Baltimore: In an upset, New York Archbishop
Timothy Dolan elected president today of the US Conference of
Catholic Bishops, defeating a vice president who had been
widely expected to win the job.
Dolan`s surprise victory comes at a time when church
leaders are divided over how best to uphold Roman Catholic
It is the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice
president was on the ballot for president and lost. It follows
protests by some conservative Catholics against the vice
president, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas.
Dolan received 54 per cent of the vote to 46 per cent for
Kicanas on the third round of balloting. Kicanas has served as
vice president for a three-year term which ends this week.
A growing number of bishops have taken a more aggressive
approach, publicly denying Holy Communion to Catholic
politicians who support abortion rights, warning Catholic
voters they should never vote for a candidate who supports
abortion rights under any circumstances and reining in
prominent dissenters in their dioceses.
Kicanas has not denied Communion to any Catholic
politicians and rejected calls to punish the president of the
University of Notre Dame for honouring President Barack Obama,
who supports abortion rights. Kicanas instead urged bishops
and Catholic university presidents to start a discussion about
Partly because of Kicanas` approach, he was pilloried in
the days leading up to the vote by right-wing Catholic
bloggers, who urged readers to send protest faxes and leave
messages for bishops at the hotel where they are meeting.
Dolan also does not outright deny the sacrament to
dissenting Catholic lawmakers, but he is seen as an outspoken
defender of church orthodoxy in a style favoured by many