Cardinal George Talks Regrets, Beliefs Ahead of Retirement

While there’s been much debate whether the Catholic Church should be more welcoming to gay Catholics after a meeting with key bishops in Rome, Cardinal Francis George is concerned some may expect too much.

George says welcoming is one thing, but approving gay marriage is far different.

"You can’t demand approval, you have to ask for mercy," he said.

The Cardinal conducted what the Archdiocese is calling his final one-on-one interviews before the Installation of Archbishop Blasé Cupich Nov. 18.

He touched on a lot of controversial subjects surrounding the church.

When asked about communion for divorced Catholics, George said, “If this is a sacramental marriage, and that’s a big if, than its permanent and that’s the end of that.”

As for regrets, George said he has “piles of regrets, good heavens,” noting the priest sex abuse crisis.

“We thought we had it nailed down tight, well it didn’t work, I have deep regret there," he said.

Cardinal George is looking forward to the next phase, retirement. He doesn’t plan on maintaining a big public role, but has a lot he'd like to do in his private life, including “working the soup lines.”

Many have questioned what will happen to the Cardinal's Mansion after  Archbishop Cupich suggested he may not choose to live at the Gold Coast residence.

“It’s a good question and I’m sure it will be raised," he said.

George says he hopes to move to Casa Jesus, a residence next to Holy Name Cathedral , but said the state of his health will determine if that’s possible.

George has been participating in a clinical trial at the University of Chicago for his kidney cancer and will learn in the next two to six weeks if the tumor has grown or if the new trial is working.

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