January 23, 2020
By Jeremy Roebuck
Pope Francis announced Thursday that the bishop of Cleveland, Nelson Perez, will be the next head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.
Born in Miami, raised in New Jersey and ordained at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Perez, 58, served as a parish priest for more than two decades in West Chester and the Olney and Lawncrest sections of Philadelphia before being elevated to the hierarchy as an auxiliary bishop in Long Island, N.Y. in 2012.
Chaput, who arrived from Denver in 2011, has been credited with stabilizing an archdiocese roiled at the time by financial shortfalls and fallout from a damning grand jury report that implicated the city’s church hierarchy in covering up decades of sexual abuse.
During his time here, his frank rhetoric and willingness to engage in secular political debates on issues including divorce, statute-of-limitations reform, and gun control have earned him a following among conservative U.S. Catholics, while occasionally putting him at odds with the likes of Mayor Jim Kenney, some clergy sex-abuse victims, and — seemingly, at times — Francis himself.
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