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Pope taps Chicago archbishop for key bishop advisory panel

  • File - In this Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 file photo, Archbishop Blase Cupich, proceeda through Holy Name Cathedral during Cupich's Installation Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, in Chicago. Pope Francis has named Cupich to be a member of the powerful Vatican office that vets bishops' nominations, signaling he wants a key pastoral voice involved in the selection of U.S. church leaders, it was reported on Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Antonio Perez, Pool Photo via AP, File)

    File - In this Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 file photo, Archbishop Blase Cupich, proceeda through Holy Name Cathedral during Cupich's Installation Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, in Chicago. Pope Francis has named Cupich to be a member of the powerful Vatican office that vets bishops' nominations, signaling he wants a key pastoral voice involved in the selection of U.S. church leaders, it was reported on Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Antonio Perez, Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • File - In this Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 file photo, Archbishop Blase Cupich, proceeda through Holy Name Cathedral during Cupich's Installation Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, in Chicago. Pope Francis has named Cupich to be a member of the powerful Vatican office that vets bishops' nominations, signaling he wants a key pastoral voice involved in the selection of U.S. church leaders, it was reported on Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Antonio Perez, Pool Photo via AP, File)

    File - In this Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 file photo, Archbishop Blase Cupich, proceeda through Holy Name Cathedral during Cupich's Installation Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, in Chicago. Pope Francis has named Cupich to be a member of the powerful Vatican office that vets bishops' nominations, signaling he wants a key pastoral voice involved in the selection of U.S. church leaders, it was reported on Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Antonio Perez, Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has named Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich to be a member of the powerful Vatican office that vets bishops' nominations, signaling he wants a key pastoral voice involved in the selection of U.S. church leaders.

Francis in 2014 had hand-picked Cupich to lead the Chicago archdiocese in his first major appointment for the U.S. church. Cupich is a known moderate like Francis and replaced the late Cardinal Francis George, who had been an aggressive defender of orthodoxy.

Cupich now will be a member of the same Vatican advisory board where a staunch American conservative, Cardinal Raymond Burke, sat for years until Francis removed him.

In another sign of Francis' esteem for Cupich, he tapped him as a special appointee to attend his recent synod on the family.