CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, was admitted to Loyola University Medical Center March 1 to undergo several days of tests.
A March 3 news release from the Chicago Archdiocese said the tests were being conducted to evaluate his condition since he stopped treatment for cancer in late January.
“The cardinal continues to count on the prayers of so many who have written to wish him God’s blessings,” said the statement.
Cardinal George was in a clinical drug trial to treat his cancer until January. He was dropped from the trial being conducted by University of Chicago Medicine after scans showed the experimental treatment was not working for him.
At a Jan. 30 news conference, he told reporters doctors have exhausted all options in his cancer treatment and have moved on to palliative care.
“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” said Cardinal George, 78.
The cardinal shared that information with news media during a news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, following a luncheon where he received the Knights of Columbus’ highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award.
He said he was doing physical therapy because his muscles atrophied during chemotherapy, when he was exhausted and unable to get around much, he said. That situation is typical when undergoing chemotherapy, and especially with polio survivors, such as himself, because their muscles are overworked, he said.
“But basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion,” he said, adding that he hopes to eventually get off the crutches he has been using since October.
“In some ways, this particular disease, in my case, has not been following the usual pattern in the past. It probably won’t follow the usual pattern in the future,” the cardinal told reporters.
Like anyone with a terminal illness, he has good days and bad days, he noted.
Last November, he was succeeded by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.
Since retiring, Cardinal George has been keeping regular appointments and hearing confessions at Holy Name Cathedral on Thursdays when he’s available. Hearing confessions was one of the things he said he looked forward to most in retirement.