Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has been in the local NY news quite a bit. He was recently elevated to the rank of Cardinal, putting him in the elite leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. The main thing the Cardinals do is elect the next pope from their ranks when the current one dies.
Dolan is a refreshing change from Cardinal Egan in terms of personality. Egan seemed somewhat dour and aloof, plus he wasn’t liked by some in the Archdiocese. He had to make some tough and unpopular decisions regarding closing schools and churches, which didn’t endear him to some.
You can’t help but like Dolan. He is genuinely pleasant, is available to the media, and just seems like a really nice guy. Even if he has to make more tough decisions, I think people will be more forgiving because of his personality. As head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and their spokesman, he is getting a lot of national publicity, especially regarding his criticism of the Obama plan to require Catholic organizations to pay for and provide contraception for employees. He is articulate and presents his position well.
I’d love to see him elected pope some day. After all, the U.S. probably has more Catholics than any other country, and most of our Catholics are active. Italy, France, and other European countries may claim to be Catholic, but most of the people are not practicing. Their churches are essentially museums, with worship attendance very low. Much of Europe is now post-Christian, so calling these countries Catholic is a stretch (except for Poland, which takes its religion seriously). Dolan seems to be on the fast track, so who knows?