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
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.
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
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
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.
of Baltimore serves 510,000 Catholics in Baltimore and
nine counties in central and western Maryland, according to
the archdiocese Web site.
for the Military Services serves about 1.5 million
Catholics, including all in the military and their families.