Archbishop-designate William E. Lori of Bridgeport, who was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, shares his thoughts on religious liberty, hard work, happiness, and his "dialed down" personality in an interview with David Gibson on Religion New Service:
Quiet and soft-spoken, Lori nonetheless brings a single-minded focus to defending sacred principles while also deploying the kind of double-edged humor that a religious leader needs to do battle in the public square. He can be sharp to the point of sarcastic but also self-effacing in regards to his own career.
"They say timing is everything," Lori said with the quiet laugh of a man who tends to see the irony and absurdity of so many aspects of modern life.
Now, with the move to Baltimore -- the oldest archdiocese in the U.S. -- timing is again Lori's ally. At just 60 years old, his new post will put him that much closer to the action, and now he'll have a papal imprimatur to bring with him.
Unlike the gregarious Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lori is slightly-built and almost shy. He likes nothing more than reading history, and loves books so much that he named his pair of sibling Golden Retrievers "Barnes" and "Noble."
"I am dialed-down quite a bit from Cardinal Dolan, no doubt about that," Lori said during an interview in the chapel at Sacred Heart University.
Lori learned the virtue of hard work from his immigrant family, especially his Sicilian grandfather, who arrived in America in the depths of the Great Depression and managed to launch a successful fruit and vegetable store. Born in Louisville, Ky., and raised in nearby Indiana, Lori watched his grandfather work in his garden until he was 87, and it was a lesson he never forgot.
"I'm happy, and I love working," he said. "Happiness and hard work go hand in hand."
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