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Cardinal George Speaks Ahead Of Conclave

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ROME (CBS) – Today Francis Cardinal George spoke for what may be the last time before Tuesday’s historic vote.

CBS 2’s Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports from Rome- the list of front runners continues to grow.

Each of the cardinals is assigned a church in Rome, Cardinal George comes to St Bartolomeo virtually every time he visits. This of course was a special occasion, as told worshippers, speaking in Italian, translated for us by a priest from Winnetka about the task ahead.

“Covered this is just an incredibly important time and the cardinals are depending on your prayers. We need the holy spirit to guide us in our search for a new pope,” said George, as translated by Fr. James Wallace.

Cardinal George is very well respected among his fellow cardinals, and was reportedly a contender in the conclave which elected Pope Bendict.

“I do know he got some votes, maybe we all know that,” said Joan Lewis of EWTN.

Joan Lewis, who’s from oak park, but now based in Rome, says all the talk about American cardinals Timothy Dolan, Sean O’Malley, and Donald Wuerl, makes you think what might have been, had George not been 76 and close to retirement.

Asked if he would have had a better chance than the American candidates today, Lewis responded, “Absolutely.

The cardinal himself reluctantly agreed not to give any more interview earlier this week, after powerful local cardinals were embarrassed by the Americans openness and transparency. But George did make a brief statement after mass.

“This is a momentous occasion when perhaps the will of god isn’t clear to many of us so ask for your prayers for the holy spirit to be present among us,” said George.

And then as he was leaving, said a little more to CBS 2.

“Its ok, it’ll be all right,” said George. “Still a lot of names.”

This is the last time we expect to hear from the cardinal before he enters the Vatican, the conclave begins, and he casts his first vote Tuesday afternoon.