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Dominican cardinal retires; successor named

July 04, 2016

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez as Archbishop of Santo Domingo for reasons of age and has named Bishop Francisco Ozoria Acosta as his successor.

Cardinal López Rodríguez was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 and was appointed bishop of San Francisco de Macorís in 1978. St. John Paul II named him Archbishop of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s capital, in 1981 and created him a cardinal in 1991.

Cardinal Rodriguez had courted controversy in recent months by criticizing the US ambassador to the Dominican Republic, James "Wally" Brewster. The cardinal charged that Brewster, who is openly homosexual, was leading a campaign to impose American views of sexual morality on the Caribbean nation. Brewster responded by suggesting that the cardinal was opposed to the expansion of human rights. The Vatican remained silent on the dispute, but Pope Francis allowed Cardinal Rodriguez to remain in office for more than four years after he submitted his resignation, as required, on his 75th birthday.

The prelate’s successor, Bishop Francisco Ozoria Acosta, 64, was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 and has served as bishop of San Pedro de Macorís since the diocese was established in 1997.

The Caribbean nation of 10 million is 88% Catholic.

 
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