Reese on the (Bishops') Elections

Here's Tom Reese on the surprising election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the USCCB:

At their meeting this week in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops signaled that they are going to continue their conservative tilt in both the church and American politics. This rightward tilt became evident six years ago when Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was elected vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The election of vice president is important because the bishops traditionally elect the vice president as president at the next election in three years.


Prior to his election as vice president, George had executed the coup d’état at ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) that got rid of those who opposed a literal word-for-word translation of the Latin Mass. He, more than any other bishop, will be responsible for the new English translation that goes into effect in Advent of 2011. This year, as president of the bishops’ conference, he led the attack on President Obama’s healthcare bill, which he claims will fund abortions even though the Catholic Health Association disagrees.

Moderates were fooled into thinking that the bishops had returned to the center three years ago when they elected Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson as vice president at the same time that Cardinal George was elevated to president. They expected Kicanas to be elected president this year, after he defeated Archbishop Timothy Dolan, then of Milwaukee, by a vote of 128-106. Dolan’s victory over Kicanas at this week’s meeting is unprecedented. The bishops have always elected the vice president when he was on the ballot for president.

On paper, there is little difference between the two bishops. Both would claim to support orthodox doctrine and the full range of Catholic social teaching. As one bishop told me, “Kicanas is a liberal moderate, and Dolan is a conservative moderate.” The substantive differences are not that great.  The difference is in style and emphasis.

Read the rest here.

Correction: The original column, based on Dolan's press conference, said that Kicanas defeated Dolan by one vote three years ago. In fact the vote was 128-106

James Martin, SJ

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 4 months ago
Father Martin- the link is to an earlier  pre conference report by Father Reese naming Bishop Kicanas the new president....
Eugene Pagano
8 years 4 months ago
Father Martin's link is to Father Reese's blog page.  The new entry apparently has not yet been posted as of 10:35 Eastern Time.
Peter Lakeonovich
8 years 4 months ago
Fr. Reese ends his cynical, partisan rant by stating:

"We have grown up while the leadership has just grown old."

My question is:  who is "We"? 

And how exactly has the leadership grown old?  Archbishop Dolan is a relatively young archbishop, as is Archbishop Chaput.

I would suggest that we (younger generations) have grown tired of Christianity-light, tired of lukewarm leadership, and have found hope if leaders like Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Chaput who bring us the message of the Gospels and set the earth on fire.  God bless them all.

By the way, Fr. Jim, no words from you to defend the selection of Archbishop Dolan, of whom you have noted you are a fan?
8 years 4 months ago
''We have grown up while the leadership has just grown old.''  This I believe was not made by Fr. Reese but by a commenter.

Fr. Reese does take some gratuitous shots in his piece at the end that are non sequiturs on the economic situation and the relation to social justice.  Maybe if he understood the relationship better he would be more understanding.
emma clery
8 years 4 months ago
And now - we also have a ''Tea Party'' church. 

I note that most of the commentators here are [''male'']. Do none of you know (or care) how many women in our church feel.  I am Abp Dolan's age - just old enough to recall how priests (and SJ's in particular) once supported women.

In the Phildelphia Archdiocese when I suggetsed to a priest [male cleric] how it might feel to women that the boys were so inside their bubble that they had no idea how we felt, he hung up the phone.

As far as health care goes - take the examaple of Bishop R. Walker Nickless who said that national healthcare threatened the vitality of the free market.  Is that a shepherd or a capitalist speaking?  Evidently he was not censured by Cardinal George. 

And how soon will Abp Dolan be a cardinal?  The church tells us that ''Christ simply did not will a woman priest.  Did he ''will'' a cardinal?  

God bless us one and all.
Peter Lakeonovich
8 years 4 months ago
JR, thanks for pointing that out.  First half of post 5 comments withdrawn.


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