Cardinal Timothy Dolan may have some fans in his native New York, but it doesn’t seem likely that he will be tapped to replace outgoing Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his surprising abdication earlier today. According to David Gibson, a longtime chronicler of the Catholic Church whose work includes a biography of Pope Benedict, Cardinal Dolan’s problem is simple: American citizenship.
“The United States still has this cultural, military and political footprint in the world,” he told Politicker this afternoon. “We’re Bigfoot, and to add the papacy to that American portfolio would potentially cause a good deal of resentment elsewhere in the world, where, frankly, there are a lot more Catholics.”
Earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly announced his abidcation–the first time a Pope has stepped down since 1415–setting the stage for the dramatic process of electing a new Vatican leader. And, although Congressman Michael Grimm doesn’t get a vote in that select process, the Staten Island lawmaker wants everyone to know he’s backing New York’s own Cardinal Timothy Dolan for the holy vocation.
“It is too early to determine the full extent of Pope Benedict’s legacy; however, New Yorkers will never forget the gift he gave us with the elevation of Cardinal Dolan,” Mr. Grimm announced in a statement. “Cardinal Dolan has lifted the spirits of Catholics and non-Catholics throughout New York and the world, and renewed the faith of many. If it were up to me to pick the next pope, Cardinal Dolan would have my vote!”
Congressman Michael Grimm burnished his Catholic credentials yesterday when he wrote a letter to Anthony Malkin, the president of the Empire State Building Company, calling for the building’s lights to glow red in honor of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s recent promotion.
The lights of the Empire State Building often change to mark significant occasions. For example, on February 28th they will turn green and blue in “honor of the National Eating Disorders Association and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week,” and on March 5th they will glow blue in “honor of the 125th Anniversary of Hearst Magazines.”