New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, effectively making him the country's senior Catholic leader.
Dolan's election is considered an upset. He defeated a vice president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who was widely expected to win the job. Dolan received 54 percent of the vote, while Kicanas won 46 percent on the third round of balloting.
It's the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice president was on the ballot for president and lost. The move follows protests by some conservative Catholics against Kicanas, of Tuscon, Arizona.
The 60-year-old Dolan has been archbishop in New York since 2009, when he was installed as Archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI. Previously, he led the archdiocese in Milwaukee. He was ordained as a priest in 1976.
Dolan was recently passed over by the Vatican for elevation to cardinal — but he's considered likely to earn the "red hat" in the future, since all of his immediate predecessors in St. Patrick's Cathedral have been cardinals.
The USCCB's stated purpose "is to promote the greater good which the church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place." According to the USCCB, that includes religious, charitable and educational work.