NEWSFLASH: US Bishops Elect NYC Archbishop Dolan as President

Congratulations to Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York City!  Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville was elected Vice President.  Here is the news, straight off the Associated Press.

US bishops elect NYC archbishop as head in upset

(AP) – 31 minutes ago

BALTIMORE (AP) — In an upset, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan elected president Tuesday of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, defeating a vice president who had been widely expected to win the job.

It is the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice president was on the ballot for president and lost. It follows protests by some conservative Catholics against the vice president, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas.

Dolan received 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Kicanas on the third round of balloting. Kicanas has served as vice president for a three-year term which ends this week.

Dolan’s surprise victory comes at a time when church leaders are divided over how best to uphold Roman Catholic orthodoxy.

A growing number of bishops have taken a more aggressive approach, publicly denying Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, warning Catholic voters they should never vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights under any circumstances and reining in prominent dissenters in their dioceses.

Kicanas has not denied Communion to any Catholic politicians and rejected calls to punish the president of the University of Notre Dame for honoring President Barack Obama, who supports abortion rights. Kicanas instead urged bishops and Catholic university presidents to start a discussion about their differences.

Partly because of Kicanas’ approach, he was pilloried in the days leading up to the vote by conservative Catholic bloggers, who urged readers to send protest faxes and leave messages for bishops at the hotel where they are meeting.

Dolan also does not outright deny the sacrament to dissenting Catholic lawmakers, but he is seen as an outspoken defender of church orthodoxy in a style favored by many theological conservatives.

We take exception to their labeling of “some conservative Catholics”  and the originally worded “right-wing Catholic bloggers” if they are referring to us in that category.  [UPDATE: the AP changed the original wording from “right-wing” to “conservative.”]  More accurately, we think they should have said, “It follows protests against the vice president Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas by a groundswell of Catholics from across the country who proudly accept and endorse the teachings of the Catholic Church and want to see those teachings upheld in the public square.”

Whispers in the Loggia called this election a “seismic shift.”

Overturning a half-century of tradition for the bench, the result represents a seismic shift for the leadership of the nation’s largest religious body, and a mandate for a continuance of the outspoken, high-profile leadership shown by Cardinal Francis George over his game-changing tenure at the conference’s helm.

To all who wrote to their bishops and urged them to not vote for Bishop Kicanas, you should be commended for standing up and voicing your views to your pastors!

And to those who wrote about or covered this issue, including Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register, Michael Voris at RealCatholicTV and others, kudos for getting the story out!

And of course, thanks to all readers who wrote  supportive of our modest efforts with this blog to make a difference.  The pundits and conventional wisdom all said the election of Kicanas was basically a foregone conclusion.  Your prayers and efforts–and the intervention of the Holy Spirit–prove that the conventional wisdom need not always prevail.

We will be back tomorrow with more on Boston governance.

24 Responses to NEWSFLASH: US Bishops Elect NYC Archbishop Dolan as President

  1. […] storm the USCCB conference with direct phone/fax numbers to their hotel. Today one of those blogs, Boston Catholic Insider, responded to the AP news report: We take exception to their labeling of “some conservative […]

  2. Caren says:

    Thank you for all that you have done to help make this a reality.

  3. Anonymous says:

    They forgot to mention that SNAP also opposed his election, a group I have very mixed feelings about, but is definitely would not be considered a “Right Wing Group”

    I have always been a fan of Dolan ever since reading his “Priests for the Third Milennium” written while he was just Msgr. Dolan.

    Wish we had him in Boston.

  4. A. J. Constantino says:

    Concerned Deacon….

    Truly the Holy Spirit has showered His gifts on His Church!

  5. mckinley says:

    Blessed be the Lord. All who worked hard on this, including and especially all those who covered our backs with prayer deserve a little rest. Including the Communion of Saints and those in purgatory. Thank you does not say enough.

    But just little rest. We have much important work to do in Boston.

    Let’s. Get back to work tomorrow.

    Worthy is the Lamb.

  6. Kathy says:

    God IS GOOD! Prayer does work!

  7. Mike D says:

    Please learn more about Dolan before thinking this is a good choice.

  8. Parish Council Member says:

    I do not know a lot about Dolan, but he seems like he is one whole heck of a lot better than Kicanas. If the militant “Catholic” Rainbow Sash movement that disrupts Catholic Masses to push their agenda GLBT agenda was in favor of Kicanas, then I think BCI made a good call to oppose him and it’s good that he didn’t win.

  9. Chris says:

    Mike D, With due respect, Dolan is the best choice we could get at this time. He knows how to pick up a shovel and get to work. If you want to look back, read about the situation he faced when he took over in Milwaukee after Rembrandt Weakland (that may make you sick). He’s also good with the media — I love it when he blasts Maureen Dowd and the rest of the NY libs.

  10. Jack O'Malley says:

    Thanks to BCI and all the Boston bloggers for their tenacity in opposing Kicanas’ election. This is a stunning rebuke to Kicanas and a well-deserved one at that.

    As Cowper wrote: God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform. Maybe He’ll start a bit of thaumaturgy here in the Hub.

    • Jack,
      Our pleasure–it was a log of work, so the positive feedback is much appreciated! We do indeed hope and pray that God will start working a few miracles here in Boston.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Numquam dubitetis! Never doubt it! Keep up the good work and keep the Faith! Thanks for the reply. I have never been more delighted to have been proved wrong! Cardinal (in futuro) Dolan is a good man despite that silly Cheese Head — and despite his tepid acceptance of the TLM. He will come around, I think. He’s a good priest. Brick by brick as a not unknown priestly blogger has it. Latus supra laterem!

        ICXC NIKA — Iesus Christus vincit. (Jesus Christ conquers)

  11. Mike D says:

    Chris – Well aware and indeed sickened by Weakland. How do you explain the “Mass” at St. Francis Xavier where Dolan and his staff lied about the participation of a homosexual group and Dolan then cheered them on as they marched into the church with their rainbow flag?

  12. Michael Cole says:

    Mike D, Archbishop Dolan specifically asked the homosexual group in question NOT to raise the rainbow banner or flag at St. Xavier:

    What is your agenda here?

  13. Mike D says:

    Michael C – My agenda is clear. No more heterodoxy, plain and simple. See for yourself.

    Click to access 12-03_AMDG.pdf

    (ppg 37 & 44)

    • The video by RealCatholicTV of the New York situation along with the absence of any response or explanation by the NY archdiocese is troubling. As Chris said, it would appear that Dolan is the best choice we could get at this time, and shortly after that event in the video, as Michael said, Dolan did ask the homosexual group at the church to not march in the Gay Pride parade.
      Clearly, the video raises questions and the NY archdiocese has apparently left them unanswered. After this foray into the USCCB election, the Boston Catholic Insider blog needs to get back to Boston archdiocesan issues. Perhaps some faithful Catholics in New York might wish to start up a “New York Catholic Insider” blog to pursue these kinds of matters locally in the Big Apple?

  14. Chris says:

    I’ve always suspected Dolan gave the group the benefit of the doubt and took at face value the “leading LGBT Catholics back to the Church.” Probably not his finest moment, and yet the week after he wrote the pastor and told him not to allow participation in the march. I too would love to see “LGBT” Catholics return to the Church, via Courage or some other orthodox ministry. I know leaving that life can be done with the grace of God — and I fear only through the grace of God, as it involves a spiritual malady.

  15. Objective Observer says:

    OK, let me review the bidding. The whole discussion on this blog regarding this election, up until this morning, was that Kicanas had recommended for ordination a man whom he knew to have committed sexual offenses with three different people (males no less, and boys at that) during his formation, and the then-rector excused the behavior as part of the seminarian’s self-awareness and human formation. The rector, when later deposed, tossed some gasoline on the fire by saying, “I was more concerned about his drinking.”

    So how, all of the sudden, has the discussion become only about Dolan having a conversation with a banner-boasting group of gay people? This blog featured not one word about how Kicanas leans as a bishop, but focused on how Kicanas committed a grave error as a rector. (The priest, who was later convicted of numerous counts of sexual assault on minors, would have offended in any case — but he would not have done so as a priest.)

    Kicanas’ lack of moral compass, his gravely flawed judgment, and his utter ineptitude as a rector are all great reasons for him not to be elected as president of the USCCB. The bishops got it right. Period.

    What little I know of Archbishop Dolan leads me to have a measure of respect for the man. He, too, is a former rector, who did a credible job during a very difficult time. He is a man of the world. He knows when to listen, and when to say, “Now it’s my turn to talk.” And when he speaks, he doesn’t mince words.

    An archbishop who knows when to listen and when it’s time to speak… now that’s a concept I could warm up to.

    Hats off to BCI for making a rare and laudable exception to its scope of discussion from Boston-based governance to let us know about Kicanas and the impending vote. And hats off to the words — prayerful and otherwise — that carried the day. Wouldn’t you love to know how many of the bishops in Baltimore learned about Kicanas through this blog?

    OK, all aboard for the trip from Baltimore and back to Boston, and the sobering business of conflict of interest, corruption and general skulduggery.

  16. Michael says:

    But if we’re going back to Boston … will Cardinal Sean come back as well? We need a shepherd … don’t we? Isn’t it funny that Ireland is being “investigated” by O’Malley. How about we trade and bring the Irish Archbishop over to Boston for a bit of investigating. Maybe he could start by reading all of the blog entries here.

  17. USCCB Watcher says:

    Just stumbled across this blog via Google search. Does anyone truly realize how big a seismic shift this was for the USCCB? In 2007, Cardinal George advanced from VP to President with a vote of 85% of the bishops–188 of 222 votes cast.

    This time around, Bishop Kicanas had only 50% on the first ballot and then lost. Kicanas had 104 votes on the first ballot, Dolan had 84, and Denver Archbishop Chaput was third with 20 on the first round. I think there is no doubt that the Catholic blogosphere, including sites like this one, helped bring about this seismic shift.

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