Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York reacted to his Nov. 16 election as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by saying he will continue the actions of the conference “with all vigor I can muster.”
“It’s not like we’re in crisis; it’s not like all of a sudden we need some daring new initiatives. Thank God for the leadership of Cardinal Francis George, things are going well,” he commented at a press briefing following his election.
He also rejected portrayals of the bishops’ conference as split between “social justice” and “pro-life” factions. These issues are “a package deal,” he explained, according to the New York Times.
Similarly, he rejected the idea that the bishops are partial to a political party.
"The bishops of the United States are not partisans, they're pastors," he said.
Responding to a question about the 2010 health care legislation, he said the passage of universal health care was marred by its lack of protections for the unborn.
“We should have been doing cartwheels,” he commented. However, the bishops thought the legislation wasn’t comprehensive because “unborn babies were in danger.”
Archbishop Dolan also discussed the novelty of his being elected over the sitting bishops’ conference vice president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson. He suggested that the bishops did not like the idea that anyone is “a shoo-in” for the position.
The archbishop also downplayed the notion that his election was intended as a message.
“I don't think we bishops sit around thinking about that,” he commented, according to the Washington Post.