Pope Francis' first major appointment
in the United States is a moderate on social issues such as abortion
and gay marriage.
Bishop Blase Cupich, of Spokane,
Washington, on Saturday was appointed the archbishop of Chicago.
When he takes over the post in
November, he'll succeed Cardinal Francis George, an ardent opponent
of marriage equality, who is fighting a cancer diagnosis.
In 2011, gay rights activists called on
George to resign over comments he made comparing the LGBT community
to the Ku Klux Klan.
“The rhetoric of the Klu Klux Klan,
the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy?
Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church,” he told Fox Chicago at
He's also criticized Illinois' law
allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
“The law now holds that men and women
are interchangeable in marriage, as if children did not need both a
mother and a father to be born and raised with some security. These
are laws that mark societies in decline, demographically as well as
morally,” he wrote in a July op-ed.
Cupich has also repeatedly upheld the
church's view on marriage but he's often couched his remarks with
reminders of the prejudice gay men and lesbians face.
At a press conference in Chicago,
Cupich, 65, said he was surprised and overwhelmed by the appointment.