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Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during campaign stop Deep Run high school August 17 2012 Glen

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a campaign stop at Deep Run high school, on August 17, 2012 in Glen Allen, Virginia. Later today Rep. Ryan will be campaigning in northern Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Updated: September 25, 2012 10:52AM

The Cardinal’s story ...

Cardinal Francis George, whose Chicago flock contains 2.3 million souls, is no stranger to struggle.

His church is battling the cancer of clerical sexual abuse — and his body is now fighting a new invasive cancer since his bladder cancer diagnosis six years ago.

But the cardinal, who is 75, plans to handle it as well as he dealt with crippling childhood polio: by soldiering on.

“The cardinal has spent a life not far from the medical world since he was diagnosed with polio at the age of 13,” said a close friend to the cardinal. “And he was lucky he didn’t die when he was a missionary.”

“He has no intention of stopping work at this juncture,” said another Sneed source.  

“Medical tests are still pending, and whether it’s six months or a year or beyond, the cardinal has no plans not to take care of his flock,” the source added.

However, the cardinal’s new cancer threat has not stopped rumors of possible replacement if his condition turns in the wrong direction.

Although the Vatican keeps cardinals in place until they die, one possible replacement has surfaced in the religious rumor mill: Seattle’s Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who was once the Bishop of Joliet.

A conservative prelate, Archbishop Sartain currently serves on the Hispanic affairs subcommittee for the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops. Hispanics make up about 42 percent of the Chicago archdiocese.

The Cheesehead link ...

It should come as no surprise Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, will offer prayers at the upcoming Republican National Convention ... Dolan’s previous post was in Milwaukee , not far from the home of GOP veep hopeful Paul Ryan, a Catholic — whom Dolan considers a friend.

Hop to it ...

The tippling point: All it’s going to take is 4,000 more signatures for an official White House response to an electronic petition seeking the recipe for President Barack Obama’s home-brewed honey ale. At last peek Thursday, 21,000 people were panting for a pint.

Dem deletion ...

Down & Out: Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, the former Dem presidential hopeful from North Carolina who lost it all to a dalliance with a ditz, has not been invited to attend the Dem National Convention in his home state next month. 

The Peterson File ...

The Stacy story: The search for accused wife murderer Drew Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy, has grown cold.

“There have not been any credible tips for a long time,” said a top cop source. “The last one came in more than a year ago and led searchers with cadaver dogs to farmland outside Peoria.”

The book beat ...

The strong man sage: Now comes word former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez are writing a book together for publication soon.

◆ Betchya actor Sean Penn will want a personally autographed copy.

Abbey Blab ...

Well, I’ll be gobsmacked!

The hit Brit TV Masterpiece Theatre series “Downton Abbey,” which the American audience won’t see until next year, is not going to flow like the Thames on a summer day for Lady Mary Crawley and her cousin, hunkster Matthew Crawley. The latest word out of merry olde England is they will continue to struggle with their relationship. Look forward to canoodle and conflict.

Scary Harry ...

The nude photos of England’s Prince Harry playing strip billiards with little more than a cue stick, which went viral on the Internet, did not appear in any British newspapers Wednesday. Honoring a request of the royal family, the newspaper story was not accompanied by the shocking pix. But then was just one click away.

◆ P.S. The prince was accompanied by six security guards while partying it up in Las Vegas.

B-roll blather ...

What do Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s, wife, Anne, have in common?

◆ Neither one has a prime-time speaking spot at their respective political conventions.

Sneedlings ...

Friday’s birthdays: Rupert Grint, 24; Dave Chappelle, (right), 39; Steve Guttenberg, 54; Marlee Matlin, 47, and Sharon Gist Gilliam, 69.

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