WASHINGTON — America's Roman Catholic bishops elected a moderate St. Louis archbishop to head their national organization today, with a conservative cardinal finishing second.
The election of Archbishop John L. May, 64, followed the group's tradition of elevating its vice president when the three-year term of the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops expires.
However, it took the bishops two ballots to elect May, who won 164-90 on the second ballot over Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.
In the vice presidential election that followed, the bishops elected Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, a moderate pragmatist, over the more conservative Law by a 159-116 vote. Today's voting had been expected to give at least some indication of how the bishops' national organization is feeling about the last year's crackdown by Pope John Paul II and other church leaders in Rome.