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.