Archbishop Edwin F. Orien, head of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services, based in Washington, was named by the Vatican today to head up the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He will replace Cardinal William H. Keeler, 76, who is at the mandatory age of retirement for U.S. bishops. Last month, the cardinal underwent brain surgery to offset injuries suffered after a car accident last October.
The installation is slated for Oct. 1. The announcement was made today at Baltimore's Basilica of the Assumption.
Monsignor O'Brien, 68, was born in the Bronx, and was ordained a priest March 29, 1965 for the Archdiocese of New York. His first assignment was as a parish priest and civilian chaplain at West Point. He stayed in the military chaplaincy until 1973, when he left for doctoral studies in Rome. There he was tapped to head up the North American College, an American seminary in Rome.
In 1996, he was made an auxiliary bishop in New York, then in 1997 was named archbishop for military services with offices near Catholic University. He spends about 60 percent of his time on the road visiting military installations and meeting with chaplains.
In 2005 and 2006, he oversaw a Rome-instituted "apostolic visitation" of U.S. seminaries, an investigation that was instituted after a massive priestly sex abuse scandal revealed that problems in the U.S. Catholic priesthood have their origins in how men are formed as priests.