NEW YORK, January 6, 2012 ( – Timothy Dolan, who as Archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Bishops’ conference has emerged as one of the nation’s most prominent life and marriage defenders, is to be named a cardinal.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Friday that Dolan, the leader of 2.6 million Catholics in New York, would rise to the rank held by most of his predecessors, including pro-life champion Cardinal John O’Connor. Dolan was appointed alongside 21 other new cardinals announced today.

“As a kid, I just wanted to be a parish priest,” Dolan said at a news conference at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. “And to think that now the pope has named me a cardinal— that’s awesome.”


Dolan said he was “honored, humbled, and grateful” for the elevation.

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A proven leader on the abortion issue, Dolan has consistently spoken out against the evil of abortion, telling a reporter in 2010 that being opposed to abortion, “is a civil rights issue, it’s a natural law issue, it’s not a Catholic issue.” He also said at the time that Catholic institutions should not honor pro-abortion politicians or public figures.

He has also used one of America’s most influential pulpits to come down hard on a stickier issue, criticizing the marriage redefinition that was rammed through the New York legislature this summer. In some particularly strong remarks, he pointed to the experiences of Christians in other countries, who have been jailed or fined for defending the definition of marriage.

“If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world,” wrote the archbishop in July.

Dolan later expressed repentance for not being even more forceful against the bill, saying that so-called allies had falsely assured Church leaders in the run-up to the vote that the bill was dead in the water. “So we had political allies who said, ‘Bishops, keep your ammo dry, you don’t have to pull out all the stops, speak on principle, speak up against this bill, but don’t really worry because it’s not going to go anywhere,’” Dolan told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo.

He said that the bishops had been concerned that, if the bill passed, “the next thing will be we’ll be sued if we don’t do marriage, we’re going to be harassed if we don’t do receptions, we’re going to be penalized if we don’t allow adoption, we’re going to be booed if we don’t hire these people.”

Although he was called paranoid at the time, Dolan said, “it’s already happening.”

Dolan was appointed president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in November 2010, a surprise announcement that came as a relief to conservative Catholics, who were expecting Vice President Bishop Gerald Kicanas to fill the vacancy according to custom. Kicanas was endorsed by the homosexual Rainbow Sash movement for the head of the conference.

Dolan has also responded strongly against the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, calling it “hideous” and “nauseating.”

“In some ways, I don’t want it to be over, because this was such a crisis in the Catholic Church that in a way we don’t want to get over it too easily. This needs to haunt us,” said the prelate in a 60 Minutes interview marking his rise to the top of the USCCB.


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