The Corner

Cardinal George on Pope Francis: ‘This Man Is a Pastor’

This morning David Gregory interviewed Francis Cardinal George of Chicago about this week’s election of a new pope and the issues confronting the Church in general. The cardinal described Francis’s greatest strength as his eagerness to cultivate close relationships with his flock, “especially among the poor,” calling him a “pastor” above all else. The cardinal also expressed excitement over the new pope’s Latin American roots, saying that “he means very much to the Latino population” of the United States. He mentioned that “many priests have learned Spanish to take care of a growing number of Spanish-speaking parishioners,” but that “it’s never quite the same to know the language as it is to know the culture.” He called Francis’s heritage “a source of great encouragement for all of us.”

When asked about the tension between the Church’s teachings and contemporary attitudes, George emphasized that the pope “simply has to preach the Gospel,” even in a context so secularized that it seems “there is no god and Freud is his prophet.” He lamented that “for the sake of sexual liberation, we’re willing to let a lot of other liberties go.” The cardinal said he was “not sure we realize what’s going on,” but that Pope Francis “will help us to realize it better.” Gregory pushed him about the Church’s role in American politics, but the cardinal rejected that Catholic teachings are easily mapped onto American politics: “The categories you use are conservative and liberal, you’ll be using them today, our categories are what is true and what is false.”

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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