Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M ., released a statement about the appointment of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as archbishop of New York on Feb. 23. His comments were included in an Associated Press article that was picked up by more than 180 news outlets. Father O'Connell was also quoted on Archbishop Dolan in the New York Times and the Washington Times . Please see the Associated Press article see below.

Timothy Dolan is next NY archbishop

From: Associated Press Date: Feb. 23, 2009 Author: Rachel ZollNEW YORK (AP) - Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, a defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who led an elite seminary for U.S. priests and became known for his energy, wit and warmth, was named archbishop of New York on Monday.

The Vatican said Dolan would succeed Cardinal Edward Egan, 76, who is retiring as archbishop after nearly nine years.

The post is the most prominent in the American Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II once called the job "archbishop of the capital of the world."

In statements issued by the archdioceses, Dolan said he was "deeply honored" and "grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI," but is sad about leaving Milwaukee.

To New York's faithful, he said in a statement: "I pledge to you my love, my life, my heart."

As New York archbishop, Dolan is expected to be elevated to cardinal eventually. Egan remains a cardinal, despite his retirement as New York's Catholic leader.

The New York Archdiocese is the second-largest in the U.S., behind Los Angeles, serving 2.5 million parishioners in nearly 400 churches. It covers a region from Manhattan to the Catskill mountains, and includes a network of 10 colleges and universities, hundreds of schools and social service agencies, and nine hospitals that treat about 1 million people annually.

As New York archbishop, Dolan is expected to be elevated to cardinal eventually. Egan remains a cardinal, despite his retirement as New York's Catholic leader.

Dolan's selection continues a chain of Irish-American bishops that was broken only once in the history of the archdiocese, when French-born prelate John Dubois was appointed in 1826.

Yet, Dolan, 59, takes over at a time of growing diversity in the local church, with a sizable and expanding Latino population in the New York-area. He speaks Spanish, among other languages, and can preach and celebrate the sacraments in Spanish.

The Rev. David O'Connell, president of The Catholic University of America, where Dolan had earned his doctorate in church history, said Dolan's "personal warmth" and "great sense of humor" helped make him "perfectly suited" for New York.

Michael Sean Winters, author of "Left at The Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics," first met Dolan when the clergyman was rector of the North American College in Rome, considered the West Point for U.S. priests. Dolan had studied there for his own ordination years earlier.

"The first time I saw him, he had his arm around someone and the other arm had a cigar and a drink," Winters said. "He's not judgmental. He's not a finger-wagger."

In a brief statement, Dolan said he was grateful for the appointment.

When Egan became New York's archbishop, the archdiocese had an annual $20 million operating deficit. Egan closed or merged about two dozen parishes as the Catholic population shifted to the suburbs, where new schools were being planned. He said he wiped out the budget shortfall.

On Sept. 11, 2001, and in the days after the terrorist attacks, he led worship in St. Patrick's Cathedral for thousands of shaken New Yorkers. Last year, the cardinal hosted Pope Benedict XVI in his first U.S. visit as pontiff, an event marked by festive crowds in the tens of thousands.

But unlike many previous New York archbishops, Egan did not embrace the chance for a broad public role in the city. Some priests circulated an anonymous letter in 2006, accusing him of arrogance and of ignoring the pastoral needs of priests and parishioners. Egan called the complaints a "vicious attack."

Dolan was sent to Milwaukee under challenging circumstances. His predecessor, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, had abruptly retired after news broke that the archdiocese had paid a $450,000 settlement to a man claiming Weakland tried to sexually assault him. Weakland admitted an "inappropriate relationship" but denied abuse.

The Rev. Jim Connell, moderator of the Milwaukee Presbyteral Council, a panel of archdiocesan priests, called Weakland's departure a "very sad and tragic situation" for local clergy. But he said Dolan reached out to them, distributing his e-mail and phone number, and calling them on their birthdays, the anniversary of their ordinations, or just to say hello.

A year after Dolan took the Milwaukee post, about a quarter of his priests signed a public letter saying that celibacy should be optional for future clergy. Dolan disagreed, but did so without apparent bitterness, emphasizing how much he appreciated the clergymen and their work.

"The problems in the church today are not caused by the teachings of Jesus and of his church, but by lack of fidelity to them," he wrote.

Dolan began his path to the priesthood as a boy. A St. Louis native and the oldest of five children, Dolan has said he would set up cardboard boxes with sheets to make a play altar in the basement. He attended a seminary prep school in Missouri and studied for his ordination at the North American College. By 1985, he had earned his doctorate.

After working as a parish priest and professor, Dolan spent seven years leading the Rome seminary, then returned to the U.S., working briefly as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 2002, he was appointed to Milwaukee, which serves about 675,000 parishioners and 211 churches.

Dolan is an outspoken opponent of abortion, comparing the moral urgency of the issue to ending slavery. The American Life League, an anti-abortion group that has pressured Catholic bishops to speak out more forcefully on the issue, called Dolan "one of our pro-life heroes."

However, he does not deny Holy Communion to Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights, nor does he single them out publicly. He thinks each parishioner should decide whether he or she should receive the sacrament. Every other year or so, he has invited Catholic city and state officeholders for a daylong session on church teaching and public life.

Dolan had served as a point-person for abuse claims for several months in St. Louis and was confronted with years-old unresolved abuse cases in Milwaukee.

In 2004, he joined the minority of U.S. bishops who publicly released the names of local diocesan priests who had been credibly accused of molesting children. The archdiocese posts the names on its Web site and updates the list when needed.

"Anything we can do to keep children safe, we must do," Dolan said when he revealed the names.

However, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has accused him of, among other things, failing to work more closely with civil authorities to publicly identify accused clergy from the independently governed religious orders who work in the archdiocese.

In 2006, the archdiocese agreed to a nearly $17 million settlement involving abusive former Milwaukee priests who had worked in California. Insurance covered half the claim, but Dolan said that the archdiocese's share put its annual budget in the red, contributing to a $3 million deficit last year. Dolan had to cut about a fifth of the jobs in the archdiocese. He hoped to sell a 44-acre archdiocesan property, the Cousins Center, but the sale stalled.

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