MILWAUKEE - Cardinal Timothy Dolan charmed a big crowd at the Milwaukee Theater Thursday night. There were cheers and laughter, but there was also a serious side to his speech.
11 years after being named Milwaukee’s Archbishop and 50 pounds heavier he would add, Cardinal Dolan was back in a city he now misses since moving to New York in 2009.
“Yeah, I might be in the Big Apple but you know what, nothing goes better with an apple than a piece of Wisconsin cheddar,” Dolan said as the crowd laughed.
He joked that being on stage at the Milwaukee Theater reminded him of being at Radio City Music Hall.
“Now maybe Archbishop Listecki and Cardinal Harvey and I will do a Rockettes imitation,” said Dolan.
But Dolan didn’t come to Milwaukee to dance or dance around the issues facing Catholics.
“For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States people are identifying themselves as ex-Catholics,” said Dolan.
He conceded the church is flawed, but called on Catholics who may feel defeated to be apologetics or defenders of the faith.
“I mean a humbled, cheerful, confident, rational grounding in our Catholic faith with an ability to defend stupid attacks.”
It was Cardinal Dolan who started the Pallium Lectures ten years ago as Archbishop of Milwaukee. This time Dolan was the guest speaker and 4,000 came to hear him talk. It was the largest crowd ever for a Pallium Lecture.
Bob Lynch was in the audience and like what he heard. ”He made you search inside and look for that next level to grow to.”
Jennifer Lowery was also inspired. “As a youth minister I really took a lot away from the talk especially his focus on apologetics and how important it is to educate our young people properly."
Also in the audience was Milwaukee-born Cardinal James Harvey, making this the first time anyone can remember having two Princes of the church in Milwaukee at the same time.