It will be a different kind of Election Day (or weekend) when the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference elects new officers Nov. 15-18.
The bishops will elect a new president and vice president from a slate of 10 candidates, including one Archbishop Timothy Dolan from New York and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, the top guy in Baltimore who happens to hail from these parts.
O’Brien was once considered at top candidate to become archbishop of New York. Instead, he got Baltimore and a couple of other guys were named to NY. That’s him in White Plains in 2005, when he was still archbishop for the military services.
Now O’Brien and Dolan will square off head-to-head (sort of), along with some other big names, like the always interesting Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
It’s always struck me as odd that the Bishops Conference holds semi-public elections. I think it’s fair to say that the Catholic Church likes to keep its’ bishops in the best possible light. But after the elections are held, several candidates can’t help coming out as, well…losers.
Many other organizations, of course, happen to choose their leaders the same way.
You wonder what kind of politicking goes on.
How does it all work? According to a release: “Conference by-laws provide that the election of the president will take place first from among the list of 10 candidates. Following the election of the president with at least 50 percent of the vote, the vice president is elected from the remaining nine candidates. In either election, if a candidate fails to win over 50 percent of the vote, a second vote is taken. If a third vote is necessary, only two names appear on the ballot.”
The bishops will also elect chairmen of six committees. In each case, there are two nominees. So one will win and one…won’t.
In the race to head the committee on International Justice and Peace, O’Brien will face off against Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn.
The bishops will meet at the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott. Sessions.