(CBS) — It’s a sensitive subject: Who will eventually replace Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George as archbishop here?
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine speaks with a possible front-runner at a gathering of church and academic experts here.
Cardinal George is once again battling cancer as he nears the end of a distinguished half-century as a priest, bishop and Cardinal. Many believe Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is destined for a red hat, too — perhaps here in Chicago.
“Would you welcome a challenge like that?” Levine asked Kurtz.
“You’re flattering to even ask me about that. Those kinds of things are best not anticipated,” he replied.
Kurtz added: “Certainly I’ve never refused an appointment, but my desire right now is very much to serve the people in Louisville.”
Levine asked: “Would it be difficult to follow someone like Cardinal George?”
“How could it not be?” Kurtz replied.
This is not to say Archbishop Kurtz is the odds-on favorite. Only Pope Francis knows for sure. But given Cardinal George’s age and his battle with cancer, insiders believe the Pope will make a decision in the next few months.
Although the Archbishop of Chicago traditionally is made a cardinal, that probably wouldn’t happen until Cardinal George turns 80, to avoid two men from the same diocese eligible to vote in papal conclaves.