphasis on community rather than radical individuality, which is so prevalent in U.S. society, he said.

He said he learned that people do not resent the U.S. for being "equal, rich and free" but because "we are, in their estimation, too often deaf and blind," he said.

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