Cardinal Francis George and Prof. Rocco Buttiglione
By Nancy Thorner –
On Monday, September 15th the Board of Trustees & Board of Founders of The Quiroga Institute of Chicago held a fundraising event at the University Club of Chicago. Vasco De Quiroga University, a private institution with eight locations in Mexico, will be adding seven more locations in Mexico in 2014 – 2015, in its 35th anniversary year.
Chicago has been selected as the first international location which will combine Chicago’s rich cultural, educational, and industrial history with the Catholic, liberal arts, and vocation vision of the Universidad Vasco De Quiroga (UVAQ) of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. Founded in 2014, The Quiroga Institute of Chicago. (To Educate in Truth) is to be located in Chicago’s Pilsen community at 2114 W. 22nd Place, Chicago, IL 60608.
His Eminence, Cardinal Francis Eugene George OMI attended the event, rendering both the opening prayer and pronouncing the Benediction, had this say about the selection of the Chicago location for its first international location in a handout distributed at the event aboutThe Quiroga Institute of Chicago:
“Chicago and the Archdiocese welcome the Quiroga Institute and look forward to counting its classical institutional philosophy and traditional Catholic education among our community’s assets.”
The mission of the Quiroga Institute of Chicago, with its commitment to a society inspired by the Catholic Humanism of Don Vasco de Quiroga, is to train students to become change agents in the benefit of the Common Good of Society. With the changing and reversing of the cultural drift of our time, a Herculean task is ahead that must be accomplished on behalf of our fore-bearers by the Church and their children. There must be a cultural renewal “for the good of humanity” through the dissemination of true knowledge, if the freedom we cherish, but too often take for granted, is to survive and not be replaced with a dictatorial government. Without this cultural renewal, there will be no change (“Catholic Humanism” as expressed by UVAQ, is a foreign terminology, as Catholic Humanism does not appear in the U.S version of the Catechism. The term is not to be construed by Americans as being aligned to secular humanism and viewed as a negative. Things have changed in 450 years from the time of Vasco de Quiroga.).
Following the great traditions and curricula of man’s earliest universities over 500 years ago, and the scholarly monasteries and Christian enclaves which preceded them, students will experience an intentionally rigorous liberal arts curriculum to prepare each to excel in personal, professional, family, and community leadership in later life. There will be mentors to assist students with challenges and experts to advise, teach and connect students to vocations. If all goes according to schedule, The Quiroga Institute of Chicago will welcome its first class of students, Fall 2015.
Prof. Rocco Buttiglione as featured speaker
Addressing the group of distinguished guests was Prof. Rocco Buttiglione, a strict Roman Catholic who was a convert to Catholicism; a friend and advisor to Pope John Paul II; a leading European Statesman; current member of Italian Chamber of Deputies; Professor of Political Science at Saint Pius V University in Rome; and the long-time and special friend of Cardinal Archbishop, Francis Eugene George. In 2005 Buttiglione received an honorary doctoral degree for his commitment to the ideas of liberty.
Prof. Buttiglione’s topic, “My Friendship with the Pope of the Family,” was cited as the first in Quiroga Institute’s Inaugural Lecture series, eight total under the theme of Liberty’s Groundings, from September, 2014 to May, 2015. Also featured in this series will be Anthony Esolen, Don Alberto Suarz, and Brian Burch. The April 13th lecture date has been confirmed with Dr. Gerard Wegemar speaking about “St. Thomas More and the Liberal Arts.” These sessions will target Catholic business, education, religious, and government leaders, encouraging them to bring spouses and guests. Check here for more details to follow.
In his initial remarks, Prof. Rocco Buttiglione, as both a professor and a politician, admitted to his tendency to talk too much. Offering misgivings about speaking about St. John Paul II at the Quiroga Institute of Chicago, Prof. Buttiglione revealed that he was not pleased when at first asked to speak about John Paul II. “What shall I say?” thought Buttiglione. Upon further reflection, Prof. Buttiglione concluded that he would need to address how Pope John Paul II exemplified love; he loved you and was willing to give his life for you. When Pope John Paul II died, thousands flocked to Rome, not because they represented living examples of the holy life of the Pope, but because they had the perception that he loved them, with a kind of love generally coming from parents and siblings. Yet the perceived love of the Pope was heartfelt and would remain with those who flocked to Rome until the end of their lives.
Buttiglione shares personal memories of Pope St. John Paul II
In an incident involving reforming the Catholic Church under the Council of Vatican II, expressed was how Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope St. John Paul II, took part in the council’s opening session. When Bishop Karol Wojtyla was asked why he was concerned about the document as he already knew what he wanted the document to look like, listening well, with hand on chin and with laughter in his eyes, Bishop Karol Wojtyla remarked that the document was not important. It was how 50,000 people had to come together as a team to work together, and then this number would keep expanding until countless numbers would merge to work together to embrace what emerged from Vatican II.
In speaking about the Pope’s childhood (His mother died when very young.) Prof. Buttiglione surmised that the love of his father and mother must have been very great. Young Karol Wojtyla was led to the love of his mother through the eyes of his father. The greatest gift a father can give to his daughter is to love their mother.
In speaking about the importance of love and marriage and the role of men and women, Prof Buttigilone emphasized how women must be taught that friendship is important before marriage, so marriage does not become a thing of chance with the sexual aspect overriding all else. Girls must accept their destiny or the culture is disrupted. As such it is the moral obligation of women to marry. Regarding men, no one helps young men to become men so they will accept the challenge of life. (This reference was made when Prof. Buttiglione mentioned his four daughters and about finding suitable partners for them.)
Exemplification of love by Pope John Paul II
To read more about why Prof. Buttigilone was guided to talk about the Pope in relation to the Pope’s exemplification of love, take time to read this 32-page excerpt drawn from “Love and Responsibility” published in 1960 by Fr. Karol Wojtyla before he became Pope John Paul II in 1978. It is worth reading as an amazing definition of what love is all about. The book is likewise an appropriate starting point of the Pope’s thinking, not only because it was published earlier in his life, but also because of its focus on the great issue of our lives: love. As a young priest working with married couples, the future pope learned “to love human love.” Cited by Michelle K. Borras in “Five Essential Insights of Pope John Paul II”:
Throughout his pontificate, he boldly developed a theology of human love in many of his teaching. H taught that the human body has a “nuptial meaning.” In our sexual differences (i.e., existing only as men or as woman who together image God), we can already glimpse the signs of the fundamental human vocation to love.
Michell K. Borras further wrote: “It was in his first Encyclical, that John Paul II wrote that man “remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love” (Redemptor Hominis,10). [Michelle KI. Borras is a theologian in residence at the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C., and director of the Order’s Catholic Information Service.]
Pope John Paul was a model of untiring love for God and for all men and women. It was the mystery of God’s love that shined brightly throughout every one of the Pope’s insights throughout his entire life, generously giving of himself. He was motivated by a love for Christ, to whom he had consecrated his life. It can rightly be said that Pope John Paul gave us a theology of human love. Even when nearing death in 2005 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease, Pope John Paul gave Divine Mercy the last word in his life. Writing in his will and testament“: I…ask for prayers, so that God’s Mercy may prove greater than my own weakness and unworthiness: ‘For with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption (Ps. 130:7).”‘
It was fitting that Prof. Buttiglione ended his message with an account of the Pope praying in the Vatican. One day Buttiglione found the Pope kneeling in prayer in a small room that was not a typical venue for prayer, but this was indicative of the Pope: he prayed whenever and wherever he had a free moment.
Prof. Buttiglione’s friendship with the Pope of the Family will remain forever within him, as Buttiglione’s presentation about his remembrances of the Pope, as advisor and friend, conveyed a special meaning to Catholics and Protestants alike, who will forever revere the Pope and his vision of man and of the Christ centered family.