America's primate

Speaking of official favor, it’s not as if we needed another sign that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is a rising star in the Catholic hierarchy these days, but we got one anyway on Feb. 3.

The Vatican announced on that day that when all the members of the College of Cardinals meet in Rome on Feb. 17 for a day of prayer and reflection, the pope has asked Dolan to speak to them on the subject of “The Proclamation of the Gospel Today, from the Mission Ad Gentes to the New Evangelization.”
Given that the College of Cardinals is also the electoral body which will pick the next pope, I suppose the significance of entrusting this unique platform to Dolan won’t be lost on anyone. (By the way, today is Dolan’s 62nd birthday, meaning he’s still remarkably young by ecclesiastical standards.)

It was already clear that Dolan is exceedingly well-regarded by Benedict XVI and his Vatican team.
Benedict named Dolan to New York, the biggest stage in the American church, in 2009. When Benedict needed to put together an all-star team of English-speaking prelates to lead a visitation of the church in Ireland, to demonstrate his seriousness about that country’s sexual abuse crisis, Dolan was on the list. Benedict also included Dolan among the A-list of global heavyweights named to his new Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the project which is the apple of the pope’s eye.

The Feb. 3 announcement that Dolan has been chosen to address his fellow cardinals, on the theme which is the pope’s top personal priority, is thus simply another indication that Dolan is a trusted, and therefore powerful, figure – the most influential American prelate of his generation, and arguably in a long time.

This insight comes from John Allen. I'm eager to see when Chaput gets the red hat too.

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