Nothing to see here: UPDATED USCCB President story

Wow. Evidently Archbishop Timothy Dolan has no idea why his peers elected him conference president, at least according to Catholic News Service. It could have been the doughnuts at the coffee break.

This is truly unbelievable. Catholic right-wing bloggers pull off nothing less than a coup, and the bishops claim it was all about the "election process," that is, the assumption that the vice president would become president.

There can be no doubt that the pastoral voices in the conference are now silenced, and the more confrontational figures appointed by Pope John Paul II are in the driver's seat. The election of a conference president may seem like so much "inside baseball," but it is of profound signficance.

UPDATE: CNS updated their story as promised (we sent out a tweet, asking why there was no mention of the campaign—see my earlier blog post—and they said they were asking for more information).

Gone is this line, to put my previous comment about donuts in context: “Archbishop Dolan joked that he had to make a few promises to gain votes, including providing doughnuts for the coffee break.”

Here’s Dolan’s response to the influence of an outside campaign: "That wouldn't be new. There's always some controversy around the elections. It's not like I've been immune from that. I've felt the heat from blog attacks myself. The bishops bristle if they feel there's any undue pressure from the outside."

Laurie Goodstein at the New York Times covers it as a liberal versus conservative issue, while Renee Schafer Horton writes on Tuscon Citizen’s God Blogging that Kicanas isn’t exactly “liberal.” To me the story is convoluted enough to keep a journalist busy for a week, but however it happened, it’s a really big deal.

About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.