Father George Rutler: A True Leader of the Catholic Faith

By  //  May 31, 2021

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Ordained in the diaconate in Rome, Father George Rutler was the youngest Episcopal rector in the country when he led the Church of Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. It was in 1979, that Father Rutler formally joined the Catholic Church. His Eminence William Cardinal Baum welcomed Father Rutler to the priesthood in New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1981. 

As an associate pastor of St. Joseph in Bronxville, Father Rutler began sharing sermons at Our Lady of Victory in the city’s Wall Street region along with St. Agnes, located in Manhattan. Father Rutler was also the university chaplain for the Archdiocese. As a chaplain at the local general hospital, he had the unique opportunity to spend substantial amounts of time helping patients at the local psychiatric hospital.

Legatus, an organization developed to aid Catholic business leaders and their families was also delighted to have Father Rutler serve for more than a decade as its National Chaplain. But his service certainly was not limited to the aforementioned organization. He has served as a board member on several schools and colleges. As a matter of fact, he also maintained a considerable media presence in an effort to promote his knowledge about the Catholic faith to the masses.

Indeed as many religious leaders have correctly opined, there has sadly been a decay in the culture when it comes to our youth’s values system. This is something that can only be changed by mainstreaming religious and positive values in a way that can truly connect with this generation. As such, since 1988, Father Rutler has hosted a weekly television program that has been broadcast all over the world. He also travels across the globe – hosting retreats and offering lectures with his insightful wisdom on the word of God.

He has also made his mark as the creator of several documentary films in both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has consistently contributed his writings to various journals and media publications in the faith community and has published more than thirty books on cultural issues and theology.

In 1988, the University of Oxford in England awarded Father Rutler a degree as a Master of Studies. He has been a regular preacher to the student body group of Oxford for a number of years now. In fact, it was in 1996, that then-Governor George W. Bush made him an honorary Texan.

It was after September 11th 2001 that Father Rutler committed to helping in the vast efforts being undertaken by volunteers and others at the World Trade Center on Ground Zero. For his contributions and benevolence, he was honored by the City Council of New York, and was made an honorary firefighter by the city of Dallas.

He has also made it in his mission and duty to try to be as accessible as possible to his parishioners and all members of the Catholic faith. Even while there has been a substantial decline in interest in religion among the youth demographic aged 18-29, in Father Rutler’s judgment there are ways to combat this disturbing trend.

Indeed, part of the calculus on the part of those in the leadership reins of the faith community has to be where to produce and deliver content to members of this important and rapidly growing demographic. Father Rutler’s media presence over the last several decades is a testament to his keen understanding of the types of outlets consumed by members of this demographic.

Indeed, there are unique ways that values derived from the Catholic faith can be disseminated across the globe in a way that’s both comprehensible and digestible by members of the general public. The onus and responsibility lie with the leadership of various faith groups to creatively seek out ways that members of mainstream society can indeed connect with the important teachings of all the major faiths that exist. Father Rutler is one of the leaders in the broader religious community that clearly has an exceptional understanding of this principle. We look forward to continuing to see it applied across the board, as other faith leaders seek to follow Father Rutler’s lead and emulate his example.

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