Pope Francis on Monday named Washington Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl to the Vatican body that finalizes which men are named bishops, deepening Wuerl’s already strong ties to Rome, where he also sits on the panel that guards Catholic doctrine.
Chieko Noguchi, a spokeswoman for the Washington Archdiocese, which oversees Catholic institutions in Washington and suburban Maryland, said Wuerl’s appointment to the Congregation for Bishops would take him to Rome more often but doesn’t remove him from his post here.
Wuerl’s star has risen quickly in the church since he came from Pittsburgh to Washington in 2006, and there have been rumors since Francis became pope that Wuerl might be selected for a top spot that would take him to Rome.
He led a major meeting for Pope Benedict on one of the previous pope’s highest priorities, a new evangelization, and then was elevated to cardinal in 2010. Last year he was made a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict long headed.