John L. Allen, Jr. has an interesting perspective on Dolan’s election in the National Catholic Reporter:
. . . Yet interestingly, the swing to leadership by cardinals and big-time archbishops can also be seen as an assertion of the autonomy of the U.S. conference vis-à-vis Rome. With Cardinal Francis George, the American bishops knew they had a leader who could go toe-to-toe with the heavyweights of the Roman Curia as a full equal, and more or less the same point can be made of Dolan.
While American bishops these days are undeniably more “evangelical” in outlook, closer to the spirit of John Paul II, they also are less inclined to defer to Roman sensibilities on many non-doctrinal matters, such as finance and institutional management. Their take-away from the sex abuse crisis, for example, is that the American bishops had it right on the “zero tolerance policy,” and those in Rome who opposed it have been proven wrong.
More generally, watching the cycle of meltdowns in Rome under Italian Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone over the last five years, many American bishops are inclined to believe that the current Vatican regime means well but often can’t make the trains run on time. They want someone who can go to Rome and make American judgments stick, and Dolan is arguably better positioned to do so than Kicanas.
Read the full article: Three keys to reading the Dolan win at the USCCB | National Catholic Reporter