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Article updated: 2/18/2013 9:33 AM

Cardinal George going to Rome next week

Cardinal George going to Rome next week

By

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George says he plans to leave Feb. 26 for Rome in preparation for a conclave to choose the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

George spoke at Mass on Sunday at St. Bride Church on Chicago's South Side. Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world last week when he announced he would resign the papacy. He officially steps down Feb. 28. WMAQ-TV reports Cardinal George called the change of church leadership "a huge moment."

No decision has been announced on a date for the conclave to elect Benedict's successor. But the Vatican has suggested it may be sooner than March 15. That's the earliest possible date under current rules.

The 75-year-old George is the leader of more than 2 million Roman Catholics in the Chicago area.

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