Dolan.? The times and his contributions suggest it.

Cardinal-cardinalThe Holy Spirit will guide the conclave. Period. No doubt at all.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a peek at the signs of the times. I believe some of the signs point toward Cardinal Dolan.

John White wrote about this earlier tonight, but there’s more to the chatter than he touched on.

The notion of a pope from the United States would have been laughable when Benedict was elected in 2005. This is not 2005. Things have changed considerably, and one man has made it more possible (not necessarily likely, but possible) that an American could be elected to the See of Peter.

That one man? It’s not Cardinal Dolan. On his own he would continue to be the force-of-nature cardinal archbishop of New York, but would still have no chance at the papacy.

No, the one man who has made it possible for an American to have a chance is Barack Obama.

Religious liberty, culture-of-death here at home and abroad, gay “marriage,” women in combat roles, drone wars… The man basically embodies the “dictatorship of relativism” that then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about in his homily at the Mass before the conclave that made him Benedict XVI.

The lasting changes Obama has brought to this country have made it far more possible that an American could be elected. In 1978 the Kremlin shuddered when the cardinal archbishop of Krakow, the young, charismatic, dynamic, Karol Josef Wojtyla was elected pope and sparked the cultural revival in Poland that ended Communist rule.

The effect on American Catholicism would also be epic if Dolan were elected. It would also be more problematic for the White House than they may realize at present.

On that score, Dolan would be an interesting choice, but that’s just one rather shallow level—there are plenty of regions of the world with conflict that would be fundamentally altered if one of their own were elected pope—Middle East, Egypt, China(!), Africa.

More tellingly, perhaps, are the address on The New Evangelization which Dolan was tapped to give to the college of cardinals the day before he was made a cardinal almost exactly one year ago, and the book he published toward the end of his time as rector of the North American College in Rome, Priests for the Third Millenium. This book was one of the first I purchased and read about the priesthood after I was accepted to seminary in 2005.

An invitation to address the college of cardinals is no small honor in itself. But what an address it was. The address (text here) is a tour-de-force of what it means to be a man of the Church in the era of the New Evanglization. He gives seven points concerning what is necessary, the last being preparedness to shed one’s blood for the Church. His characteristic humor and light touch are on full display. I highly recommend you read it.

The book he penned is a compilation of virtues and characteristics that a priest of the New Evangelization must possess. Each chapter was delivered to the men at the North American College as a rector’s conference during his time there and all are based in real-world experiences of living in this era of faith.

Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of reltivism” homily apparently led a number of cardinals to vote for him in the conclave, deciding that he was correct in his assessment and only he could lead the Church into that era.

Will Dolan’s New Evangelization address and excellent book be the items that make him the natural choice for the next phase of Church history?



  • Abe Conner

    I don’t doubt that Cardinal Dolan has a lot of savvy, but I think Cardinal Burke would be a most wonderful choice. Cardinal Dolan’s attendance at that roast was scandalous. Yes, Jesus ate with sinners with the admonition to “sin no more”. Cardinal Dolan was simply yukking it up with the POTUS and having a jolly ol’ time. I detected no teaching moment. The POTUS had Cardinal Dolan in his back pocket.

    • Tom Crowe

      Right, and Obama wrote the prayer Dolan delivered at the Democrat National Convention.

      • abadilla

        No Tom, Obama did not write the prayer because he claims he is a Christian but golf is preferable to him than going to a church service. As for the prayer, it could have been done by any cardinal and I still remember Cardinal Dolan saying Obama could not be disinvited to Notre Dame because that would have been disrespectful. Disrespectful? What kind of respect does Obama pay to 55 million unborn babies?
        But I repeat, as soon as the Camerlengo says, “Habemus Papam, His eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan who has taken the name,,,, “I will accept him as our new Pope.

        • Tom Crowe

          Well I’ll hazard the assumption that Dolan’s point vis-a-vis the Notre Dame invite was that Obama should never have been invited in the first place, but once Jenkins invited a man full-well known to be so anti-thetical to most everything the Church stands for, he had made his bed: lie in it.

          • abadilla

            Tom, Archbishop Chaput and others were firm in their opposition to Obama speaking at Notre Dame and Dolan’s “rebuke” was as mild as Obama’s condemnation of China. It is attitudes like that one that allowed a Jesuit institution like Georgetown to cover its crucifix so a speaker would not be offended, and it is that kind of attitude that allowed Miss Fluke to publicly announced she came from Georgetown and that she wanted the tax payers of America to buy her contraceptives.

    • abadilla

      I share your views on Cardinal Burke but I have not seen his name among the papabili but then again, I never saw Albino Luciani’s name and he became John Paul I and I never heard Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, and he became a giant who governed us for 26 years as John Paul II. I never thought Joseph Ratzinger would become the Pope because of the flaming liberals who gave a lot of votes to Martini and clearly favored him, yet, we got the blessing of a Benedict XVI and I had tears on my eyes today as he said his last Angelus to a vast crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

  • Greg B.

    Wow. You posted this on the very same day that Dolan was being deposed regarding his potential involvement in the cover up of child molestation by priests. One word: Unfkngingbelievable!

    • tranxtian

      Amen to that.

    • Tom Crowe

      Pure coincidence, I assure you. But you certainly can take the jaundiced view in every situation if you like.

  • Elizabeth

    Good Lord, I pray they don’t elect Cardinal Dolan.

    • Greg B.

      Cardinal Dolan can’t comment right now a he’s giving a deposition on his role in covering up child rape.

      • Elizabeth

        I hadn’t heard about that. Where did you read that?

        • Greg B.
          • Elizabeth

            Thanks, Greg. Well, that’s an issue all on its own. On the one hand, it’s the NY Times so I can expect that the information is slanted. However, clearly the Cardinal was indeed deposed for 3+ hours.

            But even leaving this out, he would never, ever, be my pick if I were to have one. The only Cardinal (other than Dolan) that I know anything much about is Cardinal Burke but I can’t help but think he’d be awesome. But what do I know?

          • Greg B.

            The fact that it’s being reported in the NY Times is irrelevant. But there are dozens of other sources reporting the same.

          • Elizabeth

            Greg, I think I didn’t express myself clearly. I didn’t mean that it’s irrelevant or that maybe I didn’t believe the NYT story. I just meant that even before hearing this new information, I would never have wanted him for our new Holy Father. Shudder at the thought.

          • abadilla

            You know Elizabeth, I don’t know why have to defend ourselves. That’s our choice, we give our reasons, and that’s it. Now, I don’t care if the man is endorsed even by the present Pope, I still disagree but if chosen, as I have written repeatedly, I will presume the Holy Spirit had something to do with it and I will respect that decision.

          • Elizabeth

            Thank, Abadilla. Yes, I will also respect the choice of the Cardinals guided by the Holy Spirit, God willing. I am praying for a strong, holy, lion of a man who sees clearly the devastating state of the Church and acts decisively and swiftly (by the Vatican’s standards) to right the ship. By the way, thanks for the mention of Thomas Becket and that particular quote of his. I don’t believe that it’s too much to ask that we may be blessed with a new Vicar of Christ after the heart of St. Thomas of Cantebury.

          • abadilla

            Hi. Elizabeth, Yes, like you I don’t think it is wrong or even anti-pastoral to take firm stands on so many problems we face today. The Church needs a strong Pope to guide it through this sea of secular humanism, this culture of death, this sick pagan Western society that worries more about animals and trees than about the dignity of the unborn. I too dream of having a St. Thomas a Becket or a Cardinal Mindszenty on the Chair of Peter, but I will accept whoever the Holy Spirit and the Cardinals choose as the next Successor of Peter.
            Did you see our Holy Father giving his last blessing from the balcony of the papal apartments today before a huge crowd? It was something to see and feel sad about it.

      • Tom Crowe

        That’s a more-than-uncharitable take on what’s going on there.

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  • abadilla

    I wish I could share your enthusiasm for Cardinal Dolan but I can’t.
    The man has remained silent while Cuomo does as he pleases in New York. Cardinal Dolan has chastised the President because of the HH Mandate and had us all demonstrating in public against it, and then he had dinner with the man at the White House. Yes he is very personable and I have no doubt that if elected to the papacy Omama might fear him a bit, but Obama needs a roaring lion to confront him and I don’t see the Cardinal in that role.
    Having written this, as soon as the Cardinals elect the new Pope, whoever he might be, I will take it as a sign that I must accept him because the Holy Spirit, primarily, chose him.

    • Tom Crowe

      You might note, for starters, that the legislature of New York had something to do with it—it wasn’t just Cuomo. This means many people were involved and many more people voted them into office. That’s a larger problem that extends to many NY diocese not called New York. Also, it is possible that the cardinal was doing far more than you realize behind the scenes. The Al Smith Dinner (if that’s what you were talking about) was not at the White House and I defer to his reasons for extending the invitation. Obama does not need a roaring lion to confront him—was John Paul II a roaring lion or a meek lamb humbly, but boldly, proclaiming the truth, to whom all manner of people flocked as their shepherd, when he returned to Poland? It’s the long game, friend. The Church plays the long game, which benefits from a measured, but always uncompromising, approach.

      • abadilla

        Tom, All I said is that I am in disagreement with Dolan and I gave my reasons for that which you obviously don’t share and that’s O.K.
        I am more at home with the manner in which O’Connor acted in New York when confronted with evil, whether it came from the legislature, a single public offcial or both.
        As for the Al Smith Dinner, obvioulsy you defered to him and his reasons. I don’t and never will. I remember from the movie “Becket” when it came out and he was told not to defend the Church because he might lose the battle and he replied, “the kingdom of God must be defended just like any other kingdom,” and I believed he was right, and he paid with his life for such a defense. Cardinal Dolan, at the most, would face criticism if he openly told Cuomo one can’t be a good Catholic and do what he is doing. Yes Tom, the Cardinal might be working behind the scenes but the people of God only see that which is public and that’s why I admired O’Connor, because he was not afraid to confront evil in public.
        Your asked me if I consider John Paul II “a roaring lion” and I did. Why? I believe he and Reagan brought communism to its knees. I still remember his speeches here in the United States when he confronted Teresa Kane and the issue of the ordination of women and abortion very publicly. That’s why I do consider him to have been a “roaring lion.” I still remember him when he confronted the communist Nicaraguan government openly and yes, even defiantly. I was in Costa Rica watching the whole incident on T.V. and walked with thousands of Costa Ricans to meet the Pope at the airport as he came back from Nicaragua to apologize for the way the Nicaraguan communists had treated the Vicar of Christ.
        I don’t see the “uncompromising approach” in Cardinal Dolan, but like I wrote, if the Holy Spirit chooses him to lead the Church, I will accept him.

        • Tom Crowe

          You’re also comparing a thumbnail snapshot to a couple of fully-formed legacies, which may be a little unfair. What did you think of Cardinal Dolan’s prayer offered at the end of the Democrat National Convention?

          • abadilla

            Beware when everyone is on one’s side and one is too popular, whether he is a Cardinal, a President or a Prime Minister. Basically I don’t trust him and I have my reasons which I thought I was free to express here as much as you have expressed yours.
            Now, if I were to say, “I don’t care if he becomes a saint, I will never accept him,” then you and others would have an issue with me. As it is, whenever the new Pope is announced by the Camerlengo, I will accept whatever decision was made by the College of Cardinals.
            When Joseph Ratzinger became the Pope I thought I was dreaming. After all, he was not a popular man because of the position he had held under John Paul II. He was and is orthodox and a tremendous theologian, so I was pleased. When Blessed John Paul II was elected I didn’t know what to expect of the man because I knew nothing about him. When Albino Luciani became John Paul I I knew nothing about him. All I knew is that his smile was contagious, period, but I have never rejected a Pope once he is elected. In any case I always go back to Pius XII because he is among all the Popes, my favorite Pope. I even wear a medal with his image. What else would you and others like me to say?
            As for his eminence’s prayer at that pagan convention, fine, I did like it, but I also know the delegates could care less about what he had to say or the unborn. Sandra Fluke was the big star begging for her contraception and God was ignored.
            Look Tom, I live in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and everyone says wonderful things about the present Archbishop, not me, I’m still waiting for drastic changes to take place in this Archdiocese. Perhaps that’s not his style, but I believe any new Archbishop here needs a big broom to take care of the dirt accumulated here since the death of Cardinal Timothy Manning.

          • Tom Crowe

            I’m not saying you can’t express your opinions—goodness knows you and I are usually on the same side of issues and I very much appreciate your input—but I am responding to your opinions when I deem appropriate. Fair?

            I’m not *rooting* for Cardinal Dolan or any other candidate. My post simply proposed a possible reason why this man in particular could be chosen. You have your reasons not to want him to be selected. Okay, fine.

            My response to what you have expressed about Dolan (and about Gomez, now that you mention him) is, “all progress is incremental, not all increments are progress.” The damage was not done overnight; the fix cannot happen overnight. The Church takes the long view. Neither you nor I may like this, but it is a fact that we have to live with.

          • shadylady

            yea–we ALL have the right to express our opinions..even you seems to me after all of the negative baggage (sex-scandals & money discrepancies),that america has had..,i would think an AMERICAN pope would be the last to be considered.

          • Slats

            Tom (and Abadilla), Bishop Robert Finn has of course been tragically (but rightfully) disgraced and discredited for his imprudence in the Shawn Ratigan affair, but, lest we forget, prior to that, Bp. Finn had successfully executed a then-heretofore new strategy for cleaning up a modernist diocese. Instead of waiting years and years or moving step-by-step, he essentially cleaned out the whole mess overnight. Opponents of the Deposit of the Faith would characterize his methodology as “ruthless,” which is a ringing endorsement. Had Finn also applied the same rigor to the protection of children, he would probably be archbishop of Chicago right now.

            My point is, Finn’s methodologies in cleaning up a horrific ecclesiastical mess (i.e. apostatic Church leadership) are not reasonably connected to his failure to protect children. His pre-Ratigan policies broke the mold in terms of doctrinal clean-up in the United States. After Finn, there’s no excuse for any U.S. Catholic ordinary to fail to have the leadership of his diocese doctrinally corrected within about two years. None.

          • abadilla

            “I’m not saying you can’t express your opinions—goodness knows you and I are usually on the same side of issues and I very much appreciate your input—but I am responding to your opinions when I deem appropriate. Fair?”

            Yes, you and I are on the same page 99% of the time, and that’s why I have been so surprised at your reaction and your writing on this issue when I have already explained my reasons for taking such a position. I’m not the type of Catholic who pulls an opinion out of a hat, but normally I have opinions based on objective information. People are free to disagree on that information and on my understanding of that information, and I have written clearly that is perfectly O.K.

            “I’m not *rooting* for Cardinal Dolan or any other candidate. My post simply proposed a possible reason why this man in particular could be chosen. You have your reasons not to want him to be selected. Okay, fine.”
            Sorry if I misunderstood you, but your posting on the Cardinal did sound to me like you were “rooting” for him and I simply gave my reasons why I don’t share that opinion.
            I know the Church thinks in terms of centuries and we live short lives in comparison, but did you think that after 600 years we were going to have a papal resignation? I didn’t. Did you think than an Archbishop was going to publicly admonish a Cardinal? I didn’t. Did you think that a non-Italian would be elected Pope in the 20th Century? I didn’t. Did you think Communism would die in our life time? I didn’t.

        • Elizabeth


  • naturgesetz

    “The Holy Spirit will guide the conclave. Period. No doubt at all.”

    Is this a new development, or has every Pope been just the person the Holy Spirit wanted in the office at the time?

    I have said that I think Cardinal Dolan could be an excellent spokesperson for the New Evangelization. He would show the Church as open and inviting to all, just as John Paul I did during his month as Pope. Maybe that is what we need.

    • Tom Crowe

      I wonder if your question is loaded. If so, I can both affirm I believe the answer is “yes,” while acknowledging that there have been “bad” popes, and not risk a contradiction. After all, the Holy Spirit was involved in the trials and travails of the Israelites and for the selection of Judas Iscariot. Punishment can be a great mercy.


        The other day, John Allen posted some interesting comments from Ratzinger himself on this matter:

        “Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

        I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

        Then the clincher:

        There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

        • Tom Crowe

          True ‘dat.



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