By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
In what shapes up as nearly a clean sweep for bishops with a Chicago connection, Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, was elected this morning to the office of secretary, one of five executive positions within the conference.
Though born in Camden, New Jersey, the Jesuit Murry served as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago from 1994 to 1998 under then-Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. He joins the new president of the conference, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and the new vice-president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, as conference officers with ties to the Windy City.
Murry defeated Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee by a narrow vote of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. That result could be interpreted as another indication, along with the election of Kicanas yesterday, that a centrist current among the bishops associated with the Bernardin legacy still commands a majority, albeit in this case a narrow one, within the conference.
Murry also previously served as bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands prior to his appointment to Youngstown.