Tim Drake tracks down the original source for a quote that has been circulating for a few years, usually attributed to Chicago Cardinal Francis George, that predicts anti-Catholic persecution. He confirmed with George that the quote is accurate and that he’s not backing down from it. Here’s what the cardinal told him about what he’d said:
“I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world. I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: ‘His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.’ What I said is not ‘prophetic’ but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse.”
There’s something rather perverse about a Catholic, of all people, claiming that they’re going to be the victims of terrible persecution in the future, especially at the hands of non-believers. I dare say no other institution has as long and horrible a record of persecuting its critics as the Roman Catholic Church. Don’t worry, Cardinal. As society becomes progressively more secular, we will certainly treat you far better than your church has ever treated others.