A "humbled" Archbishop Timothy Dolan said Friday his elevation to cardinal by Pope Benedict is more of an honor for New York than for himself.
One of 22 newly named cardinals from around the world, Dolan was the only one representing an Archdiocese in the United States. One other American, the former archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin O'Brien, who heads the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, was also promoted.
Dolan's elevation means that New York will have a cardinal for the first time since 2009, when Edward Cardinal Egan stepped down.
Eighteen of the new cardinals including Dolan, 61, are under 80, young enough to be eligible to enter a secret conclave of cardinals that will choose the next pope after Benedict dies.
"Yes, I'm honored, humbled and grateful. But let's be frank. This is not about Timothy Dolan. This is an honor from the Holy Father to the archdiocese of New York," Dolan told a news conference after morning Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"It's almost as if Pope Benedict XVI is putting the red hat of the cardinal on the top of the Empire State Building or upon the Statue of Liberty or home plate at Yankee Stadium or on the spires of this great St. Patrick's Cathedral," Dolan said.
The Archdiocese of New York, with some 2.6 million members, has been at the center of heated policy battles within the U.S. Roman Catholic community, particularly in the 1980s and '90s over the church's position on homosexuality and AIDS education.
By being named cardinal, Dolan follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, including Edward Cardinal Egan, John Cardinal O'Connor, Terence Cardinal Cooke and Francis Cardinal Spellman, all of whom were elevated to cardinal.
Dolan was named archbishop of New York in 2009 after serving as the archbishop of Milwaukee. (Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Greg McCune)
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