Cardinal George: Teaching until the very end
Hours before his death April 17, Cardinal Francis George was still hard at work. He was putting the finishing touches on a book manuscript. Everything had to be just right, because he knew these words would be his last message to the world.
In June, “A Godly Humanism: Clarifying the Hope That Lies Within,” will be published, a collection of eight essays that contain the late Chicago archbishop’s concluding thoughts. He touches on the four popes in power during his 50 years as a priest, discusses the role of Catholic higher education in secular society, and gives glimpses into living Catholicism in what he dubs a “post-Christian society.”
The book “reflects very much who Cardinal George is as a person,” Trevor Lipscombe, George’s editor at the Catholic University of America Press, told Crux. He called the writing “calm and reflective, intellectual faith journeys through his life.”
George, viewed widely as the intellectual leader of the conservative wing of American Catholicism, was often compared and contrasted with his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
And Bernardin, like George, finished writing a book on his deathbed, “The Gift of Peace.” But the similarities between the books of two towering figures in American Catholicism appear to stop there.
Whereas Bernardin recounts the emotional, spiritual, and physical pain of his final years, George offers an intellectual and theological “exercise in integration,” as he writes in the preface.