Although Archbishop Timothy Dolan has only been the pastor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 2002, in that time he has had a tremendous impact on Catholics and non-Catholics alike throughout the greater Milwaukee community. For those who have not had the privilege of meeting Archbishop Dolan, the following comments on his demeanor and his accomplishments will not do him justice.
Archbishop Dolan came to Milwaukee after demoralizing revelations about former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland’s inappropriate sexual activity and efforts to keep his actions secret. In the midst of this scandal, Dolan brought a boisterous Irish personality to the Archdiocese, full of energy and orthodoxy. However, far from raising his crosier (the staff that the bishop holds) against those who would dissent from Catholic orthodoxy, Dolan employed his personable and persuasive character to effect change.
Aside from being pastoral, Dolan also has proven to be a capable administrator, for which his experience as the rector at the Pontifical North American College prepared him. It definitely has not been easy, especially considering the recent financial burdens of the Archdiocese due to sexual abuse settlements. Just last year, Dolan managed to escape a multi-million dollar deficit by consolidating Archdiocesan offices and staff. In addition, his presence and candor have allowed him to successfully navigate the secular media, making him well liked by many.
While New York is certainly a larger and more diverse Catholic community than Milwaukee, Dolan will surely leave a positive impact out East, just as he has done here in the Midwest. His staunch opposition to abortion and his adherence to Catholic orthodoxy are essential for such a prominent and visible position such as the Archdiocese of New York. Of course, as he has done in Milwaukee, Dolan will undoubtedly express these positions gently and with understanding.
Archbishop Dolan has raised the level of religious morale in Milwaukee. His larger than life personality and perennially happy demeanor are magnetic, and his uncanny ability to remember names helps him build a strong relationship with Catholics in his flock. Milwaukee will miss Dolan’s style and personality, which has captivated many and renewed Catholic spirituality here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
As his Excellency makes this transition to what is arguably the most visible diocese in the nation, there is little doubt in this writer’s mind that he will be welcomed and successful.
Thank you Archbishop Dolan for your leadership and inspiration in the short time you’ve been with us. You will be greatly missed.
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