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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orthodoxy Prevails in Selection of U.S. Catholic Leader...

Archbishop Timothy Dolan
This may not be white smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican but for U.S. Catholics, it’s an important selection nonetheless; president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  

Today, the U.S. bishops shocked many religious and secular pundits by electing New York City Archbishop Timothy Dolan as their next leader over Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson.

Kicanas was the expected choice after serving as vice president of the ecclesiastical body during the past two years.  An article on Catholic Online states:

Most pundits and ecclesial commentators strongly predicted Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson would be elected to succed Cardinal George on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. In response to what they considered a foregone conclusion, a portion of the Catholic blogosphere was preparing to respond with anything but glowing acclamation.

Then, a surprise of the Holy Spirit occurred, demonstrating, once again, who is really in charge of His Church. At 9:40 A.M. the names of the nominees were placed on the screen and an explanation followed; if a majority is attained on the first ballot, then the election is over. If not, then there would be a second ballot. Such a situation is, according to some observers, almost unprecedented.

That was until Wednesday November 16, 2010. We seem to be living in a very "unpredictable" time, on so many fronts. On the first ballot, Bishop Kicanis failed to win a majority. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York surprised many with a very strong showing.

On the second ballot, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York won, but there was a need for a run off in order to meet the necessary majority. When the excitement subsided, the results were both unexpected and simply amazing; the gregarious, dynamic, orthodox and beloved Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, was elected to the Presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by 128 - 11 votes or 54 - 46%

Bishop Gerald Kicanas
This is the first time in recent history, since the 1960’s, that the vice president is passed over by the American bishops; a decision that apparently took some discernment.  There were many concerns raised about Kicanas, who was supported by many liberal-minded and dissident Catholics.  Blogger Thomas Peters writes:

Bishop Kicanas has a troubling reputation. The arch-liberal Father Thomas Reese has described Kicanas as “the leading liberal hope” among the progressive wing of the Church. And for this reason (and others noted below) I believe Bishop Kicanas is not the right choice to lead the bishops during these next two critical years.

What others have not written about but what I think is important to bring into the mix is the fact that Kicanas has a strong reputation for being a “Bernadin” bishop, in other words, a bishop in the mold of Cardinal Joseph Bernadin, famous for his close allegiance to progressive and liberal ideologies. This is not just a reputation, this is how it appears Bishop Kicanas has intentionally formed his Episcopal priorities since becoming a bishop.
Not surprisingly, the liberal Catholics at Commonweal Magazine and National Catholyc Reporter are adamant supporters of Bishop Kicanas. He is their kind of bishop, indeed probably one of the most liberal bishops in America. And all of this should set off warning alarms for those of us serious about continuing to rebuild orthodoxy in America.
Fortunately, orthodoxy prevailed.

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