NEW YORK, FEB. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal Edward Egan as the archbishop of New York, and named 59-year-old Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the post.
After weeks of anticipation, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, announced today that the Pope accepted the 76-year-old cardinal’s resignation, and then named the Milwaukee archbishop as his successor.
Cardinal Egan has headed the Archdiocese of New York since 2000. Cardinal Egan will turn 77 on April 2. He is the first archbishop of New York to retire from the position. His 11 predecessors died in office.
Timothy Dolan was born in 1950 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained a priest of that archdiocese in 1976. He has a doctorate in American Church history from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He served as secretary to the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C., for five years beginning in 1987, and in 1992 was appointed vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, where he also taught Church history. From 1994-2001 he was rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
He was ordained a bishop in 2001, and served as the auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, Missouri. He was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee in 2002.
“I am honored by this appointment, as I was honored by my appointment as Archbishop of Milwaukee,” Archbishop Dolan said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI.
“Yet, I must admit sadness in the prospect of leaving the people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, whom I have come to know, love and deeply appreciate. I am very much at home here. It will be tough to leave.”
Archbishop Dolan is known for his firm stance for life. During last year’s election cycle he defended the role of bishops in correcting Catholic politicians who misinterpreted Church teaching on abortion. “We cannot be mute on this premier civil rights issue of our day,” the archbishop wrote.
In 2007 he gave the homily at the annual Red Mass in Washington D.C., attended by some 1,500 civil leaders, including Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito Jr. He said on that occasion: “In a society where rights are reduced to whatever we have the urge to do instead of what we ought to do in a civil society, we need all the wisdom and fortitude God can give us, as civic leaders, magistrates, as ordinary citizens, to achieve, as Cardinal James Gibbons exhorted, ‘liberty without license, authority without despotism.'”
Archbishop Dolan has written four books, including: “To Whom Shall We Go?” and “Called to Be Holy.” He is the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas aid and development agency.
He will be installed as the archbishop of New York on April 15.