Pope Benedict on Tuesday named Donald W. Wuerl, bishop of Pittsburgh, to be the new archbishop of Washington D.C., one of the most prestigious posts in the American Catholic Church, the Vatican said.
Wuerl succeeds Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, 75, who is retiring after five years in the job.
The post of archbishop of Washington is one of the most influential in American Catholicism because of the regular contacts the prelate has with the White House and other branches of U.S. government.
Wuerl, 65, has been bishop of Pittsburgh since 1988. He was ordained a priest in 1966. Before moving to Pittsburgh, he served as assistant bishop in Seattle.
He speaks Italian, French and Spanish and earned degrees from Pontifical universities in Rome.
Traditionally, the archbishop of Washington is a cardinal, so Wuerl could likely be elevated to that high rank the next time the Pope creates cardinals.