Religion in Global Society:  Perspectives in Light of Nostra Aetate

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, offers his reflections on the 40th anniversary of the declaration Nostra Aetate and on the role of religion in contemporary global society.  The closing address from the conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews held in Chicago, Illinois (U.S.A.) in July 2005.

Religion in Global Society: Perspectives in Light of Nostra Aetate

Closing Address

2005 International Conference of the

International Council of Christians and Jews

Chicago, Illinois, July 27, 2005

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.

Archbishop of Chicago

I am grateful to the leadership of the International Council of Christians and Jews for your kind invitation to address your closing luncheon. Looking at the program, I am very disappointed that I couldn’t be part of the conversation in these last few days, because it’s a conversation that shapes not only the ideas that are expressed here but also your work and our lives in this society. Chicago has hosted many international inter-religious gatherings in the past, including, as I’m sure you know, the Parliament of the World’s Religions begun here in 1893, continued in 1993 and now institutionalized. I am pleased that the Archdiocese could help in supporting this present conference as well.

Chicago has been a center of ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration on social justice issues, on racism and economic fairness, as well as a locus of more formal theological dialogue. For the past decade, we have honored the address of my predecessor as Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, given at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995. We’ve honored that address by keeping its memory alive in an annual lecture presented alternately by Catholic and Jewish scholars. The Archdiocese has also supported several ongoing efforts at dialogue between Catholics and Jews at the local level, and I believe some of them have been discussed in these days together here. Since I’ve come to Chicago as Archbishop, I have tried to foster this deeply rooted Christian-Jewish dialogue, while also reaching out to the Muslim community in conversation here. I know that the ICCJ has also supported such an outreach to our Muslim sisters and brothers through your Abrahamic Forum and through efforts of your various national organizations. This is an effort I think we should all strongly encourage.

For the past several days, you have focused on two major themes: (1) the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the II Vatican Council’s statement on the Church and the Jewish People in the Conciliar text Nostra Aetate, and (2) you’ve discussed the relationship between religion and society in a global context. Both of these are issues that are central to our faiths and our lives. I would like to offer a few reflections on each of them in the short time I have with you now.

To the first issue, the fortieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, you know that the fourth chapter of that Conciliar document inaugurated a profound transformation in the Catholic Church’s understanding of her relationship to Judaism and the Jewish people, both at the time of her origins as a Church as well as today. It defined Catholicism’s theological understanding of itself in relationship to our brothers and sisters of the first ongoing Covenant. Subsequent statements from the Holy See in 1974 and 1985 further developed the implications of the Council’s document. We continue to explore the theological dimensions of this new understanding. The late Pope John Paul II gave strong impetus towards such theological reconsideration in his many addresses on relationships between Christians and Jews. I think they fill two published volumes. The late Pope’s elaboration of how Catholics are bound to Judaism in their own self-identity and on the special Covenantal relationship between the Church and the Jewish people are among the most important legacies that he has left the world. Our present Holy Father has taken steps already to assure this continuation of John Paul II’s legacy, something that the cardinals, discussing among themselves before the election, all want to see continued. The meetings that he has had with world Jewish leaders and his planned visit to the Cologne synagogue in August will, I hope, continue to strengthen that relationship.

But already prior to his election as Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote some articles offering new insights into the paths followed by Judaism and Christianity on the road to redemption in God. I am confident that Pope Benedict XVI will continue to promote this theological exploration, both through his own writings as well as through the work of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relationships with the Jewish People, whose current President is Cardinal Walter Kasper. The three basic assertions of Nostra Aetate are, as you know, that the Jews remain in covenant with God after the coming of Jesus Christ; secondly, that Jews were not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, whether in his day or later; and, thirdly, that as Jews, Jesus and his first disciples lived and were formed by the Jewish faith but in a moment before both Christianity and Judaism took on further definition after the fall of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the disciples of Jesus from the synagogues toward the end of the first century in the common era. These three points remain the basic building blocks for further theological reflection, and Benedict XVI has in his past writings reflected precisely especially on the third point.

Nostra Aetate was necessary because, over the centuries, anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism had become sinful realities within the Church and in many societies which were Christian, at least in name. Pope John Paul II, in his personal writings such as Crossing the Threshold of Hope and in the prayer he inserted into the Western Wall in Jerusalem, made it clear that anti-Semitism cannot be tolerated within the Church. It’s deeply sinful and, in the Fundamental Agreement signed by the Holy See and the State of Israel, both parties commit themselves to work against anti-Semitism in whatever forms it might reappear. Regrettably, that commitment remains necessary today. I am aware that you have given careful consideration to this resurgent phenomenon in your deliberations here this week in Chicago. I am grateful for that and you have my sincere personal support in this ongoing effort, an effort that was reaffirmed in the joint communiqué from the 2004 meeting of the international Vatican-Jewish Committee in Buenos Aires.

Let me now turn to the second theme of your conference, religion and contemporary global society. It is a theme that I have often addressed, particularly under the rubric of the dialogue between faith and culture, with consideration of our own culture here as increasingly secularized. My own interest in this topic has been shaped by the years that I spent living outside this country as part of the government of my own international religious missionary congregation. Returning to the country, I am concerned not so much about establishing Catholicism as a mainstream religion but about preserving Catholicism as a religion true to Christ and universal by its very nature, a religion always and inevitably “other” in any society but “other” in particular ways in American society. There’s a way to belong to and contribute to the identity of a society by being “other.”

I gave a talk a while ago here in Chicago on “Catholicism in American Public Life,” hoping to say something substantive and still avoid controversy. They invited me to give that talk before the last general election, hoping, I believe, that I would say something controversial and get the club into the papers. The contribution to the public conversation that the media make is to offer an ongoing critique, featuring from time to time voices that otherwise might not be heard so that people live in the illusion of freedom even as they are co-opted to preserve the status quo. In my talk, I noted that “public life is, of course, much broader than political life. Catholicism, [and I think I could add Judaism and Islam] is a complete way of life, a life of faith which is a total response to God who loves us and reveals himself to us, a way of life with proper behaviors and convictions and ideas, based upon…[biblical] faith.” 1 In America today, such faith is increasingly suspect for at least two reasons:

One reason stems from the suspicion that faith will limit personal freedom. Since freedom is our most precious value, both in public life and private life, any deterrent, any obstacle to human freedom, anything that is a threat to personal freedom, is automatically suspect. Ever since American freedom was expanded after the Second World War to include sexual freedoms of all sorts, religion, and particularly Catholicism, has come to be regarded as a threat.2

A second reason that faith is suspect stems from the conviction that religion is a cause of social violence. This is especially true after September 11. This conviction ignores the historical fact that more people have been killed for the cause of national independence or to defend an already established state or even for values such as freedom or democracy than were ever killed in the name of Moses or Christ or Mohammed. But once religion becomes suspect, it has to be controlled and society moves toward a secularized ethos.

When the public realm is constructed without reference to a way of life based on faith, when public life doesn’t admit that faith is compatible with its own nature as public we have the beginning of a secularized ethos. Philosophically, of course, a secularized society rests on the conviction that spirit does not have power. Matter has power. We harness the power of matter for our own purposes all the time, especially through science and then with technological advances. But spirit, which believers say is the most powerful reality of all, does not have power in a secularized worldview. At best, [therefore] religion is poetry that can console, but it doesn’t give the truth about anything and it doesn’t have any access to a power that is not material, because matter is all that there is.3

Therefore, the truth claims that any religion might make are automatically discounted as irrational or superstitious and further cause for suspicion. In this kind of ethos, which is more or less strong in different parts of the country and different parts of the world, believers can react in different ways. Very often we begin by trying to clarify who God is, hoping that God’s power, providence and presence will not be a threat to either personal freedom or a cause of social violence on the part of those who worship God. We try to present a God who is not a caricature, someone out to get us, and with that we hope that opposition to religion will be attenuated; sometimes that maneuver works, very often it doesn’t. During a conference at the Library of Congress to mark advances in human knowledge at the end of the 20th century, speaking about religion in the world today, I noted:

Because God is not one being among others but rather the sheer energy of to-be itself, God does not make the world through manipulation, change or violence, as the gods of philosophy and mythology do. Since there is literally nothing outside of God, he makes the entirety of the finite realm ex nihilo, through an act of purest and gentlest generosity.4 God’s is a non-possessive love (and therefore a threat to no one). But since God is the act of to-be, all creaturely things exist in and through God, “participating” in the power of his being and the graciousness of his love. And from this we can draw a final implication: because all created things are participants in the divine generosity, (without collapsing the distinction between the Creator and creatures) they are all related to one another by bonds of ontological intimacy.5

What this means is that our way of conceiving social relationships must be in accord with the most fundamental relationship between God and the order that he has created. Religious people and religious institutions have often failed to be true to this God we believe in, and non-believers sometimes base their anti-religious convictions in reaction to our behaviors as well as to our beliefs.

Still, when all the explaining is done, there are people who have a principled opposition to religion itself, at least organized religion if not to God, however they conceive God. Where we see this religious conflict with secularism most starkly is in the behavior of the institutions of the state, which carry the public order. Now that secularism has assumed something akin to the role of an established religion, or at least a public ethos, we see the state intervening to protect its citizens from religion rather than to promote the free exercise of religion. The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of this country began about fifty years ago to make the switch from protecting the free exercise of religion to protecting people from religious interference in their non-practice of religion. This creates a quandary for the Catholic American, and I suppose, for many other people of faith as well.

The definition of life itself, of the nature of marriage, and of what is religious and what not are now in the hands of the government, especially through the courts. The United States no longer has, therefore, the type of limited governmental institutions that preserved individual freedom in our past. A state increasingly bureaucratized and courts that meddle in areas that [should be] outside of governmental limited jurisdiction in a free society have effectively broken the social contract.6

And when the social contract is broken, violence ensues. This development is a logical consequence, I believe, of the Hobbes-Lockean tradition “which profoundly shaped the minds of the founders of this country…”

…in Hobbes and Locke,…rights are individualistic – my liberty and life over and against yours. These rights are somewhat correlated to moral ends outside of themselves by the greater or lesser religious sense of common destiny and purpose in the minds and beliefs of many of the Founders; but it is, tellingly, the pursuit of happiness – unguided, unanchored, unfocused by truth – that is guaranteed as a [personal] right. And government is instituted among men in order to protect these prerogatives and hence assure some level of peace and order in a still primarily antagonistic community…This approach to religion, however, enshrined in our constitutional order, is still basically Hobbesian, since it proceeds from the distinctively modern creation of a secular space, untouched by religious questions (for the sake of peace), untouched by religious concerns or finalities.7

As a result, I would respectfully and somewhat gingerly challenge the optimism about the American situation which I have read sometimes in some Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a friend with whom I disagree (if that’s possible; one doesn’t really disagree with Rabbi Hertzberg!). One can find similar tensions in the documents of the Second Vatican Council itself. At that historical moment in the early years of the decade of the 60’s of the last century, there was a general optimism about modernity that seemed quite appropriate. Blessed Pope John XXIII, however, didn’t have great optimism about modern society. He saw the Church in a position of internal strength, united doctrinally (which is why it was a pastoral council rather than a doctrinal council) and ready to engage pastorally, boldly, in a dialogue with a world weakened in his lifetime by divisions of class and race, by conflicts and wars based upon nationalisms, but a world filled nonetheless with God’s love and goodness. The last forty years have seen a weakening of the Catholic Church’s internal unity, because renewal, I believe, has been too often confused with self-secularization. Secularism itself, the ethos of the world divorced from divine providence, has become more assertive as it has gained control of many of the reins of state power. None of this means that the dialogue between faith and culture in this country or elsewhere is now a stalled conversation between a sectarian faith and a hostile culture, a dialogue of the deaf. I don’t think we’re at this point, there are too many good people around, whether secularists or religious people, to bring us yet to pitched battles. But the conversation continues more cautiously, aware of inherent contradictions that were able to be overlooked in the enthusiasm of the 60’s and 70’s of the last century.

The last point on this issue of faith in our society is about the dialogue between biblical faith and American culture. The sociological counterpart of cultures co-opting faith ideologically is the assimilation of individual believers to cultural mores not rooted in faith. When both Catholics and Jews immigrated to the United States, we came to a culture which was shaped by Protestantism. I’ve often said that we secularized the culture for religious reasons before the irreligious secularizers began their work. Catholics worked secularize the public ethos of the country because we didn’t want to become Protestant in order to become American, and Jews secularized it because they didn’t want to be Christians in order to be Americans. We both succeeded, and now we have to ask, “What has happened as a result?” A century ago both Jews and Catholics were assimilating into what was basically a biblical culture, with many points of contact among all of us who look to scripture as the written witness to God’s self-relevation. While never formally exploring the question in the contemporary faith-culture framework that has come out of the writings of John Paul II, the instinct of early Catholic Americanizers, as exemplified in prelates such as Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore and Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul, was to believe that the biblical faith we had in common with Protestants would allow for successful assimilation of Catholics into American society without loss of their Catholic faith. In the 1930’s here, with the cutoff of European immigration to this country after the First World War, Cardinal Mundelein, my predecessor as Archbishop of Chicago, was a leader among the second generation of Americanizers in the Catholic hierarchy, and he held similar convictions. It was up to us to create Catholicism with an American ethos, and this was considered possible because the culture was benign and, in fact, Christian in its roots. In 1990, with these same convictions, I suggested that Catholics might look to Protestants for help in the religious dialogue with modernity, since Protestantism was born at the beginning of the modern age and has been more at home in this kind of culture and could give us some clues…8 Fifteen years later, and from the vantage point now of a diocesan bishop trying to hold people together in the Catholic Church, I would be far more cautious. The very elements within American Protestant culture that would have allowed this linkage and help have also been eroded by the secularizing trend that affects all of us, including Protestants themselves. What remains of that original Protestant ethos in contemporary American culture has been deformed, I believe, into some kind of secularized echo, perhaps, of Calvinism, especially emphasizing the notions of individuals determined by situations beyond their personal control, with the result that everyone is a victim. If you’re a victim in our kind of culture you have the moral upper hand. Who can be victims? Gays, blacks, Jews, women, but not Catholics – not very often anyway, not yet in this culture. The present societal ethos makes everyone a victim, not of a sovereign God but of inadequate parenting, societal prejudices and institutional injustice. As a result, we find ourselves in a situation where the biblical message of freedom rooted in truth is treated at best as just one more personal option and at worst as a reactionary opposition to progressive cultural trends liberating individuals from societal and institutional oppressions and dogmatisms of all sorts. The communitarian ethos of both Jews and Catholics and even of Protestants gets cultural short shrift. Society becomes a collection of individuals. Religious claims are at best private, and at worst are oppressive socially. What might be, then, another kind of response, not just clarifying what we believe but doing something genuinely new, using religion to create a new culture? That was the great project of John Paul II’s papacy, and I’ll end with a few words about that.

Speaking about religion and society during one of his visits to Canada, Pope John Paul II said that secularized culture is really a “new culture,” in the sense that it is a collection of values distinct from the biblical culture it replaces and, therefore, it’s up to believers to work with this fact but to create from it a different kind of new culture, one that would not be explicitly perhaps Christian or Jewish or Muslim but would nonetheless be open to religious influences in a way that the Pope believed secularized culture, closed to transcendence, was not.9 The Pope also named some concerns about where the “new culture” would move on ethical issues, and he questioned whether that culture had the capacity to be a foundation for understanding and for fostering our common human identity. Fifteen years later, I believe those words spoken in Canada were prophetic. Biblical faith’s problems with American culture today are etched most clearly in ethical questions and in diverse understandings of the anthropology of the human person. John Paul II was a philosophical anthropologist; he was very conscious of the identity of the human person as shaped in cultures and by different ideologies.

One of the contributions he made to theology was to take culture seriously as a locus theologicus; not just nature, not just grace, not just scripture, but the culture itself becomes a locus theologicus. Let me quote George Weigel, who wrote:

Beginning with his late teenage years under Nazi occupation, [Karol Wojtyla] gradually came to the conviction that the crisis of the modern world was first of all a crisis of ideas, a crisis of the very idea of the human person. History was driven by culture, and the ideas that formed culture. Ideas had consequences. And, if the idea of the human person that dominated a culture was flawed, one of two things would happen. Either the culture would give birth to destructive aspirations, or it would be incapable of realizing its fondest hopes, even if it expressed them in the most humanistic terms.10

It is important to understand that John Paul’s critique of modern culture is not born solely of philosophical speculation, although he was a trained philosopher, but, again, from his own personal experience, above all as a priest and bishop. His experience of the Nazi occupation of Poland and then of the atheistic communism imposed upon his people and, later, his experience of secularism in the West, caused him to think beyond America’s standard church-state framework for discussing social questions and beyond the faith-science tensions that are the framework for modern intellectual questions, when religion enters into the discussion at all.

In Switzerland in 1984, Pope John Paul II, discussing “the purpose and the limits of scientific method,” said that the challenge now is “to work toward a new synthesis of knowledge. Such a synthesis would be ‘wisdom’, [and] it cannot be created without a philosophy, a metaphysics. It can be accomplished, [furthermore], only if intellectuals can work in freedom, but guided by truth in the search for truth.11” The Pope clearly defends freedom, but always as a precondition for seeking for and finally arriving at truths. It is beneath human dignity to live in falsehood, and its dangerous for human destiny to live in religious falsehood. All peoples and disciplines should be welcome to a public discussion about the truths and falsehoods which underlie public policies and the truths and falsehoods of religion itself. Unfortunately, in the present day almost any religious truth claim brings public dialogue to a halt.

How then can we be instruments in creating a new culture, here, in this place? I would like to say that I firmly believe that inter-religious dialogue is intrinsic to the creation of such a healthy culture, secularist in some ways but truly open to transcendence. If that’s going to be the case, then we have to be shaping that dialogue, and not just as individual religions and faiths but as religions and faiths who have created our own dialogue as a model for how the culture itself can be shaped, how public dialogue can take place.

The Pope himself gave many different dimensions of this inter-religious dialogue, addressing its themes and values, and I won’t rehearse those now. I would like to advance a single claim, however, about the importance of inter-religious dialogue from the talk I gave at the Library of Congress in 1999. At the end of each century, the Library of Congress sponsors a forum, about a month long, on the contributions to human knowledge that have become part of the patrimony of the human race as a result of intellectual advances of the last century. They asked me to come to talk about religion in the world today:

In the next millennium, as the modern nation state is relativized and national sovereignty is displaced into societal arrangements still to be invented, it will be increasingly evident that the major faiths remain carriers of culture and that it is more sectarian to be French, [Russian or] American than to be Christian or Muslim, [Jewish], Hindu or Buddhist. Interreligious dialogue is more basic to the future of faith, therefore, than is Church-state dialogue, important though that institutional conversation remains, especially in our country.12

In 2005, I am more than ever convinced of that claim that I put forward somewhat tentatively then. My proposal then was that we commit ourselves to the inter-religious dialogue with a new engagement. I would like to suggest that there are several conditions for a renewed engagement.

First of all, to be a partner in inter-religious dialogue, you have to be a believer. We cannot adopt the methodology of comparative religions or of any discipline that would bracket one’s personal convictions when we’re talking about inter-religious dialogue. We can’t talk about religion as if it were “out there” and we were somewhere else. All of us go into these conversations precisely as believers. It’s a commitment to faith that brings us into this conversation, not a bracketing of it for the sake of a quiet dialogue. Participants’ faith must guide and govern their lives and their speech, even in dialogue. Only in this way will they be authentic representatives of their own religious community to the dialogue partner, to the other with whom one is now intrinsically related by reason of willingness to engage in dialogue, in conversation.

The second measure of a genuine inter-religious dialogue is a commitment to the common. I am not referring to finding the lowest common denominator between two traditions. Rather, I am calling for a personal religious commitment to what is at least analogously common between two traditions. The Conciliar document Nostra Aetate says it this way:

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings which, although differing in may particulars from what she holds and sets forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all…She therefore has this exhortation for her sons and daughters: prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness to Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men and women, as well as the values in their society and culture.13

This is more than a mere description of what we have in common. It’s not a description at all. It’s more a methodological point. It’s a description of what we don’t have in common, but what we respect in others and respect together in common. As a Catholic, I must both respect the truth in Judaism and preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods of Jewish faith and the values of Jewish culture and society, even though they are not mine in the same way that they belong to members of that faith.

Obviously, such a rule is demanding. It is personally demanding in the sense that it is a religious obligation for me. I must exercise that respect as a Catholic. But it is also quite demanding on my relationship with Jews. For our relationship to be guided by this rule or measure, another rule is required to enable both of us to do this honestly and authentically, and being true to ourselves. The third rule of inter-religious dialogue therefore is a commitment to the truth and to the search for it in common. Partners must “attempt to agree on criteria for judging what each would accept as true, even when it is to be found in a different belief system” and when that truth is not yet shared.14 Without question, this third rule is the most demanding on the dialogue, and it’s not always clear what it entails. But as we speak together, we recognize that it’s there. And if we speak and it’s not here, we recognize that as well. It is the condition for the possibility of the last rule for pursuing inter-religious dialogue. The rule of commitment to the common is essential because it enables this commitment to flower into action, particularly common action.

That’s the fourth and last rule of inter-religious dialogue – to be genuine in searching for common action that does not betray particular beliefs. We are not in dialogue with disembodied ideas; we talk with persons. As we discover our respective commitments and personally commit ourselves to their promotion, we do so making common cause with others equally committed. These are the commitments that I think need to govern our dialogue: a commitment to faith, a commitment to the common, a commitment to the truth and to action here and everywhere else that believers share a more and more globalized society and culture.

Finally, in asking how a religion can be itself with full particular authenticity and at the same time contribute to inter-religious dialogue and contribute therefore to the creation and enrichment of a new culture, I must ask myself, at least, about my own religion and my own culture. Several times I’ve suggested here how my own experience of being Catholic is qualified by the fact that I’m a Catholic in America and Catholic as an American. That situation is more complex than that of being Catholic in other cultural settings, if for no other reason than the challenge to my faith of American cultural universalist pretension. If Catholics fail to engage this question, however, what is left for us is to become a cult or sect waiting out the collapse of our own society in some kind of eschatological expectation or, rather, of simply living here but abandoning the requirement for visibility which a biblical religion places upon us. Secularism will have triumphed by default. But then freedom itself will be weakened and we will have betrayed the living God. Other religions in this country, with different relations to its culture, must all engage the question; it’s better that, where possible, we do so together. I believe that together we might engage our culture on many points, but there are two themes that speak even to secularists. We can speak to them from faith.

First of all, there is the relationship between freedom and desire. We can examine that relationship together to see where it prevents individuals from becoming genuinely free. Even if one can fulfill all his or her desires, at the end of the day, one is not free. There are many without faith who would agree, “Yes, that’s true.” Freedom to pursue one’s own desires and dreams doesn’t automatically create happiness. Can we together speak to this and say what is missing in this cultural project?

Secondly, there is the relationship between individual and community. As pre-modern faiths in a post-modern culture, we bring something that is sometimes acutely felt to be lacking – a law deeper than the political for discerning right from wrong and a communitarian ethos that speaks to contemporary loneliness, isolation and alienation. Those are recognized difficulties in our kind of culture, and we have something to say to them. Our response isn’t from the culture itself or its terms of discourse because our faiths precede this culture’s creation. We need to envision, to use our imagination as religious people, an alternative to the society now being secularized rather than accept a society where every religion is privatized. Believers engaged inter-religious dialogue could help shape, I believe, a multi-religious society as the framework for a free society in its deepest terms.

I use the term multi-religious rather than pluralistic. A multi-religious society would prevent each religion from being co-opted by the ideology of pluralism. A religious authenticity itself can, in dialogue with other religions, contribute its own richness to the formation of a new culture, shaping a different kind of society. This dialogue has already begun. You yourself are witnesses to it and because you are doing it, I thank you with all my heart. God bless you.

  1. Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., “Catholicism in American Public Life”, Unpublished lecture to the First Friday Club of Chicago, October 1, 2004.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Thomas Aquinas, De potentia, q. 3, art. 1.
  5. Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., “Catholic Christianity and the Millennium: Frontiers of the Mind in the 21st Century”, Unpublished manuscript, June 16,1999.
  6. Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., “The Quandary of Being a Catholic and a U.S. Citizen”, in Chicago Studies: Vol. 43, No. 2, Summer 2004: 119-129.
  7. George, “Catholic Christianity and the Millennium”. Op. Cit.
  8. Francis E. George, O.M.I., Inculturation and Ecclesial Communion: Culture and Church in the Teaching of Pope John Paul II, (Rome: Urbaniana University Press, 1990), 107.
  9. See John Paul II, “Address to Priests, assembled at the Oratory of Saint Joseph, Montreal, Canada, September 11, 1984”, AAS 77 (1985): 389-397.
  10. George Weigel, Witness to Hope: the Biography of Pope John Paul II. (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 7.
  11. George, Inculturation and Ecclesial Communion, Op. Cit., 120-121.
  12. George, “Catholic Christianity and the Millennium”, Op. Cit.
  13. Nostra Aetate: The Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, no. 2, in The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbot, S.J., ed. (New York: American Press, 1966), 662-663.
  14. George, Inculturation and Ecclesial Communion, Op. Cit., 217