Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, one of the U.S. bishops’ strongest voices on the pro-life issue, was elected vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a 143-96 vote on Tuesday after being a candidate multiple times throughout the years — and in the last election in which he is eligible. 

At 71 years of age, Lori would be 74 at the end of his vice presidential term. He therefore would be ineligible to be elected president, as, according to the bylaws of the conference, the president needs to be no older than 75 by the end of his term.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was elected the conference’s president by a vote of 138-99. 

Earlier in the day Lori had to reschedule an appearance before the media on the bishops’ pro-life response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade because he needed to leave the meeting early to be with his ailing 103-year-old mother. 

Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., in 1977, Lori was appointed an auxiliary bishop of that diocese in 1995, and in 2001 Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was appointed archbishop of Baltimore in 2012. 

He is also currently chancellor and chairman of the board of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, chancellor of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, and past chairman of the board of trustees of The Catholic University of America.

Throughout his career, Lori has influenced national Church policy. He was instrumental in the crafting of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, better known as the Dallas Charter, in 2002. In 2005, he was elected supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. Lori was named apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, in September 2018 by Pope Francis following a series of allegations made against that diocese’s bishop, including sexual and financial misconduct.

The new vice president serves a three-year term. Already, several known, high-profile challenges await Lori. These include the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome Oct. 4–29, 2023; a national eucharistic congress in Indianapolis in June 2024; the synod’s concluding session in October 2024; and the U.S. presidential election in November 2024.

Lori currently serves on four USCCB committees and consults on several others. He also served as chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, overseeing a comprehensive statement of the U.S. bishops on religious liberty, from 2011 until 2017. He has strongly denounced racism, including in a major 2019 pastoral letter

More in US

In his role with the bishops’ pro-life committee, Lori has spoken out repeatedly in favor of assistance for pregnant women and against President Joe Biden’s advancement of abortion. He has been a vocal proponent of the bishops’ 2020 initiative “Walking with Moms in Need” to help struggling pregnant women, mothers, and babies.

“The president is gravely wrong to continue to seek every possible avenue to facilitate abortion instead of using his power to increase support and care to mothers in challenging situations,” Lori said Oct. 25.

“This single-minded extremism must end, and we implore President Biden to recognize the humanity in preborn children and the genuine life-giving care needed by women in this country.”