- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (AP) - Chicago’s newly appointed archbishop said Monday he will not politicize religion as other church leaders have done in the past.

Speaking at the suburban Chicago parish, Spokane, Washington’s Bishop Blase (BLAYZ’) Cupich (SOO’-pihch) said as long as parishioners are in church, willing to hear the word of God and open to conversion “that’s sufficient for me.”

The Vatican on Saturday announced that Pope Francis had appointed Cupich, 65, a native of Nebraska, to head the high-profile Chicago archdiocese and its 2.2 million Catholics who have been led by retiring Cardinal Francis George. George is a leading church conservative who is 77-years-old and battling cancer.

After his introduction in Chicago, Cupich said he returned to Spokane on Sunday to celebrate Mass at his home parish with his friends.

He returned to the Chicago area to attend a conference in suburban Lincolnshire of the Chicago-based Catholic Extension, an organization that raises money to help Catholics in the nation’s poorest communities.

Cupich discussed the Catholic Extension’s mission to the poor, saying society should not take poverty for granted. He said if society gets to the point where it’s indifferent to the poor, “not only are the poor hurt but our spirits are as well.”

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