Strongly Pro-Life Bishop Timothy Dolan Picked to Lead New York Catholics

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Strongly Pro-Life Bishop Timothy Dolan Picked to Lead New York Catholics

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 23
, 2009

New York, NY ( — New York City is considered the abortion capital of the U.S., with more abortions done per 1,000 women than anywhere else in the nation. However, the metropolis is about to get a new pro-life advocate in Timothy Dolan, the former Milwaukee Archbishop Pope Benedict has chosen to succeed Cardinal Edward Egan.

Egan, who is 76, is retiring as archbishop after nearly nine years and the pope selected Dolan to become the next archbishop of New York on Monday.

Dolan, who is strongly pro-life, will lead what is the second largest diocese in the United States, behind the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but is considered the most prestigious Catholic post in the nation.

Dolan said in statements issued by the two archdioceses that he was "deeply honored" and "grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI," but said he will miss Milwaukee.

The new Catholic leader is a St. Louis native and the oldest of five children who earned a doctorate in church history from The Catholic University of America. He worked as a priest and profess and spent seven years as rector of the North American College in Rome.

Dolan served briefly as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Louis before heading to Milwaukee.

For the pro-life movement, Dolan has been a strong friend and ally and has been called a "hero" by leading pro-life advocates.

"It bothers me if any politician, Catholic or not, is for abortion," Dolan has said. "Because in my mind, we’re talking about a civil right, we’re not talking about a matter of Catholic Church discipline. We can’t allow the noble pro-life cause to be reduced to a denominational issue."

Last year, Dolan took House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Joe Biden to task for misrepresenting Catholic pro-life teachings.

"Church tradition is equally clear that bishops are the authentic teachers of the faith. So, when prominent Catholics publicly misrepresent timeless Church doctrine – as Biden and Pelosi regrettably did (to say nothing of erring in biology!) – a bishop has the duty to clarify," he explained.

"Does the baby alive in the womb (a biological, not a doctrinal, fact) deserve the full protection of the law or not? Does one have the right to terminate the life of another at will? Can we consider one form of life – that of the innocent, fragile baby in the womb – inferior and expendable?" Dolan asked.

And, for the new New York Catholic leader, the answer is clearly no.

"We cannot be mute on this premier civil rights issue of our day," he says.

In 2006, Dolan wrote a letter to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle asking him to reconsider his stance in favor of using taxpayer dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research.

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