Det var ikke uventet, men likevel trist, at kardinal og erkebiskop i Chicago fra 1997 til høsten 2014, Francis George, nylig døde. Jeg la merke til ham da han en kort periode var erkebiskop i min kones hjemby (Portland, Oregon) før han kom til Chicago. Og siden han er blitt sammenlignet med kardinal Ratzinger (som har vært min favoritt siden jeg ble katolikk i 1994), har jeg med interesse og glede fulgt kardinal Georges arbeid. John Allen skriver her om ham, bl.a.:
…. Widely acknowledged as the most intellectually gifted senior US prelate of his generation, George was once dubbed the “American Ratzinger.”
Like German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, George’s clear and strongly stated positions on issues such as abortion, contraception, and the Catholic liturgy could be either celebrated or reviled — and he drew both reactions, repeatedly — but they could never be ignored.
George’s abiding passion was the relationship between faith and culture, and especially the urgency of a “New Evangelization,” meaning a new missionary zeal in Catholicism.
After his appointment as archbishop of Chicago in 1997, and especially during his three-year term as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010, George was the Vatican’s go-to figure in the United States and one of just a handful of American prelates whose reputation and influence reached around the Catholic world. …