Three times each year, myFaith reporters have a chance to speak with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki about anything young adults want to know – send a question to be asked anonymously in the next issue to firstname.lastname@example.org. The archbishop recently sat down to talk with myFaith Staff reporter Tracy Rusch, who shares his responses, edited by myFaith Staff, below.
1. What’s your favorite zoo animal?
It’s always been the elephant. When I look at the elephant, I see this lumbering figure, this giant that oftentimes has a gentle disposition. So when going to the zoo, I always loved to see the elephants and marvel at the fact that they can move the way they do.
2. If you could dine with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Let’s eliminate Jesus … of course I would say Jesus, … but if we’re talking in a world context it certainly would be interesting to dine with Socrates, an individual who has this global perspective, but if we’re talking about a national thing, I would love to dine with one of my favorite presidents of all time, George Washington, and get a sense of his vision for the country and what he accomplished and how he accomplished it.
3. How should we view war in light of our faith?
We take a look at war as being the defense of the persona of the country so our young men and women who serve our country are actually defending the life of the country, and therefore our lives that we enjoy.
I probably would be considered a patriot in the sense I do have a great affection for and a sense of what the country represents and its sense of democracy. However, even as a chaplain, within the context of war, there’s still the ethics and morality that one is still bound by. Military personnel understand those ethics that they’re bound by even during times of engagement.
Can you share an example of that – the ethics they’re bound by?
When the peace pastoral (“The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response”) came out in the early ‘80s, the individuals that were most concerned about how this impacted their faith were people in the military, more so than the laypeople and the faithful in parishes, which said to me that these are individuals who take very seriously their commitment and blending their faith with what they represent.
It would be wonderful if individuals in other areas, our business community, took seriously their responsibility in terms of their response to the poor, the way the military takes serious its responsibility in terms of the ethics of peace.
4. If you could go back in time to witness a historical event, which would you choose and why?
Certainly I’d love to go back in time to witness the Resurrection – that would be phenomenal because at that point there was basically a conquering of death; this is the fulfillment of the promise. On the heels of that, the two other events would certainly have been the Crucifixion, to be able to witness the death of Jesus and then on the other side, you might say the Ascension, but I’d like to have been present at Pentecost to watch the burgeoning new church as the Holy Spirit were to come in.
If we’re taking a look at just events, to be able to witness an event, go back again to the Old Testament, it would have been wonderful to see Moses crossing the Red Sea, I mean that would have been phenomenal. Another aspect here in our history would have been the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That would have been a moment where you’re there capturing the spirit, not knowing what was going to transpire, but capturing the spirit of that moment. We know what happened, but to be present, you’re capturing the spirit and you’re embracing the spirit.
5. How will you be watching the Bears games?
I am pretty boring to watch the game with, because my sense is when I’m watching a game, I’m much more analytical in watching a game rather than the emotions, you know, or yelling or shouting.
That’s not a part of me; that is part of me when I’m engaged in the sport. Although, when I did coach I got quite a few technicals on the bench, because I would be analyzing a game and watch a ref blow a call or do something and I had this tendency not to remain silent.
Do you wear a jersey?
No, I don’t. I will if it’s put up for a fundraiser. I do have a Bears jersey. I have a Packers jersey. I have an Aaron Rodgers Packers jersey. I had a Clay Matthews jersey that was auctioned off a number of years ago. But I also have a Bears jersey – I have a (Dick) Butkus jersey – that’s my favorite Bears player of all time.
With whom do you normally watch?
Usually, because my schedule is such, it’s on a Sunday, I’m usually at events and stuff. When I get the time, I usually end up with a coffee cup watching a little section of the game. I don’t even get a chance to watch the whole game. I’m a fan of the sport, so although I have favorite teams, I just enjoy seeing the game played.