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Surprising and Historic Vote: Archbishop Timothy Dolan Elected as President of United States Bishops Conference

By Deacon Keith Fournier
November 17th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.The gregarious, dynamic, orthodox and beloved Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, was elected to lead the Bishops of the U.S. 

BALTIMORE., MD. (Catholic Online) - In a surprising and historic turn of events, the Bishops of the United States, gathered in Baltimore, Maryland for their annual meeting, broke with the "custom" of the past, of electing the seated Vice president to succeed Francis Cardinal George whose term has expired.

Most pundits and ecclesial commentators strongly predicted Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson would be elected to succeed 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 - 111 votes or 54 - 46% 

Archbishop Timothy Dolan loves the Lord and the Church with an infectious enthusiasm borne of a sincere, living faith. Anyone who has been around him for any period of time experiences the obvious, he is filled with the joy of the Lord. He is also an evangelizer, to the bone. He has quickly become a significant personality on the Catholic Channel of the Sirius Radio Network. He is a man comfortable in his own skin, at ease with the use of the media, filled with the Holy Spirit, and eager to share the Gospel, as it is found in its fullness within the Catholic Church.

This dynamic Bishop began his challenging assignment of leading the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in June of 2002 by proclaiming those wonderful words of the late Venerable John Paul II, the words of the Angel to Our Lady, "Be Not Afraid" when he addressed the faithful. Any observer of the work of Bishops must attest that given the state of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee when he was appointed, Archbishop Dolan demonstrated his full palate of gifts and pastored with the heart of a true shepherd.

Wherever he serves, he is dearly loved by his priests and deacons. That is because he has a pastor's heart and knows the importance of a Bishop's relationship with his clergy. He is also a dynamic and inspiring communicator and solid teacher of the truths as taught by the Magisterium of the Church.Finally, he is a true leader, naturally and supernaturally.  

His pastoral and communications gifts - and full compliment of leadership skills - were applied immediately upon his appointment to the Archdiocese of New York, the second largest local Church in the United States. He leads the Archdiocese of New York - which the Holy See is purported to consider the "Capital of the World" - with a pastors heart, a teachers wisdom, and a courageous and faithful Bishops dedication to defending the fullness of truth found within the full communion of the Catholic Church.

This kind, evangelistic, joyful, "John Paul II" Bishop took the leadership of "Gotham City" and has done a tremendous job. He has been willing to fight the enemies of the Church, but he seems to have velvet gloves! He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them with the Love of God, making them friends.

At this critical time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, Archbishop Dolan's election to the office of President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is not only an historic turn of events, it is a sign of the Lord's continued guidance of the Church in the United States. The Catholic Church and the message of authentic freedom which she proclaims is the only hope for this age and every age.

The United States of America has become mission territory. The Church in the United States is in need of the "New Evangelization." Archbishop Timothy Dolan is a wonderful instrument of this New Evangelization, a trumpet in the hands of the Lord. He will proclaim in clarity, power and hope, those words which the Angel proclaimed to Mary and which are so identified with the late and beloved Venerable John Paul II, "Be Not Afraid".

Truly, God has not forgotten His people in the Church in the United States.This is a day for rejoicing!

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