Religion: Bishops' Bishop

New leader for U.S. Catholics

When young John Quinn decided to enter seminary, his mother recalls, "he made all the arrangements himself. The first I knew about it was when he brought me the papers for permission." Quinn was all of 14 at the time. With similar single-mindedness, he progressed through the ranks to become an archbishop at the relatively young age of 43. Last week in Washington, John Raphael Quinn, now 48, was elected president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops—in effect, leader of the nation's 49 million Roman Catholics.

Conservative Quinn, who succeeds Cincinnati's moderate Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, is best...

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