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Archbishop Timothy Dolan

January 6, 2012 by staff 

Archbishop Timothy DolanArchbishop Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, leader of more than 2 million New York Catholics, is being promoted by the Pope to cardinal – a move that effectively makes him the spiritual leader of the far-flung and sometimes fractious U.S. Church.

Dolan said he called his mother immediately after he got the word from the Vatican.

“She was really happy,” Dolan told The Daily News on Friday. “She started crying and said, ‘I wish your dad was here for this good news. I wish he knew about it.’ I said, ‘Mom, something tells me he does.’”

Dolan said he will continue to focus firmly on his flock in New York. “That’s what I relish, that’s what I love doing,” he said.

But Dolan said he expects to be given “a few added responsibilities at different offices in Rome, because cardinals are usually asked to serve on different congregations for offices in Rome that assist the Holy Father.”

“There will probably be a few more trips to Rome – a few more plates of gnocchi,” Dolan joked.

It also means the Big Apple has twice as much say about who becomes the next Pope.

Cardinals vote for Pope and Dolan’s predecessor, Cardinal John Egan, remained in New York City after he retired as archbishop.

“It’s an affirmation and thank you to New York,” Dolan said of his promotion. “It’s like putting the red on home plate at Yankee stadium. It’s an affirmation of everything that’s great about the church and the community of New York.”

Asked how he was going to spend the rest of the day, Dolan said he plans to get some new duds, befitting cardinals who dress in red.

“The tailor is going to come to the house,” he said. “It should help unemployment in the Garment District.”

Papal biographer David Gibson said Pope Benedict’s promotion of New York’s top cleric “clearly makes Tim Dolan the favorite American son.”

“Elevating Dolan to cardinal while there’s still another cardinal in New York is breaking with tradition,” said Gibson, national reporter for the Religion News Service and author of “The Rule of Benedict.” “Benedict never breaks with tradition.”

The Pope, said Gibson, “is increasingly relying on Tim Dolan, not only as his go-to guy in America, but also for a number of duties in Rome and around the world.”

“Tim Dolan is the man of the moment,” he said.

Mayor Bloomberg agreed that the Pope promoted the right man.

“He’s a good guy and I think it’s great for New York City and great for the Church,” the mayor said.

The Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner also congratulated Dolan.

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