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Cardinal regrets missing meeting with pope 'to report on Chicago'

Cardinal Francis George’s decision to stay at home during the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II means he also will miss a scheduled meeting with the current pontiff  "to report on Chicago and where we go next."

The cardinal said his doctors have advised him not to travel overseas for the April 27 canonizations as he resumes chemotherapy for cancer that has returned. George told reporters today that his infection after the first round of chemotherapy delayed the second dose and doctors did not advise delaying treatment for the trip.

“My health is something I have to pay attention to full-time,” he said.  

The cardinal appeared weak and walked slowly to and from the podium during the news conference. But he assured reporters who asked about his health that his death was not "imminent."

"I'm not going to be dying, I don't think, for the next few months," he said.

The archdiocese announced last month that doctors had found new cancer cells in the cardinal's right kidney. He had been in remission following a diagnosis of urothelial cancer in August 2012.

George has told the pope’s U.S. delegate, called the apostolic nuncio, that the search for his replacement should begin, given his uncertain health. On Friday, George said the delegate agreed, but the cardinal has not yet gotten a formal letter to begin the process.

The pope relies on the apostolic nuncio — a papal adviser  similar to the ambassador of a country — who consults with the current archbishop, other U.S. cardinals, Illinois bishops and even local priests and parishioners.  The apostolic nuncio prepares a report that summarizes the state of the archdiocese and recommends three men for the post.

The report goes to a committee of cardinals in Rome, who discuss the matter and give their advice to the pope. The pope has final say and can choose one of the three recommendations or go with someone not on the list.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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