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Pope names new archbishops of Madrid, Valencia

Vatican City

Pope Francis reassigned two prominent Spanish bishops, giving a new leader to the country's largest diocese and leaving a vacancy at the head of the Vatican's liturgical office.

The Vatican announced Thursday that the pope had named Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra as the new archbishop of Madrid and Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera to be archbishop of Valencia, in eastern Spain.

Osoro, 69, had served as archbishop of Valencia since 2009. To replace him there, Canizares, 68, leaves his job as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; his successor has not been announced.

In Madrid, Osoro replaces Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, who at age 78 is three years past the standard retirement age for bishops.

During his 20 years as archbishop of Madrid, Rouco was elected to a record four three-year terms as president of the Spanish bishops' conference. Osoro is currently vice president of the conference.

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Osoro was born in Castaneda, in northern Spain, May 16, 1945. He studied at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, where he earned a joint degree in philosophy and theology. He later earned degrees in science and adult education from Madrid's Complutense University and a degree in pedagogy from the University of Salamanca. He was ordained in 1973.

He was appointed bishop of Orense in 1996 and archbishop of Oviedo in 2002 before Pope Benedict XVI moved him to Valencia.

Born in Utiel, Oct. 15, 1945, Canizares was ordained in 1970 after training at the local seminary and studying at the Pontifical University of Salamanca and Madrid's Pastoral Institute. He later taught theology at both schools for two decades, while running San Gerardo Parish in Madrid.

Appointed bishop of Avila in March 1992, Canizares drafted documents for the Spanish bishops' conference on subjects ranging from ecclesiology and the sacraments to sexual and medical ethics.

He was named archbishop of Granada in December 1996 and was transferred to Toledo six years later.

Canizares served as vice president of the Spanish bishops' conference from 2005 to 2008. Pope Benedict made him a cardinal in 2006 and named him prefect of the worship congregation two years later.

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