The Latest: Pope praises diversity of US Catholics

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Catholic Bishops meeting (all times local):

3 p.m.

Pope Francis has sent a message to U.S. Roman Catholic bishops praising the diversity of American Catholics and urging church leaders to help break down walls and build bridges.

The message comes just a week after the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Trump has called Mexicans criminals and rapists and vowed to deport people in the country illegally.

Francis noted that the church has welcomed waves of immigrants and has benefited from what he called the rich variety of their cultural traditions. He made the statement in a video shown Tuesday to a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Earlier Tuesday, the bishops elected new leaders and put a Mexican-born archbishop in line to be their president three years from now.


9:30 a.m.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops have chosen a Texas cardinal as their new top leader.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston was elected Tuesday as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Among his duties will be guiding the bishops' relationship with President-elect Donald Trump.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected vice president. He is the first Latino to hold the post.

The vote occurred Tuesday at the bishops' annual Baltimore meeting. DiNardo succeeds Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is completing his three-year term.

The bishops' president does not set conference policy. But the choice of leadership is seen as indicating the direction the bishops want for the American church and how far they've gone toward following the priorities set by Pope Francis.

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