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?



  • Greg Smith

    Dear all ~ My
    great hope for the new Holy Father is that early in his tenure’ he promulgates a ruling that it is incumbent upon
    every clergy, religious and lay staff who become aware of possible child abuse
    to immediately report it to the proper civil authority and THEN to the Church hierarchy.

    Even aside from his possible failings in the Milwaukie cases, I wonder if Cd. Dolan
    has it in him to do something like that. While his affability and sense of
    humor are a refreshing breeze, he seems to have been totally conventional in
    his approach to things in New York. His innovative idea of an all-out
    interfaith effort to reduce the abortion rate in NYC (40%!) seems to have been
    chucked over the side so he could focus on gay marriage and the HHS mandate.
    Popes grow and learn once in office. If elected, perhaps he will.

    I suppose the sad question the cardinal-Electors (Less Cdl. Mahoney I hope) will
    have to ask themselves is “Who among us is NOT tainted in any way by the

    Pax vosbiscum

    • abadilla

      And my hope is not no one who is tainted in any way will be elected to the papacy because the media will use that fact against the Church for years and years to come. Look at what they tried to do even to this saintly Pope because of his supposed involvement with a priest he supposedly did not remove in Munich when he was the Archbishop there. Whoever becomes the Pope mus be absolutely clean of any charges or the enemies of the Church will use the information to hit him over the head and erode his moral credibility.

      • Tom Crowe

        Good. Luck. finding such a man. Guilt by association is enough for the media. If they cannot contrive a way to smear the new pope they’ll smear anyone and everyone close to him whom they can dig up anything on, and by extension smear the pope.

        The enemies of the Church will continue to hit the Church over the head with it because it happened, regardless of who is in charge. Our duty is to move along baptizing the world, not letting that sort of thing happen again, and making it frightfully clear that that sort of thing will not happen again.

        We cannot beat the media at their own game and we will not get them to stop being who they are. But we can run a great ground game, showing more love to more people in more personal interactions making the media’s caricature seem as ridiculous as it actually is.

        • Grisha357

          Abadlla and Tom~ To my mind, the “media” is irellevant to this conversation. I say this despite that the Italian press has gotten all excited about the supposed “gay cabal” which caused the Pope to resign. We need to clean up our act for the sake of the Church, It’s perhaps impossible to sucessfully evangelize until this sad chapter of Church history is really put behind us.

          Cdl. O’Malley may be the man for the job.

          Pax, Greg

          • abadilla

            Greg, correct me if you must, but isn’t Cardinal O’Malley as shy as our present Pope?
            Now, I heard something interesting this week from John Allen, and that is that Cardinal O’Malley has said in the past he finds the burdens of his diocese in Boston too much for him to handle them. What would he do then handling the affairs of the entire universal Church?
            Allen also make the point that under Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI the Church began the process of the cleaning up of the Church from guilty priests and that he believes it will be up to the next Pope to clean up house with the bishops who covered up this scandal. Just know I’m paraphrasing Allen, not “quoting” the man. I make this clarification to be fair to the man.

        • abadilla


          I agree with you, the media will smear anyone but I wasn’t off the mark since John Allen who stays at the Vatican made the same point you made and he believes there are many Cardinals, including papabili, who have no history of covering up for pedophiles.

          “The enemies of the Church will continue to hit the Church over the head with it because it happened, regardless of who is in charge. Our duty is to move along baptizing the world, not letting that sort of thing happen again, and making it frightfully clear that that sort of thing will not happen again.”
          In full agreement but just as I defend the Church here on CV I also do it with my students and wherever the Church is attacked in my presence.
          Just this weekend I was at a restaurant and questions came up about the next conclave and about the Church. They were not attacking the Church but it was obvious to me they didn’t know much about it. I explained the papal elections and some papal history and everyone at the table seem to have enjoyed the conversation. To me it was more than a conversation, it was an opportunity to practice apologetics.
          Watch the media speculate about the next Pope next week, and they know about Church matters what I know about football, nothing!

          • GREG SMITH

            Hi Abadilla ~ As far a Alan’s comment on Cdl. O’Malley feeling overburdened, haven’t we all felt overwhelmed with our responsibilities but g received a second wind and carried on? As we discuss this, the evidence is great that the Vatican is infested with little Borgia wannabes who are impeding Building the Kingdom. Do we need an old Vatican hand who knows the ins and outs there or a “New Sheriff” who can clean house? The latter would argue for a “Brash American” I’d go for Cdl. Dolan, however he carries a taint from his last post. If not Cdl. O’Malley, whom would you vote for? ~ Greg

  • downtowner

    Dolan is a progressive’s wet dream as pope.

    • Tom Crowe

      Erm… ok.



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