...Cardinal George prefaced his remarks by noting that although he is the president of the USCCB, he does not have jurisdiction or authority over other bishops. His role, he indicated, nonetheless has "some moral authority, without any kind of jurisdiction or any sort of real authority. As president of the U.S. bishops' conference I have to precisely speak for the bishops and not in my own name, as I could as Archbishop of Chicago," he added.
George said he had spoken with the administrative committee of the bishops' conference and corresponded with University president Fr. John Jenkins several times on the issue.
"That conversation will continue .... whether or not it will have some kind of consequence that will bring, I think, the University of Notre Dame to its [the USCCB's] understanding of what it means to be Catholic," said the Cardinal. "That is, when you're Catholic, everything you do changes the life of everybody else who calls himself a personal Catholic - it's a network of relationships.
"So quite apart from the president's own positions, which are well known, the problem is in that you have a Catholic university - the flagship Catholic university - do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic," said the cardinal.
"So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, and didn't anticipate the kind of uproar that would be consequent to the decision, at least not to the extent that it has happened," said George.
The Cardinal urged concerned Catholics "to do what you are supposed to be doing: to call, to email, to write letters, to express what's in your heart about this: the embarrassment, the difficulties."...
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