WASHINGTON (November 13, 2007)– Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, has been elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for a three year term beginning in 2008. The election occurred November 13 during the bishops' general meeting November 12-15 in Baltimore. Cardinal George received 188 votes out of 222 votes cast for a total of 85%.
Under USCCB by-laws, the nine remaining candidates become candidates for vice president. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona was elected as the new USCCB vice president, capturing a majority of 55% of the votes.
Cardinal George succeeds Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Washington. Prior to his election, Cardinal George was vice president of the USCCB, a position he held since 2004. He has served on many USCCB committees, chief among them Liturgy, Doctrine, Pro-Life Activities; and the sub-committee on lay ministry.
He was born in Chicago, on January 16, 1937; attended St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, Illinois, entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957, and was ordained on December 21, 1963.
Cardinal George earned a masters degree in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in 1965, a doctorate in American philosophy at Tulane University in 1970. He received a master's degree in theology from the University of Ottawa.
After graduate work, he went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he served as the Provincial Supervisor of the Midwestern Province for the Oblates. He then went to Rome between 1974 and 1986 after being elected Vicar General of the Oblates. In 1990, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Yakima, Washington, where he served for five years until Pope John Paul named him archbishop of Chicago, following the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George's elevation to the College of Cardinals.