Cardinal Francis George of Chicago had gone through a long 16-hour day of meetings and travel, a day that began at 5 a.m., and it was just about 9 at night. He was tired, with one more meeting to go.
But as he walked into the room for our interview late last week he was smiling and eager. His cheeks were pink, eyes like lasers, not bad for a 76-year-old man who was recovering from cancer and was shouldering the awesome responsibility of helping select a Roman Catholic pope.
“Welcome,” he said, taking my hand, ushering me to a chair beside him. “We’ve got a lot to talk about.”
And we did, although I was glad to do most of the listening. We talked of his trip to Rome this week to meet with other cardinals, beginning the process of choosing a successor to the aging Pope Benedict XVI, who is resigning.