“Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who has led the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York for nearly three years, will be named a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican announced on Friday.
The Archdiocese of New York is widely considered the spiritual heart of the American church. It counts about 2.6 million Catholics in a sprawling jurisdiction that includes includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and several suburban counties.
“As a kid, I just wanted to be a parish priest,” the cardinal-designate said in an early morning news conference at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. “And to think that now the pope has named me a cardinal— that’s awesome.”
Eight of the ten archbishops in the history of the New York archdiocese have been named cardinals, so the announcement was not unexpected. Still, the timing was surprising, because Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the archbishop emeritus of New York, will not turn 80 until April. Cardinals under age 80 are eligible to vote in papal elections, and it is unusual, although not unprecedented, for a diocese to have two cardinals eligible to vote at the same time.
One person, however, was ready for the news: Archbishop Dolan’s mother, Shirley, whom he called after receiving the news from the Vatican’s representative in Washington on Thursday morning.
“She said it’s about time,” the archbishop said, laughing. “Only moms can say that.”Full Story