Since 2002, Timothy M. Dolan has led the Milwaukee Archdiocese as Archbishop. His tenure included dealing with a wide array of priest abuse scandals, a petition by local priests to make clerical celibacy optional and the collateral damage left behind by former Archbishop Rembert Weakland. By all accounts, if Dolan were to get a report card at the end of every year, it would certainly include straight A’s.
On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Timothy Dolan as the new Archbishop of New York. This private Vatican information was first reported by well-connected Italian journalist Paolo Rodari, who writes for the Vatican Watch periodical Il Reformista.
For those not in the loop, New York is the United States’ most important Archdiocese, according to the Catholic News Agency.
With regards to political hierarchy, New York, along with the Bishopric of Washington D.C., holds the most influence on Capitol Hill. This move reassertes the importance of the United States Catholic Bishops in a time of constant change throughout both the political and economic realms of the country.
Critics of the move state that Dolan is not one to take a hard line and stand up against the anti-Catholic, anti-conservative sentiment given off by the current presidential administration and others such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Well known for his dislike of Archbishop Dolan, Marquette Theology professor Dan Maguire has been quick to criticize the appointment. Maguire, who is banned from speaking in all parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, was quoted in the New York Times on Tuesday,
criticizing the Church’s failure to listen to Theologians.
However, those who back the appointment of Archbishop Dolan say that he would bring the “soft touch” of a “pastoral leader,” according to the Catholic News Agency. Dolan’s attention to detail and hard line conservative stances are viewed as great counter-culture counters to the anti-Catholic policies of the current administration.
According to Rodari, Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan, Puerto Rico, were all being considered for the appointment.
Whatever happens, Archbishop Dolan’s great legacy in Milwaukee, both as pastoral leader and man of the people, will never be forgotten. His contributions to the Archdioceses of Milwaukee and St. Louis have prepared him well for New York, and his down-to-earth style make him a great candidate for any Bishopric.