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Commentator sees USCCB election as defeat for 'seamless garment' approach

Catholic World News - November 17, 2010

Reflecting on the upset election of New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the US bishops' conference, George Neumayr of Catholic World Report sees the vote as continuation of a long contest for control of USCCB policy.

In the 1980s, Neumayr recalls, New York's Cardinal John O'Connor pushed for a clear focus on the fight against abortion, while Chicago's Cardinal Joseph Bernardin preferred the "seamless garment" approach, in which abortion was only one of a number of issues to be weighed in political discussions. For years the "seamless garment" approach has had the upper hand in USCCB discussions-- reflecting the dominance enjoyed by the late Cardinal Bernardin and his allies. But now Bishop Kicanas, a Bernardin protégé, has been defeated by Cardinal O'Connor's successor in New York.

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