Novak (novak) wrote,

Personal/Theological Notebook: Arriving Home; Dolan named Archbishop of New York

Weird walking through the door and feeling my mind very firmly shift gears from the family mode I was in and back to Marquette mode. I left my sister watching Sophie putting piles of building blocks – one at a time, grouped by colour and shape – back in their big plastic box, amusing herself while doing so by sitting in the box and burying herself with them. "My OCD child." Leslie smiled, while Sophie handed out polite "Thank yous" as we handed her the blocks. All the events of the weekend: some time with the nieces as I stayed over at the way-station of Leslie and Jim's house, long talks with Dad on the drive down and back from Kentucky, and the celebrations surrounding the baptism of my newish nephew Nathaniel – all of that whirling around in my head and now being set aside as I remember I have Barnes's undergrad Augustine class to attend later this afternoon, a few letters of recommendation to write, and ACK! the 2009 Wade Lecture, Rev. Thomas Worcester, SJ on "The Modern Papacy: Between Tradition and Innovation" right at the same time as Barnes's class. So I'll have to figure out how to attend both at the same time, or some alternative.

Holy Freaking Moses! I also return to have my computer open up and tell me the news that our own Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who has only been here for a few years, has just been named the Archbishop of New York. Hello Red Hat! That's kind of huge: as the unofficial "Capital of the World," the Archbishop of New York gets more requests for aid from around the world than anyone other than the Pope: it's a huge pastoral responsibility that extends well beyond the borders of his archdiocese. Huh. I'll copy articles below.

Cardinal Egan retires; Archbishop Dolan of Milwaukee to succeed him

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee as archbishop of New York and accepted the resignation of Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who has headed the archdiocese since 2000.

The appointment was announced Feb. 23 in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

In a statement directed at the auxiliary bishops, priests, men and women religious, seminarians and "committed Catholics of this wonderful church," Archbishop Dolan said he was "honored, humbled and happy to serve as your pastor."

"I pledge to you my love, my life, my heart, and I can tell you already that I love you," he added.

He will be installed by Archbishop Sambi as archbishop of New York April 15 at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Cardinal Egan will continue as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until then.

Archbishop Dolan, a St. Louis native who turned 59 Feb. 6, has been head of the Milwaukee Archdiocese since 2002 and was an auxiliary bishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese for a year before that.

Cardinal Egan, who turns 77 April 2, was ordained a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese and served as an auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese, 1985-88, and bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., 1988-2000.

Both Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan have backgrounds that include extensive service in Rome and/or at the Vatican.

Cardinal Egan worked for 14 years as a judge in the Roman Rota, the Vatican court of appeals for canonical cases, especially those related to marriage. He also was on the faculty of the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome.

Archbishop Dolan studied for the priesthood in Rome and was rector of the North American College from 1994 to 2001. He also worked for five years on the staff of the apostolic nunciature in Washington.

The oldest of five children of Robert and Shirley Dolan, Timothy Michael Dolan studied at Holy Infant Grade School in Baldwin, Mo.; St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis; and the North American College.

Ordained a priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese June 19, 1976, Father Dolan served as a parish priest, earned a doctorate in church history at The Catholic University of America in Washington, worked at the apostolic nunciature, served on the faculty at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis and was rector at the North American College for seven years.

He returned to the Archdiocese of St. Louis as auxiliary bishop in June 2001 and was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee a year later.

In the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was a member of the Committee on Budget and Finance and the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, as well as chairman of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services. He also served as a consultant to the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

Edward Michael Egan, the son of Thomas J. and Genevieve Costello Egan, earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.; a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University; and a doctorate summa cum laude in canon law, also from the Gregorian.

He was ordained a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese Dec. 15, 1957, at the North American College in Rome, in a ceremony that also included J. Francis Stafford, another future cardinal. After further studies in Rome, he returned to Chicago in 1958 to serve as parochial vicar of Holy Name Cathedral Parish, assistant chancellor and secretary to Cardinal Albert G. Meyer.

Back in Rome for doctoral studies from 1960 to 1964, he also served as assistant vice rector of the North American College. Again in Chicago from 1965 to 1972, he was secretary to Cardinal John P. Cody, archdiocesan vice chancellor and co-chancellor for ecumenism and social relations.

Named an auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota Nov. 20, 1972, then-Father Egan was also a professor of civil and criminal procedure at the Studio Rotale and of canon law at the Gregorian; commissioner of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; a consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy; and, in 1982, one of six canonists who reviewed the new Code of Canon Law with Pope John Paul II before it was promulgated in 1983.

Appointed an auxiliary bishop in New York April 1, 1985, he was transferred to Bridgeport Nov. 5, 1988, and named archbishop of New York May 11, 2000.

As a member of the College of Cardinals since Feb. 21, 2001, he served on the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See for five years and participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict.

At the USCCB, Cardinal Egan is currently a member of the Committee on Migration and a consultant to the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, as well as a member of the board of bishops for the North American College.

Cardinal Egan will be the first head of the New York Archdiocese to retire from the post. The three bishops and eight archbishops who preceded him all died in office.

Archbishop Dolan expert at church workings but prefers 'the folks'

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Like his predecessor, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is very familiar with the workings of the church in Rome.

The new head of the New York Archdiocese served for seven years as rector of the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. national seminary in Rome, and was a student there himself in the 1970s. In addition, he was assigned for two years to the staff of the apostolic nunciature, or Vatican embassy, in Washington.

But Archbishop Dolan, who turned 59 Feb. 6, described himself in a 2002 interview as "a sort of fish-fry and bingo guy" who preferred being "in the field ... on the front lines ... with the folks" to carrying out the administrative duties of an archbishop.

A church historian, he also tends to take the long view in regard to any crisis facing the church.

After the French Revolution in the 18th century, the church was "in shambles," he noted in the same interview. "Many people thought the visible church, as we know it, could never survive. And of course it did."

Some might say the same of the U.S. church today, Archbishop Dolan added. But "we're still in the postconciliar period, the period after the Second Vatican Council, which was an epic event in the life of the church. We're still in that -- from the point of view of history, 35 years is like a drop in the bucket."

A native of St. Louis, Timothy Michael Dolan is the oldest of five children born to Shirley Radcliffe Dolan and the late Robert Dolan. His seminary education began at the high school level at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South in Shrewsbury, Pa., and continued at Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis, where he earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

He did his theological studies at the North American College and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and was ordained a priest of the St. Louis Archdiocese June 19, 1976.

After serving as associate pastor at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights, Mo., he was sent to Washington for advanced studies.

He earned master's and doctoral degrees in church history from The Catholic University of America. His doctoral thesis was on the life and ministry of Archbishop Edwin Vincent O'Hara, founder of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and the Catholic Biblical Association and a leading figure in the development of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

During other parish assignments in the St. Louis Archdiocese, then-Father Dolan also served as liaison to Archbishop John L. May in the restructuring of the college and theology programs of the archdiocesan seminary system.

Beginning in 1987, he worked for five years as secretary at the nunciature in Washington. He returned to St. Louis in 1992 as vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, also serving as director of spiritual formation and professor of church history.

While working as rector of North American College from 1994 to 2001, then-Msgr. Dolan was a visiting professor of church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a faculty member in the department of ecumenical theology at St. Thomas Aquinas.

On June 19, 2001, the silver anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, he was named an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis. He was ordained a bishop Aug. 15.

A little more than a year later, he was named archbishop of Milwaukee June 25, 2002, and was installed Aug. 28. He succeeded Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, whose resignation was accepted by Pope John Paul II following the disclosure of a financial settlement of a sexual harassment suit brought against him.

Archbishop Dolan is the author of "Priests for the Third Millennium," published by Our Sunday Visitor Books. A collection of conferences given to U.S. seminarians in Rome, it discusses the joys and challenges priests are facing today.

Archbishop Dolan's move to the New York Archdiocese will more than triple the number of Catholics under his pastoral care -- from about 700,000 in Milwaukee to 2.5 million in New York.

Wis. Msgr. Dolan welcomed as next NY archbishop
Feb 23, 11:31 AM (ET)


NEW YORK (AP) - Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, a defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who led an elite seminary for U.S. priests and became known for his energy, wit and warmth, was named archbishop of New York on Monday.

The Vatican said Dolan would succeed Cardinal Edward Egan, 76, who is retiring as archbishop after nearly nine years.

The post is the most prominent in the American Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II called the job "archbishop of the capital of the world."

Egan welcomed Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Monday. Dolan did not speak, but beamed as he passed out Holy Communion.

"I've known him many years," said Egan. "And I told him how I delighted I am to welcome this wonderful priest and bishop."

Dolan said in statements issued by the two archdioceses that he was "deeply honored" and "grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI," but sad about leaving Milwaukee. He pledged to the New York faithful "my love, my life, my heart."

Parishioner Marian Roach was among those who attended the morning Mass at St. Patrick's where Egan welcomed his successor.

"There's a fresh face, someone who will have to face the challenges we have today," she said. "It will be difficult for him. So we must have faith."

Egan, ordained in 1957, was bishop of the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese for 12 years before Pope John Paul II appointed him to lead the New York Archdiocese in 2000.

The New York archdiocese is the second-largest in the U.S., behind the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, serving 2.5 million parishioners in nearly 400 churches.

It covers a region from Manhattan to the Catskill mountains, and includes a vast network of 10 colleges and universities, hundreds of schools and social service agencies, and nine hospitals that treat about a million people annually.

Dolan's selection continues a chain of Irish-American bishops that was broken only once in the history of the archdiocese, when French-born prelate John Dubois was appointed in 1826.

However, Dolan, 59, takes over at a time of growing diversity in the local church, with a sizable and growing Latino population in the New York area. He speaks Spanish, among other languages, and can preach and celebrate the sacraments in Spanish.

When Egan became New York's archbishop, the archdiocese had an annual $20 million operating deficit. Egan closed or merged about two dozen parishes as the Catholic population shifted to the suburbs, where new schools were being planned. He said he wiped out the budget shortfall.

On Sept. 11, 2001, and the days after the terrorist attacks, he led worship in St. Patrick's Cathedral for thousands of shaken New Yorkers. Last year, the cardinal hosted Pope Benedict XVI in his first U.S. visit as pontiff, an event marked by festive crowds in the tens of thousands.

But unlike many previous New York archbishops, Egan did not embrace the chance for a broad public role in the city. Some priests circulated an anonymous letter in 2006, accusing the cardinal of arrogance and of ignoring the pastoral needs of priests and parishioners. Egan called the complaints a "vicious attack."

Dolan was sent to Milwaukee under challenging circumstances. His predecessor, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, had abruptly retired after news broke that the archdiocese had paid a $450,000 settlement to a man claiming Weakland tried to sexually assault him. Weakland admitted an "inappropriate relationship" but denied abuse.

The Rev. Jim Connell, moderator of the Milwaukee Presbyteral Council, a panel of archdiocesan priests, called Weakland's departure a "very sad and tragic situation" for local clergy. But he said Dolan reached out to them, distributing his e-mail and phone number, and calling them on their birthdays, the anniversary of their ordinations, or just to say hello.

A year after Dolan took the Milwaukee post, about a quarter of his priests signed a public letter saying that celibacy should be optional for future clergy. Dolan disagreed, but did so without apparent bitterness, emphasizing how much he appreciated the clergymen and their work.

"This is the time we priests need to be renewing our pledge to celibacy, not questioning it," Dolan wrote. "The problems in the church today are not caused by the teachings of Jesus and of his church, but by lack of fidelity to them."

Dolan began his path to the priesthood as a boy. A St. Louis native and the oldest of five children, Dolan has said he would set up cardboard boxes with sheets to make a play altar in the basement. He attended a seminary prep school in Missouri, and by 1985 earned a doctorate in church history from The Catholic University of America.

After working as a parish priest and professor, Dolan spent seven years as rector of the North American College in Rome, considered the West Point for U.S. priests, where he had studied for his own ordination years earlier.

He served briefly as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Louis before his 2002 appointment to Milwaukee, which serves about 675,000 parishioners and 211 churches.

Dolan is an outspoken opponent of abortion, comparing the moral urgency of the issue to ending slavery. The American Life League, an anti-abortion group that has pressured Catholic bishops to speak out more forcefully on the issue, called Dolan "one of our pro-life heroes."

However, he does not deny Holy Communion to Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights, nor does he single them out publicly. He thinks each parishioner should decide whether he or she should receive the sacrament. Every other year or so, he has invited Catholic city and state officeholders for a daylong session on church teaching and public life.

Dolan had served as a point-person for abuse claims for several months in St. Louis and was confronted with years-old unresolved abuse cases in Milwaukee.

In 2004, he joined the minority of U.S. bishops who publicly released the names of local diocesan priests who had been credibly accused of molesting children. The archdiocese posts the names on its Web site and updates the list when needed.

"Anything we can do to keep children safe, we must do," Dolan said when he revealed the names. "Anything we can do to help people who have been victimized come forward, we must do."

However, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has accused him of, among other things, failing to work more closely with civil authorities to publicly identify accused clergy from the independently governed religious orders who work in the archdiocese.

In 2006, the archdiocese agreed to a nearly $17 million settlement involving abusive former Milwaukee priests who had worked in California. Insurance covered half the claim, but Dolan said the archdiocese's share put its annual budget in the red, contributing to a $3 million deficit last year. Dolan had to cut about a fifth of the jobs in the archdiocese. He hoped to sell a 44-acre archdiocesan property, the Cousins Center, but the sale stalled.


On the Net:

Archdiocese of New York:

Milwaukee Archbishop Chosen to Succeed Egan
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN for The New York Times
Published: February 23, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday named Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who has led the archdiocese of Milwaukee for the last seven years, to succeed Cardinal Edward M. Egan as the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York.

Archbishop Dolan, who has a towering frame and a gregarious presence, is orthodox in his theology but more likely to use persuasion than punishment on Catholics who do not share his views. In choosing him, the pope passed over other candidates equally conservative but more confrontational with priests, parishioners and politicians who question church teaching.

The appointment marks the first time in the 200-year history of the archdiocese that power will be transferred from a living prelate to his successor in a post that Pope John Paul II once called “archbishop of the capital of the world.”

Cardinal Egan, who is 76 and served for nearly nine years, focused on the business and financial duties of his office. He excelled at fund-raising, closed many parishes and schools, and says he erased a $48 million budget gap left by his predecessor, Cardinal John J. O’Connor. But his leadership style had its critics, including many priests and parishioners who felt he was removed and imperious.

Archbishop Dolan, by contrast, has earned a reputation for being convivial with parishioners and accessible to the news media, and he is not above smoking cigars with his seminarians. Yet behind the scenes, he has quietly reeled in theologians and priests who question church doctrine. And he has disappointed advocates for victims of sexual abuse, who accuse him of failing to find and remove all offenders from the ministry — though they acknowledge that he was one of few bishops to make a list of abusive priests public.

He turned 59 this month, making him relatively young for such a high position and for such a prominent seat — one that has historically led to a promotion to cardinal. If he serves until age 75, when bishops are required to send the pope a letter offering to retire, he will have ample opportunity to make a mark in one of the nation’s most visible pulpits.

“He’s the type of man that the pope is looking for as a bishop,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit scholar and close observer of American bishops. “He’s intelligent, he’s scholarly, he is pastoral, and people like him.

“One of the major things in support of him is the fact that he hasn’t made any major mistakes,” added Father Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington. “Most bishops make the headlines when they mess up. And he has not done that. He hasn’t said anything stupid, hasn’t gotten any group either on the right or the left really mad at him.”

Archbishop Dolan has never studied or lived in New York, and does not speak much Spanish, the mother tongue of one-third of the roughly 2.5 million Catholics in the New York Archdiocese. (At a news conference on Monday, he said he is “still trying to learn,” but knows enough to celebrate the Mass and “give a rather childlike homily.”) The number of Hispanic Catholics in New York is growing rapidly as new immigrants from Latin America fill the pews being vacated by other groups.

But in Milwaukee, where Latinos make up 14 percent of all Catholics, he was attentive to his Hispanic parishes and priests.

The New York Archdiocese, while ethnically diverse, is still dominated in many ways by Catholics of Irish ancestry. As an Irish-American, Archbishop Dolan takes the helm from a long chain of cardinals whose roots were almost exclusively in Ireland. His formal installation is scheduled for April 15 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

On Monday morning at the cathedral, Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan together celebrated the 8 a.m. Mass before a congregation that was larger than usual. Archbishop Dolan smiled and nodded to parishioners in the communion line as they stepped forward to receive the Eucharist from him.

Cardinal Egan welcomed his successor and called him a “wonderful priest and bishop” whom he has known for many years. With photographers clicking and news cameras rolling in the pews, Cardinal Egan, who has often appeared uneasy in the media spotlight, said in a droll voice, “I told him that the news media of New York just loves the archbishop of New York and always treats him wonderfully, and he’s prepared for that.”

As he was leaving the Mass, Paul Murray, the 26-year-old music director at the Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan, said, “It’s great news for the archdiocese.

“We need a shepherd,” he said, then quickly added, “And we also need to show our gratitude to Cardinal Egan.”

Roy Fields, a retired teacher, said of the archbishop-elect, “I hope he can convince young people to enter the priesthood.”

The archdiocese, the nation’s second-largest, after Los Angeles, encompasses three New York City boroughs — Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island — as well as seven counties stretching as far north as the Catskills.

It has undergone huge shifts in recent decades: Many Catholics who once lived in cities have moved to the suburbs. The pews in some Manhattan parishes are nearly empty, while some in Rockland County are overflowing. And though New York is better off than most dioceses in its ratio of priests to parishioners, priests are aging and retiring far more quickly than new seminarians are signing up to take their place.

The Rev. John E. Hurley, executive director of the National Pastoral Life Center, a church training and advocacy group based in New York City, said that among the challenges facing a new archbishop are “the shortage of clergy and a need for increased participation of the laity in leadership roles in the life of the local parish and community.

“When you go west of the Mississippi,” he said, “you have one pastor serving three parishes, and that’s going to hit here in the next 10 years.”.

When Archbishop Dolan was sent to Milwaukee seven years ago, Catholics there were still reeling from the sudden and spectacular downfall of Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, an intellectual who was beloved by the church’s liberal wing. Archbishop Weakland admitted that he secretly paid $450,000 to buy the silence of a man who claimed that the archbishop had sexually assaulted him.

Archbishop Dolan, who had served as an auxiliary bishop in St. Louis but was never before in charge of a diocese, had to restore confidence and clean up the mess. He encouraged active participation by lay people, and allowed a lay woman appointed by his predecessor to stay on as chancellor.

He grappled with financial problems arising in part from settlements with victims of sexual abuse by priests — a sum the archdiocese says has totaled $26 million. Last year, Archbishop Dolan laid off nearly one-fifth of the 150 workers in the archdiocese. Before closing a $3 million budget deficit, he openly discussed the option of declaring bankruptcy, as some other dioceses have done.

Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a group of Catholic clergy and laity, nevertheless said she was pleased at the prospect of Archbishop Dolan’s leading New York because he had supported financial transparency and good business ethics.

“His track record in Milwaukee bodes very well for New York,” Ms. Robinson said. “New York will be very well served.”

In his second week in Milwaukee, where the Green Bay Packers are themselves a religion, Archbishop Dolan began his homily at an outdoor Mass by donning one of the “cheese-head” hats worn by Packers fans. It produced laughter, and a photograph that led to some criticism from church traditionalists who accused him of defiling the Mass.

Unlike most bishops, whose degrees are in moral theology, philosophy or (like Cardinal Egan) canon law, Archbishop Dolan is a church historian, and has studied how American archbishops in earlier eras helped shape the church. At Catholic University of America in Washington, he studied under Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, a liberal-leaning church historian who was also close to Cardinal O’Connor, said Michael Sean Winters, a Catholic writer who also studied with Monsignor Ellis.

Archbishop Dolan was born and grew up in St. Louis, and served in parish ministry there for five years. He was groomed early for the hierarchy, and chosen to study at the prestigious Pontifical North American College, a seminary in Rome where many of the top American students are sent to prepare for the priesthood.

He returned to the college as rector from 1994 to 2001, where he was known to join in cigar-smoking sessions with students and visitors, with gusto.

Mr. Winters, who writes a blog at America magazine, a Jesuit weekly, and was among those who predicted Archbishop Dolan’s appointment, said, “He took on the task of reworking the seminary there, and working on the formation of priests.

“There was a sense that priests coming back were a little too clerical and didn’t know how to treat people,” he said, and Archbishop Dolan helped change that.

In New York, the new prelate will encounter many priests and members of religious orders who confide that they are desperate for a new leader. Three years ago, Cardinal Egan lashed out at priests he suspected had been involved in writing an anonymous letter that accused him of being autocratic.

The letter, published in a blog and picked up by the press, declared that the relationship between Cardinal Egan and his priests was “fractured and seemingly hopeless.” Some priests say the relationship deteriorated further after that.

Against this backdrop, the congenial Archbishop Dolan is likely to be greeted as an emergency rescue worker.

“In New York, there’s clearly a morale problem among the clergy,” Mr. Winters said. “He is somebody who’s worked in the seminaries, who’s really got a sense of how you encourage priests. He will be great for morale.”

Michael Powell, Paul Vitello and Mathew R. Warren contributed reporting.

A Genial Enforcer of Rome’s Doctrine
By MICHAEL POWELL for The New York Times
Published: February 23, 2009

MILWAUKEE — For a few deeply unpleasant days, the Rev. David Cooper found himself in the crosshairs of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

It was 2003, and the priest had opined to a reporter that women should be ordained. Faraway bishops rumbled about censure. Then he picked up the telephone and heard the baritone of Milwaukee’s archbishop, Timothy Michael Dolan. Father Cooper immediately offered to resign.

No, no, the archbishop replied, we just need to repair the damage. “He was very pastoral and caring,” Father Cooper recalled.

And how was it resolved? “Oh, I agreed to recant,” he said. “He effectively silenced me.”

Archbishop Dolan, who Pope Benedict XVI named on Monday to lead the Archdiocese of New York, is a genial enforcer of Rome’s ever more conservative writ, a Falstaffian fellow who talks of his love of the Brewers baseball team and Miller beer, and who takes obvious joy in donning his bishop’s robes and pounding his bishop’s staff as he tromps into church. When talking with parishioners, he places his hand on their shoulders, sidles in close and, out of the corner of his mouth, cracks a joke.

Asked this month about rumors of his departure for New York, he shrugged. “I don’t think I’m on Pope Benedict’s speed dial,” he said. “I hope to be here for the rest of my life. I’ve even picked out my burial spot in the crypt — want to see it?”

On matters of doctrine, the archbishop 59, adheres to the line laid down by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, including firm opposition to abortion, birth control, divorce, gay marriage and any crack in the wall of priestly celibacy.

A native of St. Louis, Archbishop Dolan has scaled the Roman Catholic high cliffs, earning a Ph.D. in church history and serving in the stations sought out by the church’s high achievers: secretary to the papal nuncio, the pope’s envoy, in Washington; rector of the Pontifical North American College, a school for American seminarians in Rome; and auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, before being installed as archbishop of Milwaukee in 2002. He speaks fluent Italian.

In Milwaukee, he proved a prodigious fund-raiser, staving off the bankruptcy that seemed to beckon as the priest sexual abuse scandal, and earlier efforts at a cover-up, led to lawsuits. He closed a $3 million budget deficit last year, and started a fund-raising campaign that he says is more than halfway to its goal, with $57.5 million in pledges. He has combined shrinking parishes and reached out to young people over beers, and recruited new seminarians — the Milwaukee archdiocese expects to ordain six men this year, as opposed to a single ordination a few years ago.

He has vigorously courted the booming exurban white Catholic churches and the Hispanic congregations of the city’s south side. Such experiences could serve him well in New York, where the church also has grown more suburban and Latino. (He traveled to a Spanish class in Mexico and tries out a stray “hola!” and “como estas?” on his Hispanic parishioners.)

But the woes afflicting his 10-county archdiocese are many. The sex abuse scandal remains an open sore. The church has paid $26.5 million to settle lawsuits, and officials expect a new raft of suits in the next year. Critics say that Archbishop Dolan has not defrocked at least three priests who were found to have committed sexual abuse, and a state judge held last year that the archdiocese’s insurance company is not responsible for paying claims in cases where diocesan officials committed fraud by transferring abusive priests without notifying their new parishioners.

Attendance at Mass has declined steadily, from 40 percent of parishioners in the early 1990s to 27 percent last autumn. Sixty parishes have closed since the late 1990s and nearly three dozen parishes share priests or have lay leaders, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A few parishes remain split, sharply, over questions of birth control and divorce, and over archdiocesan attempts to promote a more traditional liturgy.

The archdiocese remains so strapped for cash that officials have put its headquarters, alongside a cobalt blue stretch of Lake Michigan, up for sale. A billboard along the lakeshore drive promises: “Development Opportunity. Approximately 44 Acres.”

Archbishop Dolan hails from American Catholicism’s now-dominant conservative wing, which has grown stronger and more assertive during the past decade. Under his predecessor, Rembert G. Weakland, the Milwaukee archdiocese had a national reputation as a liberal Catholic outpost, where debate about doctrine was vociferous and to be gloried in. Many Catholics predicted a theological war upon the arrival of the new bishop. This did not materialize.

Obedient soldier of Rome though many say he is, Archbishop Dolan remains more politician than ideologue. He has not joined the American bishops who barred Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights from taking holy communion. And, with a notable exception or two, he has declined to ferret out the liberals in his midst.

There are, the archbishop told his priests by email two years ago, speakers who are “are ‘not my cup of tea’ but who will stay ‘within the boundaries,’ and I trust your judgment. We need dialogue.”

But, he warned, there are a few — like Daniel C. Maguire, the Catholic theologian and professor at Marquette University, in Milwaukee — who favor abortion rights and are “so radically outside church teaching that his appearance at any parish would be a grave scandal.”

William J. Thorn, a journalism professor at Marquette, has spoken often with Archbishop Dolan.

“He is what you would expect of an archbishop appointed by John Paul II,” he said. “ He is with Rome on the big issues and on the little ones. But he does not do it in a dictatorial fashion.”

In personal style, it is hard to imagine a sharper contrast between this affable bishop and the distant, often diffident man he will replace in New York, Cardinal Edward M. Egan.

Cardinal Egan declined to reveal much about church finances and clashed with his priests. Archbishop Dolan gets good grades from Catholic reformers for the transparency of his archdiocese’s finances, and takes pleasure in schmoozing with his priests, asking after their elderly parents. At day’s end he might invite a few to share a glass of whiskey at his residence, a converted barn on the grounds of a lakeside seminary.

One recent Sunday, the bishop participated in the Mass at St. Benedict the Moor, a liberal church in Milwaukee. As it ended, a white-haired parishioner, Chuck Boyle, 79, rose in the pews and challenged him to rethink the church’s opposition to ordaining women, a plea which the audience, including nine former priests and their wives, met with sustained applause.

The archbishop kept his poker face and did not respond. Fifteen minutes later, he worked the food line in the church basement before easing into a steel folding chair to chat. A woman inquired if he wanted milk with his coffee.

“I’d prefer a bit of Jameson’s,” he said. “But milk will do.”

Thirty blocks to the south, at St. Adalbert Church, the past and future of the Milwaukee archdiocese are on display. A sign outside the church lists the English-language Mass: 10 a.m. Sunday. On its opposite side is the Spanish-language schedule: 8 a.m., noon and 7 p.m. And on a recent Saturday, 900 or so Mexican worshipers — wives and husbands, babies in serapes, teenagers and small children — crowded the aisles for a 5 p.m. Spanish Mass.

Few churches in the archdiocese are as packed. For this the priest, the charismatic and barrel-chested Rev. Eleazar Perez Rodriguez, credits himself, his Mexican community, and not least his middle-aged, Irish-American bishop.

Unlike most churches, St. Adalbert’s keeps its doors open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., to suit intense devotees and irregular work schedules. The style of music and worship owes more to Oaxaca than Milwaukee. Congregants knock at Father Perez’s door day and night, and visitors often sit four deep in his antechamber.

“The church must understand and harness this community, and that hadn’t happened until Bishop Dolan came on the scene,” he said. “The bishop is kind of interesting; he doesn’t say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’, he just lets me work.”

When Archbishop Dolan arrived in Milwaukee, women and lay people occupied key positions, and he displeased some conservative supporters by leaving most in place. His chancellor, Barbara Anne Cusack, is a nationally respected canon lawyer. One of his auxiliary bishops spoke long ago in favor of ordaining woman.

The archbishop is no crusader. He speaks against abortion and the death penalty. When some parishes affiliated with a national organizing group and began pushing for a health insurance cooperative, he gave his blessing and kept his distance. Like Cardinal Egan, he seems wary that crusading could distract, not least from the fund-raising needed to keep the church afloat.

Nor is Archbishop Dolan known as a particularly sophisticated theologian; his homilies are homespun, often touching on baseball and football before turning to the importance of Christ as savior. At St. Benedict he delivered an affecting homily on the hopelessness and joy that can accompany those who care for the poor. But many priests say he lacks the lyricism and textual insight of a great homilist.

“He is no theologian,” said Professor Maguire, the Marquette theologian banned from speaking on archdiocesan property. “He is in keeping with church policy that theologians are to listen and obey. It turns theology into a form of magic, expertise without study.”

About the theatrics of his business, there is no doubt: the archbishop is a master. As he walks into church, head bowed, he peers here and there, seeking eye contact and flashing smiles. When he sings, his deep voice echoes loudest.

“I was at the vespers when he was installed at bishop,” recalled the Rev. Steven M. Avella, a history professor at Marquette. “And there’s a part where the bishop knocks on the door. Most do it timidly. Tap, tap. Not him — ‘Bang! Bang!’ ”

Father Avella laughed at the memory. “It echoed through the cathedral and let everyone know that Timothy Dolan was there.”

After Media-Savvy O’Connor, Egan Tackled Basics
By PAUL VITELLO for The New York Times
Published: February 23, 2009

He closed a budget gap, streamlined the payroll, eschewed wholesale layoffs, avoided scandal, kept a low profile, and occasionally played a Mozart piano sonata for guests at his home. Most C.E.O.’s with a record like that would make stockholders swoon.

Yet Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who will retire in April as head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, rarely evoked that kind of reaction during his nine years as steward of the church’s flagship diocese in the United States.

He was respected by some, feared and reviled by some; but in a way that made him more fully a New Yorker than any of his recent predecessors, Cardinal Egan, 76, was also a bit of a faceless stranger in the city.

Cultured, lawyerly and aloof — a tall, courtly man dressed in workaday black with the stiff gait of a childhood polio survivor — this archbishop and shepherd of 2.5 million Catholics in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and seven counties north of the city could walk down the street without attracting any attention at all. By contrast with his ubiquitous and media-savvy predecessor, Cardinal John J. O’Connor, he largely shunned politics and reporters, viewed the media juggernaut with tight-lipped sufferance, and preferred to slip now and again under the cover of his relative anonymity into an orchestra seat on the aisle at the Met.

As all bishops must when they turn 75, Cardinal Egan wrote to Pope Benedict XVI in April 2007, offering to retire. On Monday, the pope named his successor, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee, who will be formally installed on April 15; until then, the cardinal will serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

Cardinal Egan’s admirers praise him as a tough manager who made hard decisions in the aftermath of Cardinal O’Connor’s 16-year tenure, when the demographic landscape shifted beneath the church’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure yet few changes were made. Cardinal Egan closed schools and churches with dwindling attendance, and sold some prime properties for hefty profits, helping avoid the more severe shutdowns that have racked the archdioceses of Chicago and Boston, and the neighboring Diocese of Brooklyn.

But his critics saw him as an angry and imperious boss, more fluent in Latin and canon law than in human interaction. He faced periodic rebellions by some of his 500 priests, who complained of peremptory transfers and lack of dialogue. He crushed the uprisings, demanding public apologies. In his first major housecleaning after taking over in 2000, he assembled the teaching staff at the diocese’s seminary in Yonkers and, after formalities, read a list of names. Those not mentioned, he said, would not be employed in the next school year.

And even many admirers lament that during a historic period for the Catholic church in America, when a sexual abuse scandal and dwindling resources caused an unprecedented retrenchment, the pulpit in the media capital of the world was occupied by a priest known more for his administrative skills than his visceral grasp of the times in which he lived.

He made fervent statements in support of school vouchers and against abortion, but adopted a narrower focus than Cardinal O’Connor, who visited foreign countries and spoke on a wide range of public issues. In an interview with The New York Times in December, granted in anticipation of his retirement, Cardinal Egan replied with the painstaking sensibility of the canon lawyer that he is, when asked why he had avoided a broader role.

“If I were to be more involved in making statements of that kind I would have had to do that very accurately, and investigate everything I planned to say to make sure it was correct and proper,” he said. “I felt it was better to spend that time on what matters most — the parishes and schools of this diocese, the basic institutions.”

By his own account, and others’, that is pretty much what he did: tackle the basics.

He closed 23 schools, shuttered 10 parishes, merged 11 others and closed 3 mission churches;; he shed scores of employees from various diocesan departments.

But over all, many parish leaders said, he spared more than he culled by raising a lot of money. He revived a tax of 7 to 7.5 percent on parish collections that Cardinal O’Connor had suspended. He hired a fund-raising firm to turbocharge the annual Cardinal’s Appeal, which raised more than $17 million in each of the last several years. During his tenure the archdiocese sold nine major properties or air rights, for a total of about $107 million. And though he has released few details about the archdiocese’s finances, he says he retired the $48 million deficit he found when he arrived in 2000.

”He doesn’t get much credit for it, but I think his efforts to raise money made a big difference,” said Terry Golway, author of a biography of Cardinal O’Connor. ”The assumption when he arrived was that given the huge deficit O’Connor had left, Egan was going to have to shut down a much greater number of schools and churches than he did.”

In Boston, by comparison, the archdiocese closed more than 80 churches and as many schools in recent years. In Brooklyn, the diocese has closed almost 50 schools in just the last four years.

Why Cardinal Egan did not get much credit — or public affection — is a question of interest to a wide spectrum of observers, including the cardinal himself.

His answer, in part, is that it was his choice: He was never going to be a crowd-pleaser like Cardinal O’Connor, and never tried to be, he said. “I said right from the start: ‘I’m going to spend my time in the parishes. The media is not the reason we’re here.’ ”

In part, he said, it was the fault of his bete noire, the news media, which he blames for what he considers major distortions of his image: portraying him as a cool administrator rather than a passionate pastor who visited almost every one of the hundreds of churches and schools in the archdiocese, and casting him as a villain in the sex abuse scandal, which he believes American bishops handled as well as they could.

By most measures Cardinal Egan was a minor player in the scandal. As bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., in the 1990’s, he was criticized, like many prelates, for moving abusive priests from parish to parish. His unique contribution to the controversy was a legal strategy he devised there, claiming — unsuccessfully — that the church had no legal liability for the abuse because priests were “independent contractors,” not employees.

When the news of sexual abuse by priests exploded nationally in 2002, less than two years after Cardinal Egan arrived in New York, he was forced to revisit his actions in Bridgeport, radically revise reporting policies for accused priests in New York, and apologize for his past mistakes — albeit conditionally. “If in hindsight we discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry,” he said.

Some priests complained that after that, he swung from one extreme — of overprotecting his priests — to the other. Seventy-four priests signed a petition in 2003 accusing the cardinal of leaving more than a dozen accused clerics hanging out to dry, suspended without trials, in violation of church due-process rules. Another group of priests posted an anonymous letter online in 2006, calling him arrogant and vindictive.

In response, Cardinal Egan said his critics were merely doing the bidding of the sexual abusers among them — a sweeping reaction that some priests said only proved their complaints.

”He sensed that he needed to act ‘decisively’ and he did so,” said R. Scott Appleby, a professor of religious history at the University of Notre Dame who studies American Catholicism. “But his flaw as a leader was that he didn’t consider the impact his actions had on people, especially his priests. He was a brick-and-mortar guy.”

Friends, and some critics like Mr. Appleby, said that in social settings the cardinal can be charming and warm. His social skills are on display in spades among major donors at fund-raising events, where he is known for a relaxed joviality.

If that side of him rarely shone through in public, it may have been at least in part due to the timing of his arrival. Ask many public figures about him, and among the first words they utter are about his predecessor, Cardinal O’Connor.

“Egan is a decent man; he did a good job putting the finances in order,” said Edward I. Koch, the former mayor. “But his problem was that he wasn’t Cardinal O’Connor. The impact Cardinal O’Connor had on your soul, on your psyche — Egan was just a different sort of personality.”

Vexing as it might be to suffer by comparison with a predecessor, this was a predecessor who made no secret of disliking him.

In 1985, when Bishop Egan, a native of the Chicago area, was appointed an auxiliary bishop in the New York archdiocese after 14 years in Rome, Cardinal O’Connor famously sent his priests a letter explaining that Bishop Egan was not his choice, and that any one of them would have been just as qualified. In giving the toast at a dinner in Bishop Egan’s honor, Cardinal O’Connor proclaimed him “Chicago’s revenge on New York.”

In previous interviews, Cardinal Egan has brushed aside talk of the tension between him and his predecessor as “just nonsense.” And in the recent interview, he referred to Cardinal O’Connor only obliquely, saying he hoped his successor would be as different from him as he was from “the one before me.”

“That’s the beauty of this: a new person will inevitably bring his own point of view. That’s why we change presidents, and change presidents of school boards — and archbishops,” he said.

He will be the first archbishop in the 200-year history of the archdiocese not to die in office; and though once thought likely to return to Rome, where was at home in the rarified atmosphere of the Vatican, Cardinal Egan said he planned to stay put in retirement. “I am very fond of the city,” he said.

An apartment on 33rd Street between First and Second Avenues, in a luxury residential building under construction at the site of the demolished Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Church, is considered a “possible, if not probable” home for the retired cardinal, said the diocesan spokesman, Joseph Zwilling.

In the interview, Cardinal Egan repeatedly said his most important job as archbishop had been teaching the Gospel. He was asked which Gospel was his favorite.

“Most people, because of the way the press has tried to portray me as a money man, would think that I would like Matthew best” he said. “Because, you know, Matthew was the money changer, the tax collector.”

“But no!” he said, pausing to savor what to him seemed like a promising punch line. “My favorite of the Gospel writers is St. Luke.” He arched his eyebrows.

“St. Luke,” he said emphatically. “The healer — the compassionate physician.”
Tags: catholicism, family, hierarchy, milwaukee, nathaniel, new york times, sophia, travel

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.