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Francis George

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His Eminence 
Francis Eugene George
 OMI
Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
See Chicago
Enthroned May 7, 1997
Predecessor Joseph Bernardin
Successor incumbent
Ordination December 21, 1963
Consecration September 21, 1990
Created Cardinal February 21, 1998
Rank Cardinal Priest of San Bartolomeo all'Isola
Other Archbishop of Portland
Bishop of Yakima
Personal details
Born January 16, 1937 (1937-01-16) (age 79)
Chicago, Illinois

Francis Eugene George, OMI (born January 16, 1937) is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the eighth and current Archbishop of Chicago, having previously served as Bishop of Yakima (1990–1996) and the Archbishop of Portland (1996–1997). He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 1998. George is the current President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and is in charge of one the largest U.S. dioceses in terms of Catholic population. A member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he had once served as prior provincial, or head, of the American province of his order; before that, he taught at some noted American seminaries. He was elected the moderator for North America at the 2008 World General Synod of Bishops Meeting.

In addition to his native English, George also speaks French, Italian, Latin, Spanish and German.

Early years

Born in Chicago to Francis J. and Julia R. McCarthy George, he attended St. Pascal Grade School on the city's northwest side. Cardinal George then enrolled at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago. However, due to difficulty climbing stairs because of childhood polio, he attended Quigley for only a day. He then transferred to St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, Illinois before joining the religious order of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on August 14, 1957. He was sent to the University of Ottawa in Canada to study theology before being ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1963. Ordination took place at his home parish of St. Pascal Church by Bishop Raymond Hillinger.

Father of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Father George's religious order sent him to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he earned a master's degree in philosophy in 1965 and where he is now a member of the Board of Trustees. He then attended classes at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana where he obtained a doctorate in American philosophy in 1970. Father George then returned to the University of Ottawa to obtain a master's degree in theology in 1971.

While studying for college, Father George at the same time taught philosophy at Oblate Seminary in Pass Christian, Mississippi from 1964 to 1969, at Tulane in 1968 and at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska from 1969 to 1973.

Upon his departure from Creighton, Father George served as Provincial Superior of the Midwestern Province for the Oblates in St. Paul, Minnesota for a year. He was then elected Vicar General of the Oblates and served in Rome through 1986. It was in Rome that Father George obtained his Doctorate in Sacred Theology in ecclesiology from the Pontifical Urban University in 1988.

Early episcopate

Pope John Paul II appointed Father George the fifth Bishop of Yakima in Washington state on July 10, 1990. He was consecrated and installed on September 21 in Yakima's Holy Family Parish. He served Yakima for five and a half years.

Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop George the ninth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon on April 30, 1996. He was installed in a ceremony on May 27.

Archbishop of Chicago

Styles of
Francis George
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Chicago

On April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop George the eighth Archbishop of Chicago to fill a vacancy left by the death of Joseph Bernardin on November 14, 1996. He was the first native Chicagoan to assume the office. On May 7 after his appointment, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Agostino Cacciavillan installed Archbishop George in Holy Name Cathedral.

On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George's elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals with the title of Cardinal Priest of San Bartolomeo all'Isola. Newly named Cardinal George was awarded the privileges of the scarlet vestments and biretta in consistory at the Vatican on February 21.

George was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He will be eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves that occur before January 16, 2017 when he will reach his 80th birthday.

At the conclave, he, like Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, was known as a conservative supporter of Benedict, saying afterward in a press conference, "It was a choice that was apparent almost immediately."

Cardinal George publishes a locally well-read column weekly in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic New World, called The Cardinal's Column. As Cardinal Bernardin referred to himself as "Joseph your brother", George refers to himself as "Francis your neighbor". He has published at least two pastoral letters, including a major discourse on the sinful and destructive nature of racism.

George is also known for continuing the work of his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, regarding young people in the church - specifically, by addressing the archdiocese's annual Theology on Tap gathering in 1997. In his invitation to the event, he wrote, “You are very important members of the Church. Your energy, talent and faith will give me much help as together we build up our local Church to be a vital presence in the Chicago area. Together we can continue the mission of Jesus Christ to bring the Gospel of love, forgiveness and holiness to all the places where we live and encounter others.”[1]

Health concerns

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 that Cardinal George had bladder cancer and would undergo surgery the next day at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, west of Chicago.

His personal physician, the Reverend Myles Sheehan, S.J., M.D., said that there was a drop in blood pressure after the surgery and some bleeding in a small blood vessel, but that the Cardinal had suffered only minor complications.

Cardinal George was released and, it was ultimately determined, was not expected to need chemotherapy or radiation because the bladder cancer, while an aggressive type, was strictly confined to the bladder and a ureter as a carcinoma in situ and had not spread to lymph nodes or otherwise extensively spread by metastasis. He was able to eat normally, not needing an indwelling catheter or other artificial system after a new bladder had been reconstructed from some intestinal tissue. He planned to use a walker and undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at his residence to regain full use of a leg stricken by his childhood bout with polio.

He attended to affairs with the archdiocese's vicar general, the Rev. John Canary, while he recuperated. He resumed limited functions from the residence soon thereafter, followed by his regular schedule after September 2006. His prognosis for recovery was deemed "favorable." He traveled to Rome in October 2006, to concelebrate the canonization Mass of Indiana's first saint, Mother Theodore Guerin, S.P., and three other new saints.

Cardinal George, as Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with several other leaders of the conference and its president at the time, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Washington, during that 2006 visit to Rome. The conference leaders were received by Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia. He also resumed writing "The Cardinal's Column," his piece in the main archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic New World. He helped launch the first American diocesan Polish newspaper, which will join Chicago Catolico, the Spanish diocesan newspaper, to serve an ethnically diverse diocese.

On April 7, 2007, the day before Easter Sunday, Cardinal George slipped and fell at Saint Ferdinand Church in the Northwest Side area of Chicago on holy water that he had been sprinkling on Easter baskets, some of which had fallen on the church's marble floor, which had been shined earlier that week by a student who had an in-school suspension. He fractured his hip at the top of the femur. He continued the service, but was later taken to Loyola University Medical Center.[2] Surgery was not necessary and he was released on Easter Sunday after celebrating Mass in his room.

All the rest of his Easter engagements for the week were postponed or canceled, as was his place in a pilgrimage trip later in the week to Rome. He had remarked earlier that because of the right leg brace he wears from his childhood polio, combined with his recent cancer, he now falls more frequently.

In November 2007 Cardinal George was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.[3]

Christian-Jewish relations

In 2007, he asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus in the Talmud as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity. [4] In 2009, he condemned negationist declarations made by bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X. [5]

Duties in the Roman Curia

Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal George to several offices of the Roman Curia:

Cardinal George had been mentioned as potential candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II according to TIME magazine , and later to succeed Pope Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, Benedict appointed former Archbishop of San Francisco William Levada to fill that office. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Catholic University of America, a senior board member of Mundelein Seminary and Loyola University Chicago, and a member of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. In May 2008, Father Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, was named the first holder of the endowed Francis Cardinal George Chair of Systematic Theology at Mundelein Seminary, the second such named endowed chair the university started.

Cardinal George authored a book in 2009.

In the fall of 2009, he entered the third year of his three-year presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

References

External links

Episcopal Succession

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Agostino Cacciavillan
Date of consecration: September 21, 1990
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Joseph Perry June 29, 1998
George Joseph Lucas December 13, 1999
Jerome Edward Listecki January 8, 2001
Francis Joseph Kane March 19, 2003
Thomas John Paprocki March 19, 2003
Gustavo Garcia-Siller March 19, 2003
Preceded by
William Stephen Skylstad
Bishop of Yakima
1990–1996
Succeeded by
Carlos Arthur Sevilla, SJ
Preceded by
William Levada
Archbishop of Portland
1996–1997
Succeeded by
John George Vlazny
Preceded by
Joseph Bernardin
Archbishop of Chicago
1997–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
William S. Skylstad
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
2007–present
Incumbent
cs:Francis Georgela:Franciscus Eugenius George

no:Francis Eugene Georgept:Francis Eugene George ru:Джордж, Фрэнсис Юджин

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