(CHICAGO) — Pope Francis named the next archbishop of Chicago, appointing Bishop Blase J. Cupich to succeed 77-year-old Cardinal Francis E. George, who has been in the office for 17 years.
Cupich moves from the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, to the third largest in the country. He will be formally installed on Nov. 18.
“Archbishop Cupich is well prepared for his new responsibilities and brings to them a deep faith, a quick intelligence, personal commitment and varied pastoral experience,” George said.
The Vatican’s first major U.S. appointment brings change, as George was known as a conservative, and Cupich brings a progressive perspective. The newly chosen archbishop took the opportunity to speak out on immigration reform during a Saturday news conference.
“I don’t want to dance around the issue that we need comprehensive immigration reform,” Cupich said. “Our bishop’s conference has called for that. It’s time for political leaders to put aside their agendas and to take up this issue.”
Still, he says he is still a bit shocked by the pope’s appointment.
“First of all, I’m no saint and this is a pretty big niche. So I hope that what the Holy Father has done I can measure up to the responsibility.”
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