Cardinal Francis George hospitalized for testing

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cardinal Francis George was admitted to Loyola University Medical Center Sunday for tests to evaluate his condition.

Officials with the Archdiocese of Chicago said the 78-year-old cardinal had planned to come in next week for routine testing, but his schedule was moved up when he had trouble walking. He will remain at the hospital for several days.

Cardinal George was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006, which has spread to his kidney and liver. He stopped experimental treatment more than a month ago after the treatment and previous chemotherapy were not effective.

"They've run out of tricks in the bag, if you like. The normal treatments now have been exhausted and so we have to see. There's still a few things that are helpful from a palliative point of view. But basically we're, I'm, in the hands of God," the cardinal said.

Parishioners at Holy Name Cathedral participated in a special prayer for Cardinal George during midday Mass Tuesday.

"I think he's been a real trooper through it all, the doctors have come back and said there's not that much more they can do for him," said Al Davis. "Now I think mentally, he's prepared for it, and I think the Catholic congregation is prepared for it as well."

"Many, many prayers, we're all praying for him, we don't want him to suffer," said Tonie Kieres.

Urologist Josh Meeks at Northwestern Medicine has not treated Cardinal George but specializes in treating bladder cancer.

"Before he was diagnosed no one had really even heard of it, so it's incredibly unfortunate - I hate to see any of our patients go through that, but at least it has raised awareness of bladder cancer in Chicago," Dr. Meeks said.

Cardinal George celebrated his last mass as Chicago's archbishop in November. Archbishop Blase Cupich took over as the leader of Chicago's Catholic Church.

"His body is suffering a great deal, his spirit is still very strong," Cupich said about Cardinal George at a Mass on Ash Wednesday.
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