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Cardinal George, Fr. Pfleger Discuss Violence

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George is once again waiting for doctors to decide their next move in his battle with cancer.

But the Cardinal is not letting it get in the way of his priorities, one of which we’ve learned he discussed Tuesday with activist priest Michael Pfleger. They have clashed in the past, but are now working together.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine caught up with Cardinal George in Palos Park and reports if you didn’t know Cardinal George’s was in the midst of a two-month battle against cancer, it wasn’t obvious at Wednesday morning’s Mass at Holy Family Villa nursing home.

That isn’t lost on the priest who a short time ago might have been called his nemesis.

“I think he’s teaching all of us, how to continue to be strong working, giving your all every day,” said Fr. Pfleger.

George said he felt ok and a little tired, but he shook every hand, bestowed his bishop’ blessing on all who waited today after meeting privately last night with Pfleger.

“I asked him to stop by because I rely upon him to fill me in on this question of violence cause he’s in the streets very often and he knows more than anyone I know of about what is really going on,” said Cardinal George.

“It was clear to me how passionate he is about this and how wants to do as much as he can while he can about this violence,” said Pfleger.

Cardinal George indicated that he would like to see more priests going into the streets like Fr. Pfleger but acknowledged, “not everyone is able to do that.”

The Cardinal told Levine he was pleased that the process to name a successor had finally begun, and shared his thoughts on the Pope’s recent trip to the Middle East and on the flight back to the Vatican, declaring the requirement of priestly celibacy, an open question.

George says that doesn’t necessarily mean changes are coming.

“This pope says everything should be discussed, doesn’t mean he believes in everything just that he thinks this should be discussed,” said George.

On the way home, Pope Francis also issued a strong condemnation of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Cardinal George is scheduled to deal with nagging questions about the Daniel McCormick case. Attorneys for McCormack’s victims, citing the Cardinal’s health issues, have been granted a videotaped question and answer session with Cardinal George Thursday.