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Cardinal Francis George of Chicago dies at 78

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Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago died Friday, April 17. The cardinal visited the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in April of 2013, when he delivered the Gardner Lecture on Moral Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Francis George, the Emeritus Archbishop of Chicago, passed away Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 78-year-old cardinal was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and underwent a five-hour surgery to remove his bladder and other parts of his body affected by cancer. In 2012, his doctors discovered that the cancer had returned, this time to his kidney and liver.

Cardinal George most recently visited the Archdiocese of Cincinnati April 24, 2013 to deliver a lecture at the Athenaeum of Ohio.

“With deep sadness I join the local Church of Chicago and the Church Universal in mourning the death on Friday of Cardinal Francis George after a long battle with cancer,” said Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr in a statement released April 20. “Cardinal George was a towering intellect who served the Church well as archbishop of Chicago and, from 2007 to 2010, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. One of the things I appreciate about him is that he often posed questions. He even listed in an interview a number of questions he would like to ask the Pope! But he once explained to me that he did so not to challenge, as some people thought, but because he hoped to learn something. In that quest to learn more, and the realization that there is always more to learn, he displayed both intellect and humility. I encourage all the faithful to remember him in their prayers.”

In an effort to battle the returning cancer, Cardinal George took part in a cancer drug clinical trial last year, which experimented with helping the body recognize cancerous cells through the immune system. After it was determined that his trial was proving to be ineffective, he halted the treatment in January.

The first Chicago native to become the city’s archbishop, Cardinal George retired in 2014 amid his battle with cancer and was succeeded by Archbishop Blase Cupich. He had shepherded the archdiocese since 1997.

Last year, he said that the cancer would likely be the cause of his death, but that he was counting on prayers so that he “might be of service to the Lord and His Church in the time left.”

Included below is the video of Cardinal George’s lecture at the Athenaeum two years ago.

 

The Catholic Telegraph contributed to this report. 

Posted April 17, 2015 Updated April 20, 2015 

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