Irish American installed as New York archbishop

Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:16pm EDT
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By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church installed Timothy Dolan as Archbishop of New York on Wednesday, filling the highest profile post in the U.S. Catholic Church with an Irish American extrovert likely to speak his mind.

Asked how he would handle controversial issues such as same-sex marriage, the former archbishop of Milwaukee said he would have plenty to say, but not on his first day in the job.

Dolan said he did not like the term "bully pulpit," which has been used to describe his job, but "I won't shy away from the fact that ... the pulpit of the Archbishop of New York does have perhaps an enhanced prominence."

The 59-year-old St. Louis native, who joked with reporters at his first news conference, is expected to advance issues like poverty relief and opposition to abortion.

During a homily at an elaborate Mass of Installation at St. Patrick's Cathedral, he was applauded when he talked about the sanctity of human life, including "the tiny baby in the womb."

Dolan, like other Catholic leaders, faces enormous challenges including healing wounds from a sexual abuse scandal that cost the U.S. Church some $2 billion in settlement payments with victims.

He said the Church had made "tremendous progress" in dealing with abusive priests and taking measures to stop future abuse, and promised to support efforts to help victims.

"We have got to resist the temptation to say 'OK, good, that's behind us.' We've got a lot of credibility to regain, we've got a lot of trust to regain."   Continued...

<p>New New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan greets a procession of catholic clergy outside St. Patrick's Cathedral before his Installation Mass in New York, April 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>