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Archbishop Timothy Broglio

BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was elected Tuesday to serve as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Broglio, the current secretary of the USCCB, to a three-year term as president by a vote of 138-99.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the bishops’ committee on pro-life activities, was elected vice president in a 143-96 vote, winning in a run-off against Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, a noted conservative.

Archbishop Broglio was considered a frontrunner in the presidential race, as he was the runner-up in the USCCB’s 2019 vice-presidential election. The bishops typically pick the conference’s vice president to succeed as president, but outgoing USCCB vice president Archbishop Allen Vigernon of Detroit was ineligible due to age.

Archbishop Broglio, 70, has led the Archdiocese for the Military Services since 2008 and previously served as apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic and apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico, according to Catholic News Agency. From 1990 to 2001, he worked as personal secretary to late Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who faced allegations of covering up sex abuse committed by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Legionaries of Christ founder Fr. Marcial Maciel.

Broglio has a generally orthodox record. He implemented guidelines in 2013 that prohibit military chaplains from taking part in ceremonies for homosexual partners and reiterated that anyone known to be in homosexual sin may not serve in lay ministries. He also backed former President Donald Trump’s ban on gender-confused troops, condemned allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military, and has recognized homosexuality as a root cause of the clerical sex abuse crisis.

In 2020, he released a clarification stressing that Pope Francis’ remarks affirming same-sex civil unions did not constitute Church teaching. 

The military archbishop was one a small number of prelates who opposed COVID-era restrictions on public Masses and strongly denounced COVID jab mandates last year after initially urging Catholic servicemen to get the shots. In 2017, he did, however, support the Paris Climate Agreement, which subtly incorporates the United Nations’ pro-abortion agenda.

Dissident, left-wing Catholics immediately condemned the election of Archbishop Broglio as president of the USCCB. The National Catholic Reporter decried the move as a “clear message of rejection to Pope Francis,” noting that Broglio served as apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico when Pope Benedict XVI appointed conservative Puerto Rican Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres.

Pope Francis faced widespread criticism for removing Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres from his diocese earlier this year due to his support of conscience exemptions to vaccine mandates.

Tuesday’s USCCB elections are a defeat for the U.S. bishops’ progressive faction, as the rest of the episcopate voted down decidedly liberal candidates, including Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Síller of San Antonio.

Archbishop Broglio succeeds outgoing USSCB President Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who has a mixed record but criticized the Biden administration for its platform on abortion and LGBT issues and condemned “wokeness” and globalism in a blistering speech last year. Broglio praised Gomez’s leadership after his election Tuesday.

Archbishop Lori is also seen as a moderate prelate. He has a history of publicly supporting Catholic teaching on life and family but for years has declined to take action against dissident pro-homosexual priests and hired a pro-LGBT activist as an advisor on “racial tension” in 2020.

Like Archbishop Vigneron, Lori, 71, will not be eligible to serve as president after his vice presidential term ends, meaning that there will be an open election for president again in three years.

The USCCB on Wednesday will elect the Baltimore archbishop’s successor to lead the conference’s pro-life committee.