Cardinal Dolan…Pope?

Habemus Gotham?

Is it possible?

According to this story, the New York prelate’s name is being mentioned with increasing frequency in Rome, as cardinals from around the globe begin arriving for the official farewell of Pope Benedict XVI next week.

Of course, speculation is just that – speculation.  Nonetheless, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is reporting that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, one of the most seasoned and influential members of the College of Cardinals, is quietly promoting Dolan as a possible choice in the upcoming conclave.

Cardinal Dolan himself of course has displayed his usual humility and good humor, and responded to inquiries with typical candor:

You know, listen, all the cardinals are really embarrassed to talk about that, and we’d be uncomfortable talking about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

Of course, the conventional wisdom has held that the cardinals will not elect an American out of a reluctance to see a “super-power papacy.”  Moreover, Cardinal Dolan has only been a cardinal for a year, an historically very short time in the College to be seriously considered.

Young, full of energy and boundless joy, from an unlikely country…

Nah, can’t happen.



  • naturgesetz

    It is really discouraging to see the “hate the hierarchy” squad piling on Cardinal Dolan because he doesn’t do everything just the way they would like. This disrespect for our bishops tears the church apart and is, IMO, the work of Satan sowing seeds of disunity and dissent.

    • Janet Baker

      No, it is the lack of resolve on the part of so many bishops to stand up to power that is the true culprit behind the disunity.

      • abadilla

        I fully agree and just because we are critical, that does not mean we “hate” or disparage leaders because we disagree with them.
        Since 1985 I always felt Cardinal Mahony was not good for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Recent events has proven me right, but I never stood in front of his catedral and shouted obscenities at the man simply because I disagreed and disagree with him. I did not lower myself to that point out of deference for the fact that he was my bishop, but there is nothing in Catholic teaching that says we must all be in full agreement with every bishop and what he does or say.

        • chris scanlan

          This is going to sound rash and foolish, but there are certainly times where I wish they would stop hiding behind their tax-exempt status and just say what needs to be said. No more pandering or speaking in subtleties, but actually calling out folks who are in the wrong. But who am I kidding, no one would risk the drop in fundraising and losing the precious tax-exempt status in order to preach the gospel more fully and more forcefully.

          • abadilla

            Don’t worry Chris, folks here do not have a problem in sounding harsh and neither do I.
            You are right, the tax exempt status is hurting the Church because it doesn’t allow the Catholic Church to tell the government where to go with its pagan ideas.

    • abadilla

      I see no disrespect nor hierarchy hatred but strong disagreement among Catholics. What would be unfortunate, is if the man gets elected and is then rejected by those of us who are critical of him.
      You stated that we “hate the hierarchy,” right? Does that include being critical of Cardinal Mahony and not wanting him at the conclave or is that somethng some Catholics can air in a Catholic forum?
      It is surpring to read these words coming from you because you have always been very careful in not casting aspersions on others who disagree with you.

      • naturgesetz

        I was responding to some of the comments about Card. Dolan in the context of much that I see posted on the web by people who are unhappy with actions (or inactions, as the posters see it) of various bishops. Actually the comments on Cardinal Dolan are mild compared to some others, but they still fit the pattern of, “He did or didn’t do X, and this proves that he’s unfit to shepherd God’s people.” I think too many people go beyond feeling that a certain bishop has made an unwise decision in a particular and extrapolate it into proof that the man is a heretic, or unfit for office. The faithful are called to be united with their bishop. We all need to realize that there are lots of judgment calls that have to be made, that a bishop deals with things as a pastor on a case by case basis, that his responsibility is to gather the flock, not scatter them.

        Getting down to specifics: the Al Smith Dinner is hardly the be-all and the end-all of Cardinal Dolan’s episcopacy. To make it the touchstone of whether he should be Pope shows, IMO a serious lack of proportion. To speak of the possibility his being “rejected by those of us who are critical of him,” is a truly shocking display of a schismatic mindset. TO even contemplate such a possibility for oneself seems to me to be the height of arrogance: “I know better than the cardinal electors what is good for the Church. Not only can I think that their choice is not the best they could have made, but I am entitled to reject the one they choose.” That is not the attitude of a true Catholic. It is the attitude of a Catholic in name only, who sets him- or herself in judgment over the Church.

        As for Cardinal Mahony — that’s a different matter. To say that it would be in poor taste for him to participate in the conclave is very different from the sorts of things that are being said about Card. Dolan. I agree, it would be great if he found that he had a dental hygienist appointment which meant he couldn’t go to Rome. But if he does go, it won’t be worth fulminating over.

        • abadilla

          ” I think too many people go beyond feeling that a certain bishop has made an unwise decision in a particular and extrapolate it into proof that the man is a heretic, or unfit for office.”

          You made a comment on Cardinal Bertone which was not necessarily very kind but I don’t dare accuse you or even imply you hate our hierarchy because you voiced your opinion on that particular Cardinal.

          John Allen spoke to thousands of catechists and high school Theology teachers this weekend regarding the next papal elections and he talked about possible replacements to Pope Benedict XVI but I don’t think of the man as hating the hierarchy for his criticisms.

          Schismatic mindset, arrogance? Wow. Maybe I should have told John Allen to shut up in order not to be accused of having a schismatic mindset or being arrogant?

          We can’t judge the minds and hearts our bishops or Cardinals, only God can, but we can certainly opined about their actions. A few months ago the Holy See told the Pontifical Catholic University of Perú after 30 years, it is no longer “Catholic” nor “Pontifical.” The Cardinal Archbishop of Lima Perú, received a letter from the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Müller, telling him he had to admit theology teachers in that institution. Cardinal Bertone, who had stripped the university of its titles and forbidden theology professors to teach at that university overturned Archbishop Müller and told the Cardinal Archbishop of Perú he was correct in denying permission for Catholic professors to have a Catholic faculty in a university declared non Catholic and non Pontifical by none other than Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bertone, his Secretary of State. Normally I don’t care for Bertone like you do, but I think in this instance he was correct in overturning the CDF’s Prefect{s decision since it was not within his competency to do so. Now, am I wrong to make such judgnments as a lay Catholic?

          “As for Cardinal Mahony — that’s a different matter. To say that it would be in poor taste for him to participate in the conclave is very different from the sorts of things that are being said about Card. Dolan. I agree, it would be great if he found that he had a dental hygienist appointment which meant he couldn’t go to Rome. But if he does go, it won’t be worth fulminating over.”
          Well, he is a Prince of the Church and an Emeritus Cardinal who, according to Archbishop Gómez, is still a bishop in “good standing.”
          Now, as a teacher, if I were to commit such crimes I would be in jail and I presume not in “good standing” with Holy Mother Church. Furthermore, you should have heard some folks defending the man at the Congress of Religious Ed, where I have been for the past three days.
          You and I are on the same page on Mahony and Saturday he testified in court and my hope is the authorities talke away his passport so he won’t be electing a new Pope, but that is just my fantasy.

  • JohnE

    Skip the cardinals, pick Archbishop Chaput. Very rare, but so is a pope resigning.

    • abadilla

      And Archbishop Chaput would be incredible. I fully agree with your assessment of him.

      • Paul Sadek

        Amen, amen! I’ve been praying for Archbishop Chaput to receive the red hat for years so that he would at least be in the running!

        • abadilla

          And it is almost as if the man were invisible in Rome. I don’t get it. He is a wonderful Archbishop!

  • chris scanlan

    Many of the negative comments involve a particular instance, namely, the Al Smith dinner. Now I find it difficult to believe that Cardinal Dolan’s appearance somehow disqualifies him. There must be an ulterior motive behind this view. I’ve also seen it written that he may be a poor decision because he didn’t excommunicate those “catholics” that openly disregard the teaching of the church, especially in the instances of Abortion and contraception. Now do I wish a stronger stance be taken against those that do not follow the Church and do so publicly? Absolutely. But that is the fault of the laity as much as the hierarchy. I don’t blame one person for the state of the Church in the US.

    And on the dinner, I can accept that many view his actions as imprudent, but i do not understand why some claim that he has committed some egregious error that should prevent him from even being considered as successor to St. Peter. And as I mentioned in another comment, even Pope Benedict XVI opened his doors to President Obama, yet I did not hear an outcry that BXVI should refuse him. So what makes the Al Smith the deal breaker for so many. What am I missing?

    • toddyo1935

      There were some folks in Jerusalem that were upset that Jesus dined with gluttons and winebibbers. Gotta do what you gotta do. That’s class. I’d have punched that that that… oh well.

  • Karen Pansegro

    As a Catholic of a conservative political viewpoint, it pains me to see some of my fellow Catholics playing “more Catholic than thou,” just as in politics some play “more conservative than thou.” And as much fun as speculating may be, I’m with Fr. George Rutler on this one. In his weekly homily he said, “As Lent is a time of abstinence, it would be good to abstain from the vain speculations of the media and self-appointed “experts” inside the Church and out, who see these things with merely human eyes.” I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone, and to keep from losing charity, I will resist coming back to look.

  • chasso

    I don’t have a problem with him having dinner with Obama, but I do have a problem with him not publicly excommunicating so-called catholics like Cuomo, Sebelius, Biden, etc. that have shown themselves time and time again to be enemies of the Church.

    • abadilla

      To be fair to the man, he can only excommunicate those “Catholics” who belong in his diocese.

  • Abe Conner

    Cardinal Burke would be a much better choice that Cardinal Dolan. The Al Smith Dinner was a huge scandal and all the shallow press corps gleaned was that Cardinal Dolan was cozying up to Obama. There was no teaching moment. And contrary to what another poster writes, Obama is in the same league as Hitler with his promotion of infanticide and abortion. The slaughter continues and now, because of Obama, on our “dime”. Like the gas chambers, it is a hidden evil.

    • abadilla

      “Cardinal Burke would be a much better choice that Cardinal Dolan.”
      I fully agree but it won’t happen if we want an “engaging” man and not a St. Thomas a Becket who fought for principle.

    • abadilla

      I just heard John Allen giving an assessment of the next conclave and the name of Burke did not even come up. Yes, the name of Cardinal Dolan came up but he sees an American cardinal as a long shot to become a Pope.

    • Ncramblit

      I agree completely.



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