VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2007 (VIS) – The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien, military ordinary for the U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Baltimore (area 12,430, population 3,055,477, Catholics 517,679, priests 545, permanent deacons 178, religious 1,380), U.S.A. He succeeds Cardinal William Henry Keeler, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Publius ( Res Publica et Cetera) remarks:
The Baltimore Sun reports on the archbishop’s new home:
As a traditional theologian with a military background, O’Brien will inherit a community with a history of liberal and antiwar Roman Catholic activism – including the Catonsville Nine, a group of clergy and laymen who burned records in a draft board office in 1968.
Maryland is also the home of several prominent elected Catholics, such as Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, both of whom support abortion rights.
O’Brien stated just before the 2004 elections that Catholic politicians who disregard the tenets of their faith should refrain from Communion, according to the Catholic News Service. That falls short of some other bishops who have said they would refuse Communion to politicians who differ with church teachings.
“I think our job is to educate, to persuade, and privately to work with individuals – if they believe that abortion is the taking of a human life – to do everything we can in a persuasive way to have them live that out,” the archbishop said yesterday.
“If it got to a point where a serious scandal was being created, maybe it would be a point to go further and to deny [Communion],” he said.