On the same day Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George returned from Pope John Paul II’s beatification in Rome, his newest book “God in Action” hit bookstores, arguing that the exclusion of God and religious perspectives from the public square is not the way to foster freedom. Instead, he said, if people tune in, they will realize God is a liberating force.

He sat down with Tribune religion reporter Manya A. Brachear last week to discuss the book and other issues. Here are excerpts.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Why “God in Action” now?

A: People ask questions … I’m talking about how we can be free as persons in relationship(s) and again the question of how do you assure that you’re acting freely? Well, you act in cooperation with God. Sometimes God is seen as somebody who puts a damper on our freedom. I’d suggest the opposite. He supports it and wants us to be free and to be fulfilled in that way. So the book is about various questions that enable us to look for ways in which we might cooperate with God’s action. God does act. He’s not an impersonal kind of love machine. In public life, he acts. So I talk about immigration, the law, globalization, the economy, the things that are the public challenges that we think we can solve without reference to the God question or religion. And I’m saying we can’t.

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