Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, recently published an article in which he explained a quote of his. So many people had repeated this quote to me that it is a little surprising to learn that it had been given, off the cuff, simply to a group of priests. The Cardinal said that his words were not prophecy, only a dramatic way to express the real dangers that we face with aggressive secularism:
Speaking a few years ago to a group of priests, entirely outside of the current political debate, I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world. I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
The entire article is well worth reading, so I won’t say much more here.
I will add, however, that the same article has a link to a Cardinal Mundelein’s Hitler speech, a speech which he gave outlining some of what the Church in Germany was facing at the time. Among other things, the pressure against the Church was preceded by trials of priests and religious (not unlike the sex abuse trials in the United States) and whether the accusations were true or not was secondary to the fact that the trials were heavily publicized to discredit the Church. In his speech, Cardinal Mundelein said, “when the Bishops speak, their words are drowned by the noise of the Government’s tremendous propaganda machine.”
In our own day, the propaganda machine never stops, day or night, filling the air with noise, violence, and sex, and when it takes a few “serious moments” to cover the important issues, it makes sure to marginalize the bishops, to spend time listening to a rogue nun, and gently tell America that the bishops are exaggerating and we should all go back to watching television.
My only question is, when it happens, will the news media be covering up the fact that the Archbishop of Chicago was shot, or will his trial happen live and will America watch him die on television?