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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Analysis of Archbishop Dolan's election

Not being American I rather hesitated to get involved in comment about the election of Archbishop Dolan as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I liked his book "Priests for the Third Millennium" and recommend it to students and young priests. I think I am right in saying that he turned the Pontifical North American College round so that it was on track to become the excellent institution that it is today. Some of my American friends, however, come across decidedly lukewarm, hence my reticence to step in.

John Allen has an article that can help us in blighty to understand some of the issues. (See: Three keys to reading the Dolan win at the USCCB) Allen suggests that first of all, Archbishop Dolan is a good man in terms of PR: the "most gifted natural communicator" of the US Bishops. Mmm Kay. Secondly, although the Archbishop is considered as conservative, he is good at building up relationships. Ho hum. Thirdly, he is likely to be made a Cardinal at the next consistory and so he will be able to "go toe-to-toe with the heavyweights of the Roman Curia as a full equal." All of this makes me understand Fr Zuhlsdorf's less than enthusiastic post.

More interestingly, Allen says that his election is "an endorsement of the “affirmative orthodoxy” wing of the conference’s conservative majority over its harder ideological edge." Now that is intriguing. Allen seems to be saying that the less conservative conservative got the job as a kind of compromise. Lucky USA is what I say.

Meanwhile in other news: Damian Thompson and William Oddie write concerning the forthcoming appointment of a new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.
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