NY Catholic School Students Greet Cardinal Dolan News With Cheers, Questions

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Archbishop Timothy Dolan presides over a sprawling school system that stretches from Staten Island, to Poughkeepsie. His appointment to the College of Cardinals was greeted with joy by administrators and a certain amount of confusion by students.

The news came to most students at Archbishop Stepinac High School over the public address system Friday morning, but many who spoke with CBS 2’s Lou Young were unsure of the significance.

“What does it mean? Wow, that’s a difficult question,” one said.

“Well he has authority over an area and,” another said before conceding he didn’t know.

So the news is good, but religion by definition involves a certain amount of mystery, and Catholicism, by structure, has a little more mystery than most. Even at a Catholic school the significance of Friday’s events needs to be explained.

“Not all of them (understand the significance), no. Very few,” said Fr. Thomas Collins, president of the school.

“We have the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and the Cardinals are the group of men who help him make decisions,” explains Father Justin Sinnante.

Sinnante told his theology class at Stepinac the Cardinals are like the U.S. Senate, but different because they elect the next Pope. The position is for life but they retire from active duties at the age of 80. The facile young minds quickly leapt to practical politics.

“This means he could be the first American Pope!” one student exclaimed.

“You’re right. He’s one of the men who could definitely elect the next Pope. He’s definitely young enough for that. Basically if God wants it, he could be the next Pope,” Sinnante said.

Dolan, in fact, has already been elected to lead his peers at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Even those who disagree with him say he almost impossible not to like, good qualities for any politician. Teens who’ve met him seem to like him the most.

“Nicest guy in the world,” one said. “Never anything but happy.”

And now he’s headed to Rome for a promotion next month.

Dolan has been vocal proponent of re-structuring the Catholic School system, making it “smaller so it can be better,” in his words.

Please leave a comment below…

  • anonymous

    Hurray for Archbishop Dolan – It is a great thing to see someone so young and so in love with being a priest to be chosen to be a cardinal. God bless him and God bless our Catholic schools. They are forming the young men who will guide the world tomorrow.

  • Louise Wolpert

    Dear XXX…: You have such strong convicting statements and yet you are not willing to put your name to this claim. Anonymity of these comment boxes should not be allowed. I am Catholic and I am proud and enthusiastic about my faith. From what I have read, Cardinal Dolan is a good man and a great Shepherd. Do you know him personally to be able to say the things you have about him?

    Bishop Fulton Sheen said: “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

    Please seek the truth about who we are and what we stand for as a faith before you condemn us all.

  • Eric Rivera

    God bless Archbishop Dolan and his ministry to the people of the Archdiocese of NEw York. Congratulations!

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