What Would John Tracy Ellis Do?

During the coffee break, everyone was trying to discern the ideological significance of the just concluded elections. General agreement that some bishops, especially the younger ones, did not like the idea that the VP automatically gets promoted. Some younger bishops were not in the assembly three years ago.

Also, general agreement that Dolan's personality is so winning, he was broadly acceptable to the entire conference. One of the things that has long been told to me about Cardinal George applies equally to Archbishop Dolan: Everyone trusts him to keep the conference together, to listen to all voices and make sure no one feels like they "lost."

Dolan is not a fire-breathing conservative. Had Archbishop Chaput won the presidency or the vice-presidency, that would have been a signal that the bishops as a whole wanted to move in certain ideological direction. Dolan's election does not suggest such a shift.

One other thing to remember about Dolan. He was a student of Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, the noted and much beloved church historian who was also my mentor. Ellis had both a keen sense of the dynamics of the Church through history, and an equally sure grasp of the dominant currents in American public life. In his later years, he took a year to teach at Dunwoodie and became very close with Cardinal John O'Connor whom Msgr. admiringly called "a lion." I suspect that were he here today he would see some of that personal dynamism in the man who now sits on the archiepiscopal throne at St. Patrick's.

Don't miss a thing! Get NCR's free newsletter.

At the USCCB headquarters, where the staff must wonder what the new regime will bring, look for many to be asking: What Would Ellis Do?

Maybe they will make WWJTED? bracelets.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017