WASHINGTON (July 26, 2006)—Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement today after the announcement that Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago will undergo surgery this Thursday connected with bladder cancer. Cardinal George is vice-president of the USCCB.
"As both a fellow bishop and a close friend, I want to offer heartfelt prayers that Cardinal Francis George have a full recovery from his upcoming surgery and from the cancer which necessitated it.
"I know Cardinal George well. We served as bishops in the State of Washington in the adjoining dioceses of Spokane and Yakima where he followed me as bishop. In November 2004, we began another very close association when he was elected vice-president of the USCCB at the time I was elected president.
"At the meetings of the USCCB, at international gatherings of bishops, and on the visits which we make twice each year to the Holy See, I always find in Cardinal George great moral and personal support. Along with all the bishops, I appreciate as well the clarity and depth with which he thinks through the issues that face the Church.
"I know that our brother bishops join me in praying that Cardinal George will be restored to full health so that he may continue to serve as a good shepherd after the example of Christ for the Archdiocese of Chicago and as one of the foremost leaders of the Bishops' Conference."