Thursday, December 15, 2005


This morning, Pope Benedict XVI named George Hugh Niederauer, the 69 year-old bishop of Salt Lake, a classmate and long-time friend of Archbishop William J. Levada, to succeed the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as the eighth archbishop of San Francisco.

Niederauer, a native of Los Angeles with a Ph.D. in English literature from USC, spent most of his priesthood in seminary formation at St. John's in Camarillo, serving as a spiritual director, rector and then co-director of a house of prayer for priests before being named to Salt Lake City in 1994. In a recent statement about the Holy See's instruction on seminarians with homosexual tendencies, he told the Salt Lake Tribune that, "In every generation, there have been many celibate priests whose principal attraction might be to their same sex," and that a man with "lifelong" same-sex attractions could still be a viable candidate for formation and orders.

The appointment is Benedict XVI's first major move in the United States and signals the influence of Levada as a "kingmaker" for appointments in the doctrinal strongman's home country. In accord with the provisions of canon law, Niederauer's installation in San Francisco must take place within two months of this morning's appointment.