The new Archbishop of New York

December 15, 2010 11:31:47 AM PST
It's arguably the most influential Catholic job in the U.S. And now Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, has it.

Dolan was named today to succeed the retiring Cardinal Edward Egan as head of the New York Archdiocese.

I'm not sure exactly when the last leader of the church here wasn't eventually named a Cardinal -- but a quick Google seems to indicate it was back around 1900. Which is to say when you come to New York as the chief Catholic, you're rewarded with the highest title the Church can give, save for the title of Pope. And there's only one of those.

So welcome to New York, Archbishop Dolan. We suspect your title will be changed at some point, but it really doesn't matter. At least not now.

What matters is what the newly installed Dolan does.

He was judged a success in Milwaukee, where he reportedly raised a ton of money, closed a multi-million dollar budget gap, and navigated around the threat of bankruptcy because of the priest sex abuse scandals ($26 million already paid out to settle legal actions, and there's talk about a host of new lawsuits in the coming year; the archdiocese is on the hook for the money, not the insurance company, because a court ruled that diocesan officials fraudulently transferred abusive priests without ever telling new parishioners. Charming).

And in the middle of a drastic Priest shortage, Archbishop Dolan's archdiocese in Milwaukee -- he won't be installed in New York until April 15 - expects to ordain six priests this year, a dramatic turnaround. He has been known to recruit new candidates over beers, fitting perhaps in the town that made beer famous.

Most illustratively, Dolan has been an ardent defender of the current Pope's hard-line, back-to-basics conservatism.

That may well be the canary-in-the-coal mine for Archbishop Dolan's new job in New York. New York isn't Milwaukee, politically or religiously speaking. And while New Yorkers gave a resounding and warm welcome to Pope Benedict XVI when he was here last spring, New Yorker's are generally a more liberal flock -- embracing the more progressive views of Pope John Paul II's rather than the more conservative views of his successor.

We'll have the latest on Archbishop Dolan's appointment - including our Jeff Pegues who's in Milwaukee looking into Dolan's performance there - tonight at 11.

Also at 11, will Citigroup become the people's bank? It could happen perhaps as early as tonight. There's a proposal - apparently backed by Citi's executives - for the public to take a 40% ownership stake in the giant but troubled banking corporation.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, the AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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