Religion and Ethics Weekly: New York’s New Archbishop

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What are the implications of Timothy Dolan stepping into this position?

DAVID GIBSON (Author and Journalist): Well Kim, I think you have really a media-friendly bishop stepping into the media capital of the world, frankly. So it’s really an important step both for New York, for New York Catholics, 2.5 million—one of the largest dioceses certainly in the country, still—but also for the national church. You get a really high-visible guy like Timothy Dolan out there who can present the faith but also engage the culture. So I think it’s really in a sense a beginning of a new era for New York and perhaps for the church in the United States, while at the same time he’s something of a throwback to the older Cardinal O’Connor-type Irish archbishops of New York.

[KIM] LAWTON: Well, how is he different from Cardinal Egan, just personality-wise? And how may that have an impact, then, on some of these issues?

Mr. GIBSON: Well, in a sense he’s, you know, just most obviously he’s more outgoing. He’s just more a “man of the people,” you might say. He enjoys what he calls hanging out with the meat-and-potatoes Catholics. He’s very funny. You know, I think he’s good management-wise. You know, he knows how to take care of the purse strings. Cardinal Egan was very good with the finances, but he’s much more of a behind-the-scenes type of guy. He just didn’t have that personality that Archbishop Dolan and, before Egan, Cardinal John O’Connor had. So there’s just that real contrast, and I think everybody is looking, both left and right, it’s not a conservative-liberal thing for once in the church, but everybody is looking for a more high-profile archbishop who would be really more of a pastor out there in the parishes and in the pews.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

5 Comments
Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Fr. Dale wrote:

New York is something of a kind of a Rust Belt of Catholicism.
Timothy Dolan should feel right at home coming from Milwaukee.  He probably will miss the brats and beer though. I was always impressed with The Basilica of St Josaphat in Milwaukee.  It was built by Polish parishoners from bricks they brought from the Chicago Post Office when it was demolished. This kind of dedication is remarkable.

March 1, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
2. Lumen Christie wrote:

There is a not-very-widely known bit of history here.  Early on, a Frenchman was proposed to be bishop, and an agreement was set with the Vatican that only clergy of Irish origins would ever be made archbishops of New York.  This is more than folklore—the Vatican has lived up to the deal.  Check out the list on the red hats in the ceiling of St. Patrick’s 5th Ave.

March 2, 12:10 pm | [comment link]
3. Lumen Christie wrote:

Dcn Dale:  if 2.5 million Roman Carholics in one diocese is their “Rust Belt,” then what does that say about the 110 (or so) dioceses of TEC?

March 2, 12:13 pm | [comment link]
4. Fr. Dale wrote:

#3. If you are saying that a “dilapidated” diocese in the RC church has a larger membership than all of TEC, you are quite right.  KJS has explained this by saying in effect that those with more education don’t breed as much. The comment betrayed the attitude as more effete than elite.
There’s actually a pretty good sized Irish population in Milwaukee with the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s day. We participated with our Irish Wolfhound but had to follow the horses which is not a good idea logistically if you catch my drift.

March 2, 12:33 pm | [comment link]
5. LumenChristie wrote:

“Catching the drift” would indeed be exactly the problem.  wink

March 2, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
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