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Pope Francis names moderate Blase Cupich as Chicago archbishop

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Pope Francis, in his first major appointment in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States, on Saturday named Bishop Blase Cupich as the new archbishop of Chicago.

Cupich, 65, who is seen as a moderate and is currently the bishop of Spokane, Washington, succeeds the more conservative Cardinal Francis George, 77, who is retiring.

Chicago, with more than 2.2 million parishioners, is the third-largest diocese in the United States by population and its archbishop has traditionally played a major role in the American Church hierarchy and in relations with national political leaders.

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The city’s archbishops are traditionally elevated to the rank of cardinal, meaning Cupich would be able to enter a conclave to elect a pope after Francis’s death or resignation.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Cupich studied at Catholic universities in the United States and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Crux, a major U.S. Catholic website associated with the Boston Globe, said Cupich is “widely viewed as a moderate voice among Catholic bishops (and he) often eschews cultural battles in favor of dialogue and engagement”.

In this sense, he is in line with Francis’ call for compassion rather than condemnation or confrontation on issues such as abortion and same-sex couples.

While defending Church teachings Cupich has urged moderation and dialogue in the so-called “culture wars” in the United States Church over these hot-button issues.

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In a dramatically blunt interview with an Italian Jesuit journal in 2013, Francis said the Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful or risk the collapse of its entire moral edifice “like a house of cards”.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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‘Dead wrong’: House Dems release scathing rebuttal to White House’s widely panned legal brief

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The Trump White House's latest defense of the president ahead of his impending impeachment trial has been widely panned, and has even sparked speculation that Trump himself had a hand in writing it due to its low-grade legal analysis.

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Last Thursday, Jan. 16, was Religious Freedom Day. As befits his mendacious nature, Donald Trump "honored" it by promoting two policies profoundly at odds with the original meaning of what religious freedom is all about: a license to discriminate with federal funds, both in employment and in provision of services, and new pressure on public schools to allow student prayer and religious use of school facilities.

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White nationalist speaker heckled for denying Holocaust at Virginia gun march: ‘You are literally a neo-Nazi’

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