Jabbing at Conservative Catholic Church in Profile of "Obedient Soldier of Rome"
Michael Powell's "Man in the News" profile Tuesdayfeatured Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Archdiocese of New York. The accompanying headline, "A Genial Conservative for the Archdiocese," is less foreboding than the paper's initial online headline, "A Genial Enforcer of Rome's Doctrine."
Powell seemed personally fond of Dolan, but got in a couple of extraneous jabs at the "ever more conservative" Catholic church under Pope Benedict:
Archbishop Dolan, who Pope Benedict XVI named on Monday to lead the Archdiocese of New York, is a genial enforcer of Rome's ever more conservative writ, a Falstaffian fellow who talks of his love of the Brewers baseball team and Miller beer, and who takes obvious joy in donning his bishop's robes and pounding his bishop's staff as he tromps into church. When talking with parishioners, he places his hand on their shoulders, sidles in close and, out of the corner of his mouth, cracks a joke.
On matters of doctrine, the archbishop 59, adheres to the line laid down by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, including firm opposition to abortion, birth control, divorce, gay marriage and any crack in the wall of priestly celibacy.
Powell then set up an unflattering contrast between liberal Catholicism, "where debate about doctrine was to be gloried in," and the conservative, "Obedient soldier of Rome" philosophy of Dolan while offering the patronizing compliment that Dolan is not like some church "ideologues" who try to "ferret out liberals":
Archbishop Dolan hails from American Catholicism's now-dominant conservative wing, which has grown stronger and more assertive during the past decade. Under his predecessor, Rembert G. Weakland, the Milwaukee archdiocese had a national reputation as a liberal Catholic outpost, where debate about doctrine was to be gloried in. Many Catholics predicted a theological war upon the arrival of the new bishop. This did not materialize.
Obedient soldier of Rome that many say he is, Archbishop Dolan remains more politician than ideologue. He has not joined the American bishops who barred Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights from taking holy communion. And, with a notable exception or two, he has declined to ferret out the liberals in his midst.