Who will replace Cardinal George as the next Archbishop of Chicago?

Who will replace Cardinal George as the next Archbishop of Chicago?
Photo taken by Chuck Berman of the Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2012

Who will replace Cardinal George as the next Archbishop of Chicago?  There has long been speculation of the Cardinal's successor ever since he was stricken with cancer.

I don't really care who is chosen by Pope Francis, but I do have an idea of what the next Cardinal should do.  The next Cardinal should check up on his priests.

Our priests are in trouble and I'm not talking about the scandal.  I'm talking about priests who don't even appear to be Catholic anymore.

My husband and I have had some interesting conversations with different priests over the years.  Probably the most interesting were from former priests, but that's for another blog post.

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. - Cardinal Francis George, 2010

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. - Cardinal Francis George, 2010

One conversation in particular jarred my husband and I to our very core.  A visiting priest to a parish we were singing came up to us and introduced himself.  He was very friendly and animated.  Not twenty seconds into the conversation he told us he was praying for the current Pope's early demise.

I was too shocked to say anything.  I thought maybe I had misheard him.  My husband diplomatically eased us out of the conversation and confirmed to me that we had heard the priest correctly.

On our second encounter with the priest, we hastily said our hellos and literally almost ran from the man.

If we had a close relationship with this man, and he had confided to us that he wasn't a big fan of the Pope my reaction would have been different, but we were complete strangers.

My point is, that Chicago's next Archbishop needs to tend to his flock of priests.  He should take the time to call each priest into his office and ask them the following questions:

  1. Are you still Catholic?  
  2. Do you believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church?
  3. Are you happy in your priesthood?
  4. Are you struggling with your faith?
  5. Are you drinking?
  6. Have you remained celibate?
  7. Do you want to remain a priest?
  8. Are you using drugs?
  9. Do you need a sabbatical?
  10. As your Archbishop, is there anything that I can do for you?

It might sound like a monumental task, but I think in the long run, it will benefit everyone who calls themselves Catholic in Chicago.

Who will replace Cardinal George as the next Archbishop of Chicago?  I hope it's someone who can take care of our priests.

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