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This past weekend, the Diocese of Bismarck hosted THIRST , a eucharistic conference for the Year of Faith in support of the New Evangelization. Cardinal Dolan addressed the conference on Saturday morning after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Mary , which sponsored his appearance.

The affable, avuncular Cardinal Dolan had many kind things to say about the University of Mary and the Diocese of Bismarck (and many humorous things to say about Irishmen, North Dakota, and some of his brother priests and bishops in attendance). Of wider interest, however, are his remarks regarding recent Roman pontiffs, in which he appropriated elements of classic theological anthropology to suggest John Paul II was like the soul, Benedict XVI like the mind, and Francis like the heart. The schema is helpful, I think, as a framework for reading these recent popes in terms of continuity while recognizing the distinctive character of each man. Cardinal Dolan has adumbrated this schema before in print , but the oral presentation affords him the opportunity to discuss each pontiff in significant detail.

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