Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dolan Revisited

A good many Catholics are happy about the appointment of Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Some believe it represents a fundamental shift in the overall leadership of the conference, but in case anyone didn't notice ...

Progressive Catholics were actually divided on the prospect of Kicanas getting the job. Some intellectuals looked forward to what they envisioned as an enlightened thinker at the helm -- Jesuit Father Thomas Reese has called Kicanas "the leading liberal hope" -- who was not only considered sympathetic to "gay rights," but who was said to have done effective damage control with certain clerical sex abuse cases in his diocese. But it wasn't enough for leaders of Survivors Network Abused by Priests (SNAP). And Co-Director Anne Barrett Doyle of Bishop-Accountability.org says that "Bishop Kicanas has failed to account honestly for his role in one of the most catastrophic abuse cases in recent years."

Even among those who preferred Dolan as president had reservations. There is sufficient internet chatter about his tendency to compromise too much (except on abortion, where he has openly taken "Catholic" politicians to task for infidelity). It is also worth noting that it took three ballots to elect him, after being second to Kicanas on the first. Was this a true vote of confidence, or just a wish by the body of the conference to avoid embarrassment?

Personally, I'm not impressed with Rocco Palmo's I-coulda-seen-this-coming schtick, but he does provide some decent post-mortem.

Either way, there is one more opportunity for American Catholics to send a message to their bishops. We'll hear about that Friday. Now then, I've got ten more decades of the Rosary to finish. A deal's a deal.


Ray from MN said...

It's gotta be tough to be a bishop these days, not to mention being President of the USCCB.

Everybody is a liturgy cop or Catholic Investigative Agency operative with a book of canon law in one hand and a GIRM in the other.

God help the Bishop who isn't perfect with his own activities and in monitoring the hundreds or thousands of employees and ministers in his diocese.

David L Alexander said...


On the basis of my observations, twenty years ago, progressive priests would complain about the "liturgy cops." Now it's the traditional priests who complain about them. There is a lesson there somewhere. I'll have to get back to you on it.