ROME -- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was appointed a bishop by Pope John Paul II three different times: first in Yakima, Washington, in 1990, then as archbishop of Portland in 1996, and finally as archbishop of Chicago in 1997. One year later, John Paul also elevated George to the College of Cardinals.
tThose repeated demonstrations of papal confidence may help explain why George, 74, wanted to be on hand for the May 1 beatification of John Paul II.
tAs fate would have it, George left for Rome amid a controversy in Chicago over his suspension of the high-profile, charismatic Fr. Michael Pfleger, known for his social activism, especially on behalf of African-Americans. (Pfleger has repeatedly refused to accept a transfer from his present parish.) Chicago area media asked George to explain how much time he was willing to give Pfleger, and George replied that was mostly up to him.
“We’ll be in conversation at some point, I hope,” George said.