The AP is reporting that New York archbishop Timothy Dolan won an upset to become elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The group’s vice-president, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas had been widely expected to win the election, but a number of conservative bishops and right-wing bloggers found him unacceptable for refusing to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights and for urging a discussion around reproductive health issues.
Dolan only came to New York last year, after serving seven years as the archbishop of Milwaukee, but this news is likely to unleash a torrent of congratulatory press releases. Will update as they come in.
First into this in-box at least is conservative state Senator Ruben Diaz:
Dear Archbishop Dolan:
Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your recent selection as President of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops. I just read about this in the news, and I am overjoyed!
During your brief tenure in New York, we have been blessed with your great compassion, your approachability, and your clear commitment to the core principles of faith – all shown in your own characteristically cheerful and loving way.
We will certainly miss you if you move to DC, but we know that the nation as a whole will gain as you remain at the forefront carrying the message and the mission of respecting the lives of all of God’s children and strengthening the role of the family.
I will continue to value our friendship, and hope and pray that our friendship will continue to grow forever.
Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz