Card. George writes about unity, Pres. Obama’s attacks, and Catholics who don’t stand with the bishops.

Card. GeorgeCard. George of Chicago offers observations about the present situation we face as a Church in the United States even as the President of the United States attacks the Church.

He first speaks about the “ad limina” visit he is making to Rome with other bishops and the sense of unity he has with them and with Peter.  Then he says this:


Even in the midst of this strengthened unity, news of attempts to weaken the unity between the bishops and the faithful have been reported. 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.  [Pitting the Catholic Health Association (willing accomplice) against the Catholic bishops.] 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. That dynamic is clear in history and became clear also in the official visit to Rome that the Bishops of our region made this week.

Our visit has reminded us that the Church enjoys divine assistance even when she is being attacked. It was a timely visit.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI


He is, of course, speaking about the “Magisterium of Nuns” with their familiars and polymorphous manifestations, such as Sr. Keehan and the Catholic Health Association.  They chose not to stand with the bishops.  They stand with the President who attacks the Catholic Church.

The time will come when can. 915 is employed and the sooner the better.

“Sr. Keehan!  Give back that pen!”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. UncleBlobb says:

    And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, `They are my people’; and they will say, `The LORD is my God.'” – Zechariah 13:9

  2. q7swallows says:

    “The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.”

    Brilliant point! A variant of “If you are not for Me, you are against Me.”

  3. pm125 says:

    “The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse. That dynamic is clear in history … ”
    Does Canon 915 disallow the use of ‘Catholic’ in names of heretic orgs. ? In the interest of strengthening unity and dispelling confusion …

  4. EXCHIEF says:

    The Bishops need to use Canon 915 to show the enemy that his supporters are not Catholic…sure I know how that will be “spun” but at this point who cares. The battle line has been drawn. Put those who belong on the other side of that line there rather than among the Faithful who are with the Bishops on this. I know the Bishops are not familiar with war from the perspective of fighting one….but they are now in that position thanks to the evil one and his minions. And the first precept of fighting to win is you do not allow the enemy to infiltrate your camp.

  5. filioque says:

    We must be publicly supportive of our bishops: write to them, write letters to editors, call in to radio talk shows and push this as a topic more important than any other (remember, first they came for the Catholics–this is every American’s fight), write and call members of Congress, both district and Washington offices; do everything you can to keep the issue alive. The Obama Administration has signaled very clearly that they are through with this; that is the reason for the one year extension to August, 2013, to get past the election. They will not be offering any more “accommodations” for the bishops to respond to. Their strategy now is to have their surrogates rally to support Obama and Democrat candidates, so get politically active as you have never been before. This is not just about contraception, it is about all of our liberties.

  6. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    As q7swallows above pointed out, ““The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.” is such an absolutely wonderful sentence and truth. It deserves to be rendered into the mother tongue.
    It is so simple, yet so true. We follow God’s Church. He did not found it to follow us.

  7. filioque says:

    Now some questions for the bishops: why are there groups still calling themselves “Catholic” who are so blatantly anti-Catholic? What is it about your stewardship for the last 45 years and the resulting state of the Catholic Church in America that led the Administration to think that Catholics are vulnerable and could be picked off? Why can Kathleen Sibelius and Nancy Pelosi still publicly claim to be Catholics in good standing? Man up, your excellencies! Stand fast in the Faith! Give us strong leadership that we can follow.


  9. tioedong says:

    re: CHA.
    The “head” of the CHA has been quoting that “they” accept the new language.
    But wait a second: She is only the head, but this question has NOT been put to vote for the members. Hence, she can only speak for herself, not the organization.
    So although she “welcomed” the “good news” of Obama’s shell game, they must have gotten a bunch of nasty emails over the weekend because today’s site includes a copy of this email sent to members:

    the fight isn’t over yet. Pray for other nuns to have the backbone to stand up to this dictator claiming she can tell Catholic hospitals what to do.

  10. Cathy says:

    I wonder what would happen if the Bishop’s simply stated that member’s of religious orders could not receive a salary while sitting as head of the board of an institution, Catholic or otherwise, and demanded that Catholic religious communities would reside together in their convents. I’m sorry, but I do not understand a member of a religious community making the salary that Sister Keehan makes even though it goes to her religious community. Is it possible that, in turn, her entire religious order is dependent on her salary? Is something terribly wrong in this scenario if that is the case?

  11. NoraLee9 says:

    While listening to CBS News Radio88 here in NYC yesterday, the newscaster said that half of American Catholics think that contraception should be mandatory in all health coverage. Where do they get these figures?? No one asked me!!

  12. New Sister says:

    I have been reading this blog and the mugs about can. 915 and am still not clear what it would look like. Would it be a formal excommunication, or a private letter from a Bishop to the offender? I think a formal, public excommunication is the only way for the Bishops to make clear that these “catholics” are no longer part of the Body of Christ, that they are not gathered around the Bishops who are united with Saint Peter, and that is the only way we know what and where the Holy Church is.
    Reality TV, the mendacious media has contributed to such a coarseness of our minds that delicate, diplomatic language cannot do. We need very, very clear action to make it very very clear who is part of Holy Church and who is not. A stamped and sealed excommunication document would be irrefutable and, I think, impede Obama’s press secretary, his COS, and the liberal media from continuing the lie that the administration has the support of the Church – just not the bishops. (!!)

    Archbishop Vasa wrote on this a few years ago — about the need to more readily employ the practice of [formal] excommunication. Is this what can 915 is?

  13. amenamen says:

    It is time to start asking some basic questions about CHA.
    I am beginning to realize that I have almost no idea as to why it exists or why anyone would join it.

    Do any readers of this forum belong to it?
    Does anyone know what CHA really does?
    Does it have any official status in the Catholic Church?
    Is it simply a labor union? A political lobbying organization?
    Is there a bishop or a group of bishops to whom it is accountable?
    Who elects or appoints its president and board members?
    Do members or leaders have to be Catholic?
    How is it funded? How many paid employees does it have?
    How many dues-paying, “card-carrying” members does it have?
    How many Catholic hospitals belong to it?
    How many Catholic hospitals do not belong to it?
    Are employees of Catholic hospitals required to join it or to pay membership fees?
    How much money to they have? Where does it come from?

    The CHA has a large website

  14. Supertradmum says:

    We need to pray for Cardinal George. He is under attack from many quarters. One are the gay groups in Chicago, as well as the liberal Catholics who do not share the Catholic viewpoint on contraception. God bless him.

  15. Widukind says:

    Two things need to be done by the bishops when Cardinal Dolan returns.
    He, with the other US cardinals: 1) call in Sister and tell her she is full of it;
    2) go en-masse to the White House, demand to meet with the Big One, and set
    him straight. They need to be like Daniel and face the “Lyin'” in his den, or
    to be like Leo the Great when he faced Attila. The most urgent and serious
    point for action is to robustly dismiss the contrary voices – the CHH, the
    Magisterium of S’ters, and university presidents. Such versimiltude is
    causing the most damage – to the faithful, in what they hear, and for the
    regime, congratulating their smugness.
    Is there any way to send a message of disapproval to S’ter and her CHH,
    such as a petition or message to her website? The bond between the
    catholic liberals and the Democrat goons is beginning to show itself for
    what it is, a gay marriage – it is so unnatural and disgusting. These catholics
    are the prostitutes and the Big One is the pimp! The liberal catholics just
    stand there with a smile on their faces, thinking how wonderful
    it all is, while they are getting it up the …. Sorry, I am just livid about this.

  16. rfox2 says:

    When the truth is witnessed to, it stands on it’s own merits. Cardinal George is making an excellent point. If one separates themselves from the apostolic teaching of the bishops, one separates themselves from Christ. The bishops are witnesses to the truth, and they have promised, if necessary, to die for the truth in order to further the kingdom of God. There are only apparent challengers to the legitimate authority that the bishops possess, there are no true challengers. The Obama administration will use whatever means necessary to further their goals, including lies to the Catholic faithful in order to separate them from the truth of the Gospel. Satan never rests in his effort to separate people from the truth, and drive in the wedge that the Cardinal refers to.

    We shouldn’t give credence or weight to any so called counter-magisterium. We need to support our bishops through prayer and penance, and strongly encourage them to be bold witnesses to the Faith as they govern the Church. However, regardless of how they live out their important vocation, nothing will detract from the legitimate authority and charism that Christ has placed in the apostolic office.

  17. frjim4321 says:

    The double bind with Canon 915, and the reason we don’t hear many hierarchs imposing it, is that it is essentially unenforceable. Also, it will tend to increase the polarization within the church (if that can be imagined). [That’s wrong, of course. Once a public statement is made, it is made. If people openly disobey, then there can be other sanctions.]

    It might feel good to lash out, but it rarely makes things better. This is the wisdom of the majority of the bishops who won’t resort to the nuclear option of Canon 915. [It is hysterical to compare can. 915 to a nuclear blast.]

  18. wmeyer says:

    frjim4321: Really? As any parent can tell you, rewarding bad behavior brings more of the same. This is precisely what we have seen for years. These children of the Church need to be disciplined.

  19. frjim4321 says:

    I think parents would also tell me that to issue an unenforceable ultimatum is counterproductive.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    How is it ‘unenforceable’?
    Do you believe that the successors to the Apostles hold the keys, or not?

  21. irishgirl says:

    NoraLee9-You’re right! No poll has asked me, either! Where do these people get their statistics from?
    Widukind-Well said! I agree with all your points!
    What I’d to see is ALL the Bishops head to the White House ‘en masse’, wielding their crosiers a la St. Thomas Becket at Northampton…and NOT using ‘diplo-speak’ in confronting the Big One. Then after giving him the ‘what for’, then it would off to HHS to do the same to Sibelius, and again up to the Hill to confront Pelosi. And to these two ‘ardent catholics’, let ’em have it with Canon 915!
    And after that, find the ‘sister’ who betrayed her Spouse for thirty pieces of silver and send her to some monastery out in the boonies to do penance for the rest of her days.
    Sigh….this would be a heck of a scenario to witness….and I’m just angry enough to demand it of our shepherds.
    As filioque stated above, ‘Man up, Your Excellencies!’

  22. irishgirl says:

    Oops-I meant ‘Sebelius’, not ‘Sibelius’
    The latter was the famous Finnish composer…sorry about that!
    ; – )

  23. Bryan Boyle says:

    Oh, I don’t know about unenforceable ultimata…what’s unclear in the statements:
    “You are formally outside the mind of the Church”
    “You must NOT present yourself for Communion”
    “By your blatant, visible, and public support and encouraging the crime of abortion, you have, by your own actions, excommunicated yourself.”
    “You don’t speak for the Church”
    “Repent, admit your error, and seek forgiveness”

    Dissident priests (probably with ‘SJ’ after their names, or related to Fr. Jenkins…) will ignore the strictures and do their own thing. That’s ok. The lines are drawn. You’re either with us, or, there’s an episcopal or any number of other protestant congregations and other free-thinking self-reverential ecclesial communities that will welcome you with open arms. At least have the intellectual integrity, if you can’t agree with the Church in unity with the Pope, to not do your best to drag the rest down to your level.

    Of course, that would mean giving up your salary, pension, three hots and a cot paid for by Joe and Mary Bagodonuts, and lifestyle. You’re either with the Church, or you are just one of the market rabble trying to assault the gates. And we see how successful that’s been through the ages.

  24. oldcanon2257 says:

    If Canon 915 is for all practical purposes unenforceable (which I don’t believe it is) at this point as frjim4321 has stated, in my opinion we Catholics would have no one to blame but ourselves for the root causes: disobedience (especially decades of clerical disobedience) and lack of “parenting” (for lack of a better word). Everybody tends to learn by examples and by mimicking their parents, in the case of the Church, from our spiritual fathers. Bishops and priests lead and teach not only by words but also by examples of their conduct.

    After the Second Vatican Council, there appeared to be a deliberate and extreme misinterpretation of the definition of “collegiality” to justify the disobedient attitude from many bishops towards the Holy Father in the 1960’s. The nationalization and regionalization accomplished via the founding of episcopal conferences did not help the matter either and ended up confusing the faithful, leading them to the misconception as though a national conference of bishops (which in many cases appeared more like national churches in de facto schism) would trump the pope. Disobedience took on different forms in the name of (false) diversity, (false) cultural inculturation, (false) ecumenism and deliberate misinterpretation/misrepresentation of what the Vatican II documents actually said. The Church became more regionalized and less universal, episcopal conferences coming up with their own different “norms” and novelties (instead of saying the black and doing the red), and bishops starting to pay less attention and less respect to the teaching of the Holy Father, ignoring the discasteries of the curia in whichever matters those discasteries had competency in, etc. They might still pay lip service to the Holy Father but then turned around and defy/ignore his teaching and authority. The Winnipeg Statement by the Canadian bishops in response to Humanae Vitae is just one visible example. Disobedience continues to this day with many ordinaries ignoring or sabotaging the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. I wish Pope Paul VI had reined them in at the very beginning when disobedience first manifested itself; that would have greatly reduced the affliction which his successors and the entire universal Church have suffered.

    That type of unfortunate behavior of disobedience in the episcopate in turn propagated downward to priests and seminarians. Those seminarians, after completing their priestly formation, ended up spreading the same to many poorly catechized faithful, fostering the so-called “revolutionary” spirit which led to a plethora of other problems: lack of respect/reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, lack of belief in the true presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, etc.

    In short, my impression is:

    Obstructionist episcopate –> Defiant presbyterate –> Disobedient laity

    In the past 50-something years, due to some false sense of being pastoral, many of our spiritual fathers have placed less emphasis on sins and more on the “feel good” touchy-feely talk-about-positive-things-only approach thus letting their spiritual children run wild and act up without any discipline (for a typical Catholic in a typical parish in the US, when was the last time you heard your pastor mentioning the Four Last Things???) That mirrored the trend in the secular world (or is it the other way around?) If you don’t teach your children, somebody else will, and you might not like what they have been taught (e.g. taught to disobey the magisterial teaching authority on matters of faith and morals and to decide on doctrines for themselves) once it dawns on you.

    In my very humble opinion, a major turning point where we went wrong was our failure to stand firm on the fact that the Catholic faith is unchanging and unchangeable, that it was God Himself who gave us the Catholic faith and no man can contradict or contravene or compromise those absolute truths in our deposit of faith which Our Lord Himself taught us.

    Our spiritual fathers need to take concrete steps to start parenting again and should not be afraid to mete out canonical penalties available at their disposal (starting with Canon 915). After all, the Church (Militant), as Father Z is fond to say, is more like an infirmary for the sick.

    Please make the time to pray for Papa Benedict and for all our bishops and priests.

  25. John 6:54 says:

    and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.

    Unfortunately “Others” are not dispersing. Maybe we should have a poll on which bishop will be the first to pull the Canon 915 trigger. Even better would be if a group of them would stand together and pull the trigger. Bad behavior can’t be ignored forever.

  26. What Cardinal George has left out of his reckoning is that fact that the faithful have not heard a peep out of the bishops on issues that touch their daily lives. Worse, the bishops’ representatives, our parish priests, have not shared out the True Faith in its completeness. This is the situation the faithful have found themselves in for decades: No Nada From the Church in America. How can the faithful gather ’round the bishops if they have been silent? If they can’t be found? If their representatives are silent or dissenting? Clearly, many have dispersed due to the deafening silence of the past 40 years. Thank Obama for rousing the bishops from their entirely voluntary slumbers.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    The majority of Catholics wanted Obama in 2008. Catholics backed Obamacare–if not the rank and file, then the religious orders and some of the bishops.

    There are some of us trying to get this awful thing over-turned now. It’ll take as long as it takes.

    In the meantime, I hope that these Catholics who pushed all of it enjoy it. A little taste of what reality is like will do them good. They deserve every word of it, every paragraph, every lost insurance plan and every $$$ they have to pay, as far as I am concerned. To them, and they know who they are: You wanted it, you got it, baby.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    BTW, we are going to have some so-called catholic outfits that are going to buy regular insurance and try to look innocent. They need to be outed to the rest of the Catholic community.

  29. “Others disperse.”

    This is pretty strong coming from an American cardinal. Maybe we are getting close to something like the time when Joshua addressed the Israelites and said, “Choose now whom you will serve… As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I think the U. S. episcopate is readying for a real battle. No doubt even some bishops will disperse, but when even Cardinal Mahony feels moved to speak out, we can be sure that as a group they are seeing that the ways of the past have failed and a new approach is needed.

  30. Marcus de Alameda says:

    The Obamanist regime is just following their power scheming rulebook. Saul Alinsky clearly stated that the way to subdue Catholics is to make them live up to what they teach. In so doing, a many are exposed as not faithful to the Church and the division can then be exploited.
    So, after the latest mandate was given to the bishops from the regime, a few polls were taken and indicated that still over 50% of Catholics approved of the regime’s actions against the bishops.
    The Obamanists (marxists) only need a majority of the Catholic vote to prevail and they currently have it in their pocket. They know how to twist the Church into a tool for their victory, and then for futher submission.
    The Church in the USA since the sexual revolution (60s) aligned itself with the secular state rule, forfeiting it’s teaching on Truth, and thus, will continue to pay a great price (liberty).
    The time is now for the bishops to stand and teach their flock in the misson to save souls. No more deals with this regime. Get over the democratic party illusion that has led us to this pending slavery.

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