I am very happy to see that Archbishop Timothy Dolan was elected head of the USCCB for the next three years. This was a very rare break from the normal tradition of electing the Vice President of USCCB as President. There were certainly enough questions about Bishop Gerald Kicanas time as Seminary Rectory to make this a prudent reaction. Bishop Kicanas response to the article in the National Catholic Register certainly did not put away such questions and what he did admit to knowing showed bad judgment in my opinion.
It also seems to me that National Catholic Register Reporter TIm Drake did us all a great service by publicizing the questions surrounding the Bishop in the first place. While I had seen the story reported previously, they were in sources unlikely to have been seen by the bishops. Tim Drake covered the story by mentioning the other articles and then later posted the response by Bishop Kicanas. This story and the multiple blogs that reported it seemed to have raised this as an issue that the American bishop’s could not easily ignore. Though there were multiple votes with the first vote being split between Kicanas/Dolan/Chaput with Kicanis getting the majority. The third ballot gave Archbishop Dolan 128-111 over Bishop Kicanas.
That the press will now not be able to go on and on about the priestly abuse crisis concerning Bishop Kicanas over the next three years is a good thing Even better news is that Archbishop Timothy Dolan makes a great public face for the USCCB. Archbishop Dolan has certainly shown an excellent capability in the Diocese of New York to respond to media attacks and to take up the pen in defense of the Church. He has done this with great grace and good humor as shown by his responses to the New York Times.
I wish Bishop Kicanas well and if he has been unfairly attacked and had acted prudently in the ordination of future abuser McCormack that he realizes that this election was the prudent choice.
On a related note Pope Benedict XVI had this to say to the Brazilian bishops yesterday.
The national bishops’ conference exists to promote collaboration among bishops, not to replace their authority, Pope Benedict XVI said to a visiting group of bishops from Brazil on November 15.
The episcopal conference “must avoid becoming a parallel reality or substituting for the ministry of each individual bishop,” the Pope said. He added that “the counselors and structures of the episcopal conference exist to serve the bishops, not to replace them.” Stressing the duty and authority of each individual bishop within his own diocese, the Pope said that the conference should help each bishop to carry out his work more effectively.
Amen to that.