The rumors have been swirling around now even with the Italian press showing that Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan could become the next Archbishop of New York City. If this happens this would be the third leadership change of a Wisconsin Catholic diocese in the past two years. The past two changes were one seeing the Superior Diocese which covers Northwest Wisconsin bring in a new bishop upon the retirement of Raphael Fliss and the Green Bay Diocese seeing bishop David Zubik being transferred to being the Bishop of Pittsburgh and being replaced with David Ricken the former Bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Archbishop Dolan has came in the line of excellent Catholic church leaders that came from Wisconsin that made their impacts on a broader stage. At first, Cardinal Strich one of the Archbishops of Milwaukee from the 1930’s who became a cardinal in the 1940’s which has started a long tradition. In the last twenty years, Wisconsin Catholic bishops have made it on a more larger scene as in 1990 former Green Bay bishop Adam Maida became the Archbishop of Detroit and was the first Wisconsin bishop in over a half century to be elevated to cardinal. In 2003, La Crosse Bishop Raymond Leo Burke was elevated to become the Archbishop of St. Louis and just recently being promoted to serving in the Vatican as the Head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Now, Timothy Dolan may join this long list of great Catholic leaders who had became a leader of a Wisconsin Catholic diocese and going on a broader national and global stage.
What happens with Dolan could play a huge impact now with Madison’s bishop Robert Morlino as now with former Green Bay bishop and Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida now retired that Morlino’s name has been sought to replace him especially with Morlino’s ties to the State of Michigan. From being around Madison, many people I know around the State Capitol have told me that Morlino is in line to become a Archbishop and possible cardinal in the future.
Despite former Archbishop Burke’s contribution to Wisconsin’s strong tradition of Catholic leadership, many people see Burke as a very controversial figure especially during the 2008 election chiding at Wisconsin native and current St. Louis University Basketball coach Rick Majerus for supporting abortion and embryonic stem cell research and some people in LaCrosse do not think highly of Burke also because of his controversial status.
With now Morlino and Dolan becoming greater names in the church’s leadership in the United States is going to put a greater responsibility for the church’s next leaders if it may happen of the two dioceses in the state’s largest two cities to provide the leadership it needs as now still the issues over past sex abuse cases in the Church and also with now pro-life stances being under attack will be important, but for now the recent news of the Archbishop Dolan should give Wisconsin catholics a reason to rejoice that Dolan is continuing a long tradition of Catholic leaders in line of former Green Bay Bishops Adam Maida and Alicosus Wiscolyo, former Cardinal Strich of Milwaukee, and former LaCrosse bishop Raymond Burke who have made their mark.