(AP) – Cardinal Francis George, a vigorous defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who played a key role in the church’s response to the clergy sex abuse scandal, has died. He was 78.
The Chicago archdiocese says George died Friday after a long fight with cancer.
Appointed to lead the archdiocese in 1997, George became a leading figure of his era in the American church.
He oversaw the contentious new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, one of the biggest changes in Catholic worship in generations. In 2002, at the height of the sex-abuse crisis, he led a group of U.S. bishops who persuaded Vatican officials to more quickly oust guilty priests.
George also spearheaded the fight among bishops against President Barack Obama’s health insurance plan, arguing it allow taxpayer money for abortion.