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New Baltimore
archbishop opposes gays in the priesthood

New Baltimore
archbishop opposes gays in the priesthood

The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal William Keeler as archbishop of Baltimore on Thursday and named Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, who leads the U.S. military archdiocese, as his successor.

Keeler turned 76 in March, a year past the normal retirement age for bishops.

O'Brien, 68, served as an auxiliary bishop in New York before taking over the archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington in 1997. He coordinated a major evaluation of U.S. seminaries in 2005-2006, ordered by the Vatican in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The seminary review, completed last year, gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. It also looked for evidence of homosexuality in the schools.

In a 2005 Associated Press interview, O'Brien said that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate and the church must ''stay on the safe side'' by restricting their enrollment. The Vatican reaffirmed that year a long-standing church policy of keeping men with ''deep-seated'' same-sex tendencies from becoming priests.

O'Brien, a New York City native, said he would be leaving his Washington post with mixed emotions.

''I just loved the military,'' he said. ''The service has taught me so much.''

Keeler, a native of San Antonio, was appointed archbishop in Baltimore in 1989 and marked his 50th anniversary in the priesthood in 2005. He submitted his resignation last year to the Vatican when he turned 75, as required by the church.

In May, Keeler said he planned to remain in Baltimore as head of the Basilica Historic Trust after his successor was named. He oversaw the restoration of the historic church.

The archdiocese of Baltimore serves 510,000 Catholics in Baltimore and nine counties in central and western Maryland, according to the archdiocese Web site.

The archdiocese for the Military Services serves about 1.5 million Catholics, including all in the military and their families. (AP)

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