Thursday, November 18, 2010

Transition, Accomplished

At the close of the American bishops' most consequential plenary since Dallas, the noon hour struck in Baltimore today, and with it -- in a moment as historic as it was devoid of fanfare or ceremony -- the leadership of the Stateside bench officially passed into the hands of the newly-elected president, the archbishop of New York.

And so, as this unprecedented three-year "experiment" begins, lest anyone missed it in real-time, here below (via the Telecare feed) is fullvideo of Archbishop Timothy Dolan's inaugural press conference moments after his election, joined by the bench's freshly-chosen Vice-President, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville....

...and even earlier, the Gotham prelate's first TV interview immediately following the vote:

For the record, while Dolan said in the first of the above sessions that he lost the vice-presidency "by one vote" in 2007, the difference then was actually 22 votes -- 128-106.

This time, 128 was again the winning total... albeit with a smaller margin of victory (17 votes) -- and, of course, the result flipped.

We'll revisit the calculus that created the sea-change in greater depth soon. For now, though, suffice it to say that much of the "seismic swing" arguably owed itself to the 42 bishops' worth of "new blood" named to the bench since Kicanas-Dolan I; comprising a full sixth of the electorate, the first-time voters largely replaced veteran prelates who lost their suffrage on their respective retirements.

Meanwhile, on a long-frame note, recalling the beginnings of the nation's church in the same city where this week's astonishing "coup" took place, here from the archives, a 2008 lecture (text) given by the new president (then the archbishop of Milwaukee) on the father of American Catholicism -- the nation's founding bishop, Maryland's John Carroll:

...and all that said, away we go.

The bench's first meeting led by the new Chief will come at mid-June in Seattle, where Archbishop-elect Peter Sartain will be installed on 1 December.