The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo.
The Holy See said in a statement that the pontiff has named Monsignor Francisco Ozoria Acosta of the Diocese of San Pedro de Macorís as López’s successor.
López has repeatedly used homophobic slurs to describe gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster.
López told reporters during a 2015 press conference that Brewster should “go back to his embassy” and “stick to housework, since he is a man’s wife.” The cardinal in 2013 referred to Brewster — who is married to Bob Satawake — as a “faggot” after President Obama nominated him to become the next American ambassador to the predominantly Catholic country.
Neither the Vatican nor the Dominican government has publicly rebuked López over his comments.
“I would hope that the Vatican — as we would not do that with their officials — would understand and condemn those types of words to any official with any government, but especially with one of their strongest allies, which is the United States, and to the president’s personal representative in the country,” Brewster told the Washington Blade in March during an exclusive interview at the State Department.
The Vatican announced López’s resignation a day after Brewster and thousands of others took part in Santo Domingo’s annual Pride celebration.
“I feel a great peace of mind,” Cristian King of Trans Siempre Amigos, a Dominican advocacy group, told the Blade on Monday.
Deivis Ventura, a prominent LGBT activist who ran for a seat in the lower house of the Dominican Congress in May, noted to the Blade that Osoria is a “black bishop” who “has fought for migrants.”
López supported the Dominican government’s plan to legalize undocumented immigrants — the majority of whom are Haiti — that sparked controversy in the Caribbean country and around the world.
“Monsignor Osoria is a man who is known for his moderation and prudence in the management of religious and social issues,” Ventura told the Blade. “I am sure that this man will show a distinct vision of the church.”