Just inside the heavy front door of the 19th-century neo-Gothic mansion at 452 Madison Avenue, the official residence of Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, rests a telling clue about the resident’s personality. Perched on a tray atop a side table in the entry hall is the scarlet red biretta placed on Dolan’s head by the pope last month when Dolan was elevated to the College of Cardinals in Rome. Next to it sits another scarlet hat—a ball cap bearing the insignia of Dolan’s beloved St. Louis baseball team. “I don’t know all the protocol,” Dolan says. “I was told I was supposed to place the Cardinal hat by the entrance, so …”
Dolan may have been reared in suburban St. Louis, but he was born for Broadway. An outsize personality of great mirth, and ample girth (“His Immensity,” the priests sometimes affectionately called him), Dolan became a celebrity the moment he arrived in New York, in 2009. The 10th archbishop of American Catholicism’s marquee archdiocese seemed to understand that New York would embrace a prelate who loved to crack wise, welcomed a media scrum, and didn’t have to fake an interest in the Bronx Bombers (the Yankees have asked him to throw out the first pitch on opening day).
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