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Pope Francis accepts resignation of Hartford archbishop, who's reached retirement age

Archbishop Coyne
Aaron Joseph
Christopher J. Coyne is now the sixth archbishop and 14th bishop of the Hartford diocese

Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Hartford Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, who has reached the retirement age of 75.

Plans for Blair’s retirement were announced last summer.

Christopher J. Coyne is now the sixth archbishop and 14th bishop of the Hartford diocese, which serves more than 450,000 Catholics in 115 parishes and 36 schools in Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield counties. Coyne has been with the Hartford diocese since last year after serving as bishop of the diocese in Burlington, Vermont.

“After a year of listening and learning the joys and the hopes, the griefs and anxieties of God’s people here in Hartford, I am excited to set out with you on this new stage of our journey together," Coyne said in a statement.

He added: "Today, Jesus calls us to be ‘a church that goes out’ to the changing world around us, and I invite my new family of faith to join me in meeting this moment with a renewed energy for our mission to bring Christ’s light, peace, and hope to our families, our neighbors and everyone in this place we call home.”

Coyne recently talked with Connecticut Public's "Where We Live" in a wide-ranging conversation.

Coyne spoke with Connecticut Public in the wake of a document from the Vatican declaring gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity.

“Biology is biology. You're either XX or XY. That's a scientific fact. You can't un-prove that fact,” Coyne told Connecticut Public.

While Coyne said the Vatican’s recent statement on gender identity is “nothing new,” he said that all are welcome in the Catholic church.

“You don’t have to pass a test to belong,” Coyne said. “We walk with each other. We accompany each other. We don’t leave each other; we try to grow together.”

Coyne said it’s important for the Catholic church to continue having conversations regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

“It does move each of us, I hope, in different directions,” he said. “It's pulled me more into a place of understanding and care.”