Chicago cardinal puzzled as to what Pope Francis wants

The outgoing Archbishop of Chicago says he has sometimes been puzzled as to what Pope Francis’ intentions are in the wake of some papal statements.

According to a New York Times report, Cardinal Francis George stated that Francis has “said some wonderful things”.

But Cardinal George added: “But he doesn’t put them together all the time, so you’re left at times puzzling over what his intention is.”

“What he says is clear enough, but what does he want us to do?”

Cardinal George, who is 77 and being treated for cancer, remains a voting cardinal until age 80.

A former president of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference, he finishes as Archbishop of Chicago next week.

Cardinal George said he would like to travel to Rome to see Francis.

“I’d like to sit down with him and say, Holy Father, first of all, thank you for letting me retire. And could I ask you a few questions about your intentions?”

In an interview last week, Cardinal George’s successor in Chicago, Archbishop-elect Blase Cupich said the Pope is saying some very challenging things to people.

“He’s not saying, this is the law and you follow it and you get to heaven.

“He’s saying we have to do something about our world today that’s suffering, people are being excluded, neglected.

“We have a responsibility, and he’s calling people to task.”

The US bishops have been meeting this week in Baltimore.

Jesuit media commentator Fr Thomas Reese said: “There is no bishop who is standing up and being the real leader of a Francis faction.”

“They grew up in conservative families, went to conservative seminaries and have been told not to talk to theologians who are creative because they’ve been labelled heretical.

“Now Francis is saying, let’s go in a different direction and let’s have a discussion,” Fr Reese said.

“The last two pontificates, there was no room for discussion, and this makes them nervous and confused.”


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