Francis George

Francis George

infobox cardinalbiog
name = Francis Eugene George, O.M.I.

See = Chicago
Title = Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
Period = May 7, 1997 – present
cardinal = February 21, 1998
Predecessor = Joseph Bernardin
Successor = incumbent
post = Archbishop of Portland
date of birth = Birth date and age|1937|1|16|mf=y
place of birth = Chicago, Illinois, United States

Francis Eugene George, OMI (born January 16, 1937) is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as the Archbishop of Chicago and was elevated to Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. The Cardinal is the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, having previously served as vice-president, and is in charge of the second largest U.S. diocese, in terms of Catholic population, after Los Angeles. He had once served as prior provincial, or head, of the American province of his order; before that, he taught at some noted American Catholic seminaries.

Cardinal George also served as the Bishop of Yakima and the Archbishop of Portland. He speaks English, 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 St. Paul Cathedral. 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

infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Francis George
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
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".

George is also known for continuing the work of his predecessor 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.” [ [ Theology-on-Tap Report presented to the US Bishops] re report dated November 10, 2002 by Archdiocese of Chicago Young Adult Ministry.]

Clergy abuse scandals

The Archdiocese of Chicago has not been immune from the clergy abuse scandals that have rocked the church in recent years. Prior to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal George had spoken with then Cardinal Ratzinger and asked for his assistance in the matter. After the election of Benedict XVI, the new Pope told Cardinal George that he remembered their previous conversation and that he would attend to the matter.

While Cardinal George has had to deal with the fallout from clergy sexual abuse cases from many years ago, he has come under fire for his actions during a recent abuse case. Cardinal George acknowledged that he had made mistakes in the case of the Rev. Daniel McCormack, who was charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on January 21, 2006. It is alleged that McCormack had abused two boys repeatedly from 2001 to 2005. Cardinal George has faced criticism for allowing McCormack to remain at his post after allegations first surfaced in August 2005. At the time prosecutors were not able to move forward because there was not enough evidence. Instead McCormack was told to not have any unsupervised contact with minors and had a personal monitor assigned to him. Cardinal George has since indicated that had he known several months ago what he knew now that he would've removed McCormack from his duties right away. Cardinal George took some responsibility for the matter, saying, "The sins of priests and bishops destroy the church, and I think that's what we're seeing here." [ Cardinal George apologizes to disgruntled Chicago parishioners] , January 31, 2006 Catholic News Agency. Accessed March 24, 2008.]

Despite claims of following the church's procedures for dealing with child-molesting priests, Cardinal George made no attempt to contact the police. Following this incident, the procedures for reporting abuse in Chicago were reportedly reevaluated by a panel and their importance was stressed.

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 only 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. He fractured his hip at the top of the femur. He continued the service, but was later taken to Loyola University Medical Center. [ [,1,5926945.story?coll=chi-news-hed Cardinal Injured] , April 8, 2007.] 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.Fact|date=March 2008

In November 2007 Cardinal George was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. [ [ U.S. Catholic Bishops elect new president and vice president ] ]

Duties in the Roman Curia

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

*Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
*Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
*Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
*Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church
*Congregation for Oriental Churches
*Pontifical Council for Culture.

Cardinal George had been mentioned as potential candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II according to TIME magazine Fact|date=May 2007, 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.


External links

* [ Cardinal George Fanclub] - News Coverage, Commentary & Resources
* [ Archdiocese of Chicago] - official site
* [ Catholic New World Newspaper]
* [ Parish Directory]
* [ Schools Directory]
* [ Cardinal George's catholic-pages bio]

Episcopal Succession

date of consecration=September 21 1990
consecrated by=Agostino Cacciavillan
bishopconsecrated1 = bishopconsecrated1
bishop 1=Joseph Perry
consecration date 1=June 29 1998
bishopconsecrated2 = bishopconsecrated2
bishop 2=George Joseph Lucas
consecration date 2=December 13 1999
bishopconsecrated3 = bishopconsecrated3
bishop 3=Jerome Edward Listecki
consecration date 3=January 8 2001
bishopconsecrated4 = bishopconsecrated4
bishop 4=Francis Joseph Kane
consecration date 4=March 19 2003
bishopconsecrated5 = bishopconsecrated5
bishop 5=Thomas John Paprocki
consecration date 5=March 19 2003
bishopconsecrated6 = bishopconsecrated6
bishop 6=Gustavo Garcia-Siller
consecration date 6=March 19 2003
bishopconsecrated7 = null
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