In a surprise move Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chose New York archbishop Timothy Dolan to lead their group, bypassing the current vice president in favor of the more conservative candidate.
According to The Washington Post, the vote of 128 to 111 for Dolan, who leads a prominent diocese in a world media capital, signals the intention for the group to become more vocal against issues such as marriage equality. The archbishop strongly opposed the marriage equality bill that failed the state senate in his home state last year, and could come for another vote as soon as early 2011.
"The election heralded a desire in the conference -- the highest governing body of the U.S. Catholic Church -- for more aggressive, outspoken leadership on hot-button social issues, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a scholar at Georgetown University," the Post reported.
For the position of vice president, the conference chose Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, who leads the bishops' ad hoc committee to oppose marriage equality.