Cardinal Timothy Dolan

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As the election of the new Roman Pontiff approaches, ZENIT will feature several biographies on some of the Cardinals who are in Rome for the Conclave.

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Leader of the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, age 63, is known for his strong defence of Christian values and religious freedom in the US.

Cardinal Dolan has served as archbishop of New York since February of 2009. Just two months after his installation as archbishop, he was created cardinal by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He previously served as archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, having been appointed to that position by Blessed John Paul II in 2002. Ordained bishop of St. Louis, Missouri in 2001, he chose for his Episcopal motto the profession of faith of St. Peter: Ad Quem Ibimus, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68).

Life and ministry

The oldest of five children, Cardinal Dolan was born on February 6, 1950 in St. Louis, Missouri to Shirley Radcliffe Dolan and the late Robert Dolan. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1976 after having received his seminary training at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South in Shrewsbury, Mo., Cardinal Clennon College, and the Pontifical North American College (PNAC) in Rome. Cardinal Dolan holds a License in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas – also known as the Angelicum which – he received during his formation at the PNAC.

Following his ordination, Cardinal Dolan served as associate pastor at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights, Mo. for three years. In 1979, he pursued a doctorate in American Church History at Catholic University of America, writing his doctoral dissertation on the life of Archbishop Edwin O'Hara, one of the founders of the Catholic Biblical Association.

Cardinal Dolan returned to St. Louis where he worked in parish ministry for four years, starting from 1983. In 1987 he was appointed as the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C., fulfilling the five year term. He returned to St. Louis in 1992 where he was made vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, where he was the director of spiritual formation and a professor of Church history.

Cardinal Dolan returned to Rome in 1994 where he served as the rector for the PNAC until 2001. During this time, he was a visiting professor of Church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and served as a faculty member in the department of Ecumenical Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

On June 19, 2001, the then Fr. Dolan was named auxiliary bishop of St. Louis by Blessed John Paul II. In 2009 he was named archbishop of New York by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Dolan served as chairman of Catholic Relief Services from January 2009 – November 2010. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

On November 16, 2010, Cardinal Dolan was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, succeeding Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

In February of 2012, the archbishop of New York was elevated to cardinal.