Speculation Begins For Cardinal George's Successor

"It makes very good sense to start the process," Cardinal George said

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Saturday, Apr 12, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern breaks down some of the early favorites to take on the role as the next Archbishop of Chicago.

NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern breaks down some of the early favorites to take on the role as the next Archbishop of Chicago.

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Who will succeed Cardinal Francis George?

Now that the Vatican's American representative, Papal Nuncio, has agreed to begin the process of choosing a successor to the successor, several names are being discussed to take on the role as Archbishop of Chicago.

"Informally, even among yourselves, this has been going on for a long time. It's a parlor game here," George said at a Friday news conference.

Nuncio will recommend three names to the Pope for consideration, and some of the rumored candidates include Archbishop of Seattle J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of San Antonio Garcia Siller or Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph William Tobin.

George says he hopes to meet whoever it is, "in order to be of service if he wants it."

"I know it looks as if I'm going to have to be spending a little more attention on my health," Cardinal George told reporters Friday, "and so it's just not fair to the Archdiocese to have someone who may not be able to do the job as well as I believe it should be done."

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced this week the Cardinal, 77, has resumed his chemotherapy and will not make a scheduled trip to Rome to attend the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII on April 27.

The Cardinal is suffering from cancer near his right kidney and underwent his second chemotherapy treatment on Monday. He survived bladder cancer eight years ago and was diagnosed with urothelial cancer in 2012.

Questions have surfaced about whether the Vatican is beginning the search for the next Archbishop of Chicago, and Cardinal George confirmed Friday the search will begin soon.

"It makes very good sense to start the process," he said, noting the selection process tends to be lengthy.

Though the Cardinal walked a bit slowly, he was in good spirits during Friday's press conference and said the selection process doesn't been he's immediately stepping down.

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

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