Church leaders in the Archdiocese of Chicago greeted with enthusiasm the election of Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., as president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Jimmy Lago, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, explained Cardinal George's qualifications saying “the Cardinal has been a compelling voice that speaks on issues of concern, including interfaith relations, Catholic education, expanding vocations, and racial and social justice. He has also been a steadfast protector of children and youth locally, nationally and internationally, as well as an advocate for the important social service work of Catholic Charities in Cook and Lake counties.”
Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago Very Reverend John F. Canary, praised the news. “We are extraordinarily proud as Catholics and Chicagoans that Cardinal George has been chosen for this important leadership position,” he said.
“During his ten years in Chicago, the Cardinal has developed very strong relationships with people and their parishes, as well as his pastors and priests. His many responsibilities in the Church, as well as his strength as a pastor, will serve U.S. Catholics well in his new role on behalf of the Church in this country,” he continued.
Cardinal George was most recently vice-president of the bishops' conference. He succeeds outgoing president Bishop William Skylstad of the Diocese of Spokane. The cardinal's term as conference president will last three years.