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The Cardinal’s Sins

Eminence Front-Runners
Six men who could be New York's next Cardinal.

1. Edwin O’Brien, 67
Archbishop of the Military Services of the United States
O’Brien was passed over in 2000 in favor of Egan, but his name frequently surfaces as a possible successor. A native New Yorker, he is now head of the military vicariate, the nonterritorial archdiocese that serves the spiritual needs of Catholic U.S. service personnel stationed around the world. While not an over-the-top presence, O’Brien has extensive seminary experience and powerful connections in Rome.

2. Timothy Dolan, 56
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Dolan is a mediagenic defender of orthodoxy who tows the Vatican line but doesn’t come off as stern. He’s long been considered a favorite for New York, owing to his Irish heritage and his experience as head of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. With connections to powerful prelates from the Tiber to the Hudson, Dolan is a something of an Establishment candidate.

3. Gerald Walsh, 64, and Dennis Sullivan, 61
New York auxiliary bishops
The clubhouse favorites among local priests. Both are New Yorkers from Irish working-class stock and have done their time in the vineyard of parish work rather than the libraries of Rome. Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, served for many years in the same Washington Heights parish where he grew up. Sullivan, the Bronx-born son of a cabdriver, toiled in the Bronx and Lower East Side. He knows how to lead a flock and manage a big operation; he oversaw the parish-reorganization effort for Egan. Both are considered long shots—auxiliary bishops are rarely promoted to cardinals in the same city.

4. Henry Mansell, 69
Archbishop of Hartford
The former auxiliary to O’Connor was reportedly on the terna last time around, while he was bishop of Buffalo, but instead was sent to Hartford in 2003. A New Yorker by birth, Mansell is popular with the clergy and is seen as a safe choice.

5. Roberto Octavio González Nieves, 56
Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico
While the Catholic hierarchy is sorely in need of Latinos to minister to a flock that’s becoming steadily more Spanish-speaking, González—a New Jersey native—may also be tapped for the Southwest, where the need is greater. What’s more, Catholic power and money in New York still derive from the Church’s Irish roots; in 200 years, New York Catholics have had only one leader who was not of Irish stock, an ill-fated Frenchman in the early nineteenth century.