The cardinal was recognized “for distinguished service in exercising and defending the First Amendment rights of Catholic newspapers” during the 2015 Catholic Media Conference in Buffalo, New York.
When Cardinal Francis George retired in November as archbishop of Chicago, he became the first archbishop to do so and greet his successor. A native of the Windy City, Cardinal George’s influence reached far beyond his hometown borders. He is considered one of the keenest minds in the English-speaking Church and was a leading voice urging the protection of religious freedoms in the United States.
He regularly addressed issues of religious freedom in his column for the Catholic New World. These columns were often reprinted in diocesan newspapers around the country and regularly received more than 10,000 page views on the Catholic New World website. In a recent interview with the Catholic New World he talked about his concern for religious liberty. “The fact is, it’s a subject I’ve been studying for a long time because, as I went around the world when I was vicar general of the Oblates, I often found places where people aren’t free to practice their faith,” Cardinal George said. “It is a little frightening when you’re confronted with that possibility in your own country, which I never thought would be the case, but it is.”