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Cardinal George, Governor Hold Private Meeting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Talk about igniting a firestorm! Private, two-hour meeting between leaders included such topics as abortion, the death penalty and school vouchers.

    A private, two-hour meeting between Francis Cardinal George and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday included such topics as abortion, the death penalty and school vouchers.

    Ouch! Talk about igniting a firestorm.

    "The primary question for us is one of personal integrity," George said in a sit-down interview prior to his meeting with the governor at the Union League Club.

    George recently criticized Quinn for his attendance at a pro-choice luncheon honoring a rape victim who supports abortion and provides counseling to young women.

    Quinn said he went there because it was the Christian thing to do. George disagreed.

    "In the name of the faith itself, [you can't] do things that are contrary to the faith. That doesn't -- somehow that doesn't compute," said George.

    George also revealed he asked for -- and recently received -- a letter from Father Michael Pfleger detailing the St. Sabina pastor's future plans.

    "It was a personal letter, but he did what he asked him to do: give me a letter that says this is where your heart is. This is where your mind is, and when you think -- at some point there has to be a transition anyway, everybody knows that," said George.

    Both George and Pfleger, whom the cardinal has twice suspended, said the plan is private. They said they plan to talk again before releasing what the transition may be.

    George, who turns 75 years old next month, faces his own transition. He must submit his resignation, but it's up to the Pope to accept it, and most think Benedict XVI will postpone that retirement for a year or two.

    "[I'm] the first Archbishop of Chicago ever to reach 75," said George, smiling. "This is a tough job. Everybody dies younger than that, so I feel kind of good about that. It's not so much good health as it is stubbornness, I think. Nonetheless, we're going to reach 75, I hope, with the grace of God."