HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- An Ohio bishop who is helping to shape changes in the oversight of U.S. nuns will lead 700,000 Catholics as Hartford's new archbishop, Pope Francis announced Tuesday.
Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, 64, who has led the Catholic Diocese of Toledo since 2003, will be installed as Hartford's fifth archbishop on Dec. 16. He will succeed the Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell, 76, who is retiring after serving as Hartford archbishop since 2003.
"I look forward to the blessings of a new family of faith," Blair said at a news conference with Mansell and other church officials Tuesday.
Blair is one of the three bishops appointed by the Vatican last year to oversee an overhaul of the largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
A review by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concluded the sisters took positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." The sisters vehemently rejected the findings, prompting an outpouring of popular support for the nuns that reached all the way to Congress.
Blair said he fully supports the church's views on marriage and abortion and is getting up to speed on Connecticut politics.
Mansell, who is past the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops and archbishops, said he will be retiring to a parish in Glastonbury, Conn. He said he had told Pope Benedict XVI that he was willing to retire last year.