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!”
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced “Timothy Cardinal Dolan Week” in a statement this afternoon, additionally proclaiming One World Trade Center had agreed to turn its lights red in honor of the latest holy New Yorker to rise into the Vatican ranks.
Congressman Michael Grimm had previously petitioned One World Trade Center to do the exact same thing for Cardinal Dolan for a week at the end of February, an idea so nice that apparently it’s happening twice.
Federal money from a little known grant to combat drug crimes was used to spy on Muslim neighborhoods in and around NYC.
Ray Kelly says he won’t apologize for keeping the city safe, and Mike Lupica says he shouldn’t have to.
Irish-American Lawmakers decided against making newly-installed Cardinal Timothy Dolan their guest of honor at an upcoming Albany dinner due to the church’s views on social issues like gay marriage.
Andrew Cuomo skipped the National Governor’s Association annual meeting in order to honor Dolan Saturday night.
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.”
Church and State
One Friday earlier this month, elected officials, activists and advocates were planning a big sign-waving, high-energy press conference and rally on the steps of City Hall to protest the Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding for Planned Parenthood. After a national outcry, Komen changed course, but the presser went on as planned.
It was something of a desultory affair: A Friday afternoon, cold, gray skies overhead, the pigeons on the stoop far outnumbering the number of shivering press who gathered there, mostly at the behest of assignment editors who hadn’t gotten the memo that the battle was over. Only three elected officials even bothered to show up.
Fast forward two weeks: The Obama administration announced a plan to require religious institutions to provide contraceptive coverage. Amid another uproar, some of the region’s highest-profile conservative politicians tried to one-up their counterparts, planning a rare presser, just as Sunday Mass was letting out, on the glittering steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral—the home parish of Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the man who almost single-handedly stopped the president’s initiative.
Earlier today President Barack Obama announced a compromise on a feature of his health care bill that would prohibit religious institutions from denying their employees insurance coverage for birth control. Under the new plan, will be able to get free contraception directly from health insurance companies.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who helped spark the firestorm of protest on the matter, sent out a statement today announcing that they were “studying” the White House’s “movement on religious liberty.”
The release noted that it was “too soon to tell whether and how much improvement on core concerns.”
Archbishop Timothy Dolan put up a long blog post yesterday offering some final thoughts on New York’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage in which he makes reference to last weekend’s New York Times Magazine profile of Dan Savage and worries of a future in which polygamy may be the norm.