Doing Our Duty

| April 1, 2013

96814920-pope-francisBack in March the world watched as the Roman Catholic Church held the ancient ritual of the conclave to elect its new pope.  A conclave doesn’t happen every day, of course, so naturally people have questions about it whenever it occurs.  I thought it was interesting how, before the conclave began, many people asked me if I knew who the new pope was going to be.  The only answer I could give was the same one that the cardinals themselves gave: only the Holy Spirit knows.

Fortunately, we can get a little extra information about the conclave process because our Archbishop of Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, is one of the papal electors.  This means that when he returns from a conclave – as he did in April, 2005 and March, 2013 – he shares with people some of his reflections about the experience (although the cardinals vow to keep secret the specific details).

The election of a pope is a significant event for the Catholic Church, of course, but I wanted to address this article to everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic.  That is why I want to focus on something in particular that Cardinal George mentioned when talking about the conclave.  He talked about how there was a vacancy in the universal Church during the time when there was no pope, and how one of the primary jobs of the cardinals is to elect a new pope.  When the conclave was finished, Cardinal George said that there was a sense of satisfaction among the electors: “We did our job” he said.  “We did what we were supposed to do.”

That phrase struck me: we did what we were supposed to do.  I thought: what a wonderful thing for someone who believes in God to put on their tombstone.  I followed the Lord.  I did what I was supposed to do.  Just as the cardinals fulfilled their God-given role to elect a new earthly shepherd for the Church, so each of us is called every day to fulfill our God-given roles by serving God in one another, especially in the poor (which Pope Francis is emphasizing in his papacy).

So, as the world watched as 115 cardinals from around the world came together to do their God-given duty, let us not forget that each of us has a God-given duty to serve Him in all things.

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Category: Articles, Local Church News

About the Author ()

Fr. Rob Schultz is a lifelong resident of the Chicago Archdiocese and has been the pastor of St. Beatrice Catholic Church in Schiller Park since July, 2009.

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