Archbishop Dolan to Lead US Bishops' Conference

Body Breaks With 50-Year Precedent

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BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 16, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was elected as the new president of the U.S. bishops’ conference today, as the bishops break a long-held precedent to elect the sitting vice president.

Archbishop Dolan, who succeeds Cardinal Francis George of Chicago as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), was elected 128-111 on the third ballot in a run-off with the current vice president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.

Today was the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice president was on the ballot for the post of president and lost.

In a statement issued after the vote, Bishop Kicanas recalled that «a priest’s life is all about service,» and that he has been «honored these past three years with the opportunity to serve our Church, its mission and the People of God as the vice president.»

«I respect the wisdom of my brother bishops in choosing their new president and vice president,» he added. «I greatly appreciated their expressions of thanks to me for my service as vice president. Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been a long time friend since our seminary work together.

«I know of his great wit, jovial spirit, keen ability to relate to people in a deeply personal way and his exceptional leadership qualities. These will certainly serve the conference well as he begins his term as president.»

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected vice president 147-91 on the third vice presidential ballot in a run-off with Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.

Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz begin their three-year terms as president and vice president of the conference on Thursday, at the conclusion of this week’s meeting.

The bishops elected Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia to serve as USCCB treasurer-elect of the USCCB in a 123-114 vote over Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo.

The bishops voted for the chairmen-elect of six committees who will begin their three-year chairmanships in November 2011. The bishops elected:

— Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services to chair the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.

— Bishop Joseph McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to chair the Committee on Catholic Education.

— Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, to chair the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

— Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to chair the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

— Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio, to chair the Committee on Child and Youth Protection.

— Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore to chair the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

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