Still a charmer after all these months

I’ve lost track of how many people have sent me links to New York magazine’s profile of Archbishop Dolan in the current issue.

I read it a few days ago, but don’t really know what to say about it.

It’s a fine piece, well written and researched. But it pretty much covers the same ground that everyone covered a few months ago when the big guy showed up in town.

The headline is “The Archbishop of Charm.” Well, yeah.

Robert Kolker writes:

*****

His entire career, Dolan, 59, has approached the job of being a priest not as a daunting paterfamilias but as that heckuva-nice-guy you meet at some wedding who turns out to be a priest. He is what other priests call a “lifer,” someone who found his calling early and steered a course to the seminary right after grammar school (last spring, his first-grade teacher flew in to do the reading at his installation in Manhattan). He grew up in Ballwin, Missouri, the oldest of five children. His mother still lives in the St. Louis area, but his father, an aircraft engineer, died of a heart attack, in 1977—just nine months after Dolan was ordained. “He doesn’t have to put on any kind of show,” says Monsignor Michael Curran, a Brooklyn priest who has known Dolan for two decades. “He’s very comfortable with who he is and what he’s been called to be. And he uses his personality, his human gifts, to communicate a very powerful spiritual message. Maybe a psychologist could put it better, but I think there’s probably not a trace of an identity crisis in the man.”

*****

Yeah, that’s Dolan alright.

The most interesting aspect of the profile, it seems to me, is how to shows Dolan’s ambivalence about the Great Gay Debate. Of course, he opposes gay marriage. He is Roman Catholic archbishop, after all.

But I get the feeling that Dolan would really rather talk about other things.

When I interviewed Dolan shortly after his arrival, I asked if he believed that homosexuality was inborn. He said that he didn’t know and would leave it up to the experts.

He tells Kolker:

“If you have been gay your whole life and feel that that’s the way God made you, God bless you. But I would still say that that doesn’t mean you should act on that. I would happen to say, for instance, that God made me with a pretty short temper. Now, I still think God loves me, but I can’t act on that. I would think that God made me with a particular soft spot in my heart for a martini. Now, I’d better be careful about that.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.