By PETER SMITH and DAVID CRARY
BALTIMORE (AP) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services, who oversees Catholic ministries to the U.S. armed forces, was elected Tuesday as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Broglio, 70, was elected from a field of 10 candidates. He will succeed Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who assumed the post in 2019.
The archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, was elected as vice president.
Usually the election of a new USCCB leaders is a formality, with the bishops elevating the conference’s vice president to the post. But this year’s election was wide open because the incumbent VP — Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron — will turn 75 soon, making him ineligible to serve.
The 10 candidates ranged from the relatively moderate Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a staunch conservative. Cordileone made headlines this year by barring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Franciscan, from receiving Communion in the archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.
The candidates were nominated by their fellow bishops, who bypassed several of their colleagues who have been elevated to cardinal by Pope Francis.
The bishops’ annual fall meeting will conclude its public sessions on Wednesday. During the course of the meeting, there are expected to be discussions about the church’s efforts to prevent clergy sex abuse and the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June striking down the nationwide right to abortion.
Broglio has extensive experience outside U.S. borders, having studied in Rome and serving in the Vatican's diplomatic corps. And his current archdiocese is based in Washington, D.C, which also is home to the USCCB's head office.
Broglio grew up in the Cleveland area, attending Catholic schools there before attending Boston College and then earning a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He was ordained to the priesthood, for the diocese of Cleveland, in May 1977 at a chapel in Rome.
In addition to serving as an associate parish pastor and as a college lecturer, Broglio engaged extensively in the Vatican's diplomatic service. He served as secretary of the apostolic nunciatures in Ivory Coast and Paraguay, and from 1990 to 2001 served as Chief of Cabinet to Angelo Cardinal Sodano, secretary of state to Saint Pope John Paul II and desk officer for Central America.
Broglio was ordained as an archbishop by St. John Paul II in March 2001. In 2007, he was named the fourth archbishop of the Military Services USA.
As a member of the USCCB, Broglio currently serves as secretary of the conference. In the past he has served as chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace and chairman of the Canonical Affairs and Church Governance Committee.