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.”