HUBERTUS -- Even before he was installed as Milwaukee's Archbishop, there was a sense among Catholics that Timothy Dolan would not be in Milwaukee long, and they were right. Saturday, April 28th, Cardinal Dolan made a trip back to Milwaukee and held Mass at Holy Hill -- his first trip back since he was elevated to Cardinal. FOX6's Ted Perry sat down with Dolan for a one-on-one interview before he celebrated Mass.
CLICK THE VIDEO LINK BELOW to see Ted Perry's FULL interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
62-year-old Timothy Dolan bursts into a room the way he arrived in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee 10 years ago. Early on, he spoke with the optimism that Catholics had longed to hear and even then, was downplaying his imminent rise. Back in 2002, Dolan said he was going to die in Milwaukee, and this weekend, he said he meant it. "I was relishing spending the rest of my life in Milwaukee because I loved it here," Dolan said.
Dolan's critics say he didn't do enough to move along the healing process regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal - a point Dolan concedes, but not for lack of effort. More recent sore points for Catholics are changes to the Mass, which many find simply unnecessary, and a recent rebuke of Catholic nuns by the Vatican for straying from church doctrine.
"From the beginning, what do you see? That the church had challenges, difficulties, people leaving, divisions, dissents, wrong teaching. We've seen it since the beginning," Dolan said.
Dolan's call to New York in 2009 and elevation to Cardinal this year have made him the most important Catholic voice in America. It has brought a very public battle with the White House over the boundaries of religion and government. It landed Dolan on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. Dolan used his two minutes at the Time Magazine party to speak about his biggest influence - Jesus.
"I would say a big chunk of that room was non believers, not Christian, but heck, you should have known if you're asking me to give a toast to the most influential person in my life and if he ain't it, I'm in big trouble, and so is the Diocese of New York," Dolan said.
While not afraid to take a stand in politics, Dolan opted not to comment on Wisconsin's current recall elections, citing a personal friendship with Governor Scott Walker, but Dolan did chime in on the Brookfield mosque debate. "We're Americans. As Catholics we felt the sting the other way, so now I think we need to be in the forefront. I would defend their right to (build the mosque)," Dolan said.
Dolan is not without critics. Even many Catholics think he's too far right in many social issues, but even those who disagree can't help but find him eminently agreeable and joyful. "We humans are great at finding substitutes for God, and God keeps forgiving and keeps saying 'you don`t get it.' Seek ye first the kingdom of God as Jesus said and everything else will work out," Dolan said.
Dolan is not from Milwaukee, and he is not likely to ever live in Milwaukee again, but surely he takes something from the seven years he spent as Milwaukee's Archbishop. "I'd say a good 35 to 40 pounds. If you look at the tape, you can see what Wisconsin has done," Dolan said.