Monday, February 23, 2009

Hierarchy update

The worst kept secret in the world was finally made public today, His Excellency, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, was named by the Holy Father to succeed His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, as archbishop of New York. Someone who was charged with keeping a pontifical secret on this one surely earned the penalty of excommunication! Archbishop Dolan is an outstanding choice for what is truly one of the most important bishoprics in the world. The 59 year-old Dolan, is a native of St. Louis, the diocese for which he was ordained a priest and where he was made an auxiliary bishop to then-archbishop of St. Louis, Justin Rigali, before being installed as the tenth archbishop of Milwaukee in 2002. He is also the former rector of the North American College in Rome.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Dolan is a gregarious man, like the late, great John Cardinal O'Connor. While a very charismatic, smart, and media-friendly prelate (much like JPII), O'Connor was not much of an administrator (also like JPII). So, when O'Connor passed away, the archdiocese was in serious debt and running unsustainable annual deficits. Cardinal Egan deserves a lot of credit for his years in New York, appreciation that he is not likely to receive. Given the situation he inherited, Cardinal Egan did the necessary work of eliminating the deficits and paying down the debt. This meant making many difficult and unpopular decisions. His Eminence did not shrink from the task. As a result, he took many spears and arrows. Most of these he absorbed without complaint. The only time he expressed himself publicly was when an anonymous open letter written by some disgruntled priests created a huge public flap. Understandably, he had to assert himself against what can only be described as calumny. To his credit, he did not try to be John O'Connor. Cardinal Egan's successor will reap many benefits from his completion of many thankless tasks.

With the appointment of Archbishop Dolan, there are now five vacant dioceses in the U.S.: Biloxi, Mississippi; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Duluth, Minnesota; Oakland, California; Owensboro, Kentucky. There are also two vacant archdioceses, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and St. Louis, Missouri.

With the Holy Father's acceptance of Cardinal Egan's resignation, the number of archbishops and bishops currently serving beyond the mandatory retirement age (i.e., bishops whose resignations the Holy Father has not accepted) remains at eleven:

Archbishops Hughes of New Orleans, LA; Curtiss of Omaha, NE; Brunett of Seattle, WA.

Bishops: D'Arcy of Ft. Wayne/South Bend, IN; Murray of Kalamazoo, MI; Moynihan of Syracuse, NY; Tafoya of Pueblo, CO; Cullen of Allentown, PA: Higi of Lafayette in Indiana, Carmody of Corpus Christi, TX; Peña of Brownsville, TX.

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