- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006

10:52 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI has named Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl to replace Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, the Vatican said today.

McCarrick, a leading moderate voice in the U.S. church, submitted his resignation as required of all bishops when he reached the retirement age of 75 last July. In a brief statement Tuesday, the Vatican said Benedict had accepted McCarrick’s resignation and named Wuerl to replace him.

Wuerl, 65, a native of Pittsburgh, returned to his native city in 1988 after working in Seattle.

“The decision of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to transfer me to the Archdiocese of Washington is one I embrace in the context of faith in God’s providential care,” Wuerl said in a statement Tuesday.

Wuerl has served as bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years, leading a Roman Catholic community of 800,000.

“Although I am greatly aware of my own limitations, I find strength in the pope’s trust in me and also in the prayerful support I have always found from the Catholic faithful I have attempted to serve here in the diocese of Pittsburgh,” Wuerl said.

Wuerl was one of the American delegates at the Vatican’s meeting of the world’s bishops last October that tackled some pressing issues facing the church, including the shortage of priests. The bishops rejected any change to the celibacy requirement for priests and suggested dioceses share clergy and step up recruiting to cope with the shortage.

Wuerl’s appointment returns the 39-year veteran priest to the city where he completed his ministerial training. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a master’s degree in 1963 from The Catholic University of America’s Theological College. Both degrees are in philosophy. He also served three terms as a member of the university’s board of trustees, and is a close friend of university president, Rev. David M. O’Connell.

Wuerl brings “a keen intellect, a profound sense of the spiritual, a clear focus on the Gospel and evangelization, and a deep love of and commitment to the church,” O’Connell said in a statement today.

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