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The Nation

Military archbishop to lead Baltimore diocese

July 13, 2007|From the Associated Press

BALTIMORE — The pope has appointed the head of the U.S. military archdiocese to succeed retiring Cardinal William Keeler as archbishop of Baltimore, the Vatican said Thursday.

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien will be taking over the nation's oldest Roman Catholic diocese. Keeler turned 76 in March, making him a year past the normal retirement age for bishops.

O'Brien, 68, has extensive experience training priests. He served as head of his alma mater -- St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. -- and as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

O'Brien worked as an auxiliary bishop in New York before taking over the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington in 1997.

The archbishop also coordinated a major evaluation of U.S. seminaries in 2005 and 2006, ordered by the Vatican in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.

In a 2005 Associated Press interview, O'Brien said that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggled to remain celibate and the church must "stay on the safe side" by restricting their enrollment.

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