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NYTimes candidate for pope

The coverage of Archbishop Timothy Dolan in the Times over the last week is far better than he usually gets.Saturday's love letter from Michael Paulson in Rome is quite amazing (even featuring Dolan with the kiss-a-baby photo). Just in case, he doesn't get the big job in Rome, there is a mayoral election coming up in NYC. Wonder how he'd do? The Times would almost certainly not endorse him for that job, but probably the Post and the Daily News would.

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At least Dolan has the support of his hometown paper.I can't for the life of me imagine that the Italian cardinals (who hold the balance of power in the conclave) will turn the church over to a US cardinal who chugs beer and hotdogs while cheering for the NY Yankees!Like the rest of American baseball fans, the rest of the world hates Yankees! Besides, I don't know if papal gear comes in pinstripes?!?

I am sure that Tim Dolan is politic enough to say appropriate things about the Yankees and the Mets. His home team, however, is the St. Louis Cardinals and his away team are the Vatican cardinals and he always wears the team colors; no pinstripes needed and no Cubs heresies tolerated.

Paulson's piece could be subtitled: All hat and no saddle.

Dolan is quoted as saying: "'When we use the word tradition, its not only a song from Fiddler on the Roof, it happens to be a very powerful teaching,' he said."Doesn't Tradition come from "traditio" to pass on...and isn't that exactly one of the issues the church is facing, i.e., traditio the tradition.

I doubt any cardinals seriously consider Dolan papabile.

Suffers perhaps what ails the N.J. governor has too much girth!

Maybe Dolan is campaigning to be pope and it's not a joke. Mollie Wilson O'Reilly alerted us in the current issue of Commonweal that Dolan wrote a blog post supporting gun control and the US under the rubric of "right to life." This is the kind of thing many new bishops do when entering a diocese -- putting out some human PR to create a good first impression before they get down to their agenda. His profile story in the papabili series portrays him as a "happy warrior" for the Faith. Even his deposition in Milwaukee a few days before he left for Rome portrays him as a shrewd administrator who knows how to protect church funds from lawsuits while at the same time making public the names of priest molesters. The press proclaimed the later. It was only SNAP that revealed the former. Maybe he is the leader of the American delegation to Rome and was the brains behind the US bishops press briefings last week. It sounds to me like he has organized a shrewd campaign.Maybe it is not a an idle humorous speculation or joke that Dolan's picture of kissing a baby is part of a shrewd campaign to be the first American Pope. Maybe I am overly suspicious or highly respectful of the political skills of many of these church administrators.

John, it is likely that he is campaigning. See his homily from yesterday: I always feel very much at home here.[] We Catholics are really all Romans.But surely that is not serious.

Could the downside to this be that the United States would get a lot of papal visits?

Another possibility is that Dolan is covering bases at home in NY. Sometimes locals don't like it when they see their cardinal overseas a lot. Or maybe his campaign strategy offers plausible deniability. Nice humor, Margaret, but my limited knowledge of the local boys who climb the ladder to Rome want to act on the world stage. On the other hand I don't know if the American bishops would like a direct line to Rome. Pros and Cons.Claire, he lived in Rome before and knows the local scene. That might be a strength for him as a candidate.Whatever Dolan is up to, it seems clear to me that he is a PR savant. And that bothers me because it undermines his truthfulness for me. I don't think we will get the straight story from him.O'Malley, on the other hand, seems to have more integrity, what you see is what you get

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.