Over at the Washington Post’s On Faith online section, there is an interesting story by Michelle Boorstein that offers and overview of the Archbishop of New York’s frequent appearance in the spotlight and in media headlines in recent weeks. Highlighting both the political involvement of the current USCCB president and the more popular appearances (such as his forthcoming appearance at Fordham University with TV personality Stephen Colbert), the Post draws our attention to the significance and perhaps complications of this sort of public presence.  Additionally, there is an attempt to make sense of the overall “goal” or “agenda” of the cardinal from New York, suggesting that reviving the Catholic Church’s public image in the United States ranks high on his list.

Reviving the authority and status of the Catholic Church has been the focus of Dolan, the most visible and influential U.S. Catholic bishop in decades. At a polarized time when many bishops are feeling embattled and laying low, the 62-year-old historian is giving “Today” co-host Matt Lauer a chatty televised tour of Rome, writing a newsy blog and making jokes about his beer drinking. Next month he will join TV comedian Stephen Colbert for an event about humor and spirituality.

“He’s an extrovert on steroids,” said John L. Allen, a prominent Catholic journalist, who earlier this year published a book on Dolan. “Left to his own devices he would talk to anyone anywhere about anything.”

But even if Dolan is able to pull the Church back into popular culture, the days of a major Catholic power broker may be over: Catholics are perhaps too diverse and fragmented, and America too pluralistic to stomach a religious kingmaker.

To read the rest of the story, go to “From Conventions to Colbert, Cardinal Dolan Plays on Top Stages.

Photo: File


  1. My take? This isn’t journalism or news. Speculating about a Church official trying to be a “power broker” is weak at best. There is no organization on earth that does not seek leadership in which there is some effort to protect the authority and status of that organization. Why not talk to the guy in an interview, ask challenging questions, and let readers decide? Ask him about his overall “goal” or “agenda”.

  2. Furthermore, so as not to offer a possible suggestion that could have sway me to consider this valid…..
    As she mentioned the “furious criticism of liberal catholics”, why not mention the fact about the serious criticism from conservatives regarding the Cardinal’s invitation for Mr. Obama to the Al Smith dinner.
    And what about the placement of “left to his own devices…talk to anyone, anywhere”, or even its use. Is this not exactly what our Cardinal should be doing, and is that not what Christ Himself be doing (perhaps with a little less flare), to preach the Gospel to everyone?
    I only hope that His Eminence, (a term which I use with the utmost respect and esteemed affection and which I do not believe this “journalist” would ever use), is filled with such Fire of the Holy Spirit and gives the other Convention such a rousing prayer and benediction, that many will flee to the nearest confessional, and make others take note of their waywardness.

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