Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Chicago's archbishop warned that the freedom of the Church in the United States "is now threatened by movements within" and "by government and groups outside."

"The public conversation in the United States is often an exercise in manipulation and always inadequate to the realities of both the country and the world, let alone the mysteries of faith. It fundamentally distorts Catholicism and any other institution regarded as 'foreign' to the secular individualist ethos. Our freedom to preach the Gospel is diminished."

Cardinal George continued: "The Church's mission is threatened internally by divisions which paralyze her ability to act forcefully and decisively."

"On the left," he said, "the Church's teachings on sexual morality and the nature of ordained priesthood and of the Church herself are publicly opposed, as are the bishops who preach and defend these teachings. On the right, the Church's teachings might be accepted, but bishops who do not govern exactly and to the last detail in the way expected are publicly opposed."

"The Church is an arena of ideological warfare rather than a way of discipleship shepherded by bishops," the cardinal observed."

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