It was as stunning, as it was unexpected; by a vote of 128-111 the left leaning Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Vice President of the US Bishop’s Conference was passed over for President of the US Bishops by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In the history of the US Bishop’s Conference, a sitting Vice President has never been passed over for another candidate. It had been assumed to be a foregone conclusion that Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, who is a protégé of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and his seamless garment theology, would easily win.
A number of factors may have tipped the scales toward the gregarious and well loved new Archbishop of New York. Tim Drake wrote an article about Bishop Kicanas which called into question his role as head of Chicago’s Mundelin Seminary. Some had questioned why the future bishop would allow a man who to be ordained even though many had questions concerning the prospective priest’s background. The priest would later be charged with molestation.
Another factor that might have led to Archbishop Dolan’s election that readers of my book The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism as well as my columns and articles are accustomed to; is the belief that the tide is turning because of the new crop of priests and bishops who have been ordained and come of age in the latter half of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the current pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. For a growing group of younger priests and bishops, who are more orthodox or traditional in the beliefs, the Seamless Garment view, may seem to be part of a bygone era where left leaning social activism blended in with the accompanying décor of shag carpeting, lava lamps and Jefferson Airplane concert posters. This may sound harsh or even heretical to those on the left, but it is a statement that many in the growing conservative movement will find fitting.
Archbishop Dolan of New York is known as a forceful leader who has been, as some describe at war with the New York Times over its treatment of the Pope Benedict XVI. In addition, His Excellency has also spoken out against President Barack Obama being given an award at Notre Dame, as well as aspects of the recently passed health care bill. Archbishop Dolan steered Milwaukee through the aftermath of the shambles left by the disgraced former prelate of Beer City, Rembert Weakland. Before his stint in Milwaukee, Archbishop Dolan cleaned up the North American College Seminary in Rome, which had been beset by a number of issues. It seems patently obvious that the bishops have chosen a leader who would not be afraid to speak out to defend Catholicism and her teachings.
This shocking move will no doubt be dissected and parsed for some time. The secular, and in particular the Catholic Left, will no doubt howl over the unprecedented move which follows the national trend to the right following this month’s mid term election. In the interim of that debate, you may want to read the following articles; If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Had Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters.) CNN Joins the Hit Piece Parade Against Pope Benedict XVI, along with The Jesus the Professional Left Chose to Ignore and The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.