THE MOST INFLUENTIAL OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE IRISH CATH- olic religion in the United States does not even have an Irish name, though his association with things Irish is indisputable. Nor is he a prelate in the ordinary sense of the word, not a cardinal and not a bishop, not even a monsignor. Fulton Sheen is dead. Francis J. Spellman is dead. Richard Cushing is dead. The Irish-American cardinals at the time of this writing-Los Angeles's Manning, Chicago's Cody, St. Louis's Carberry--have little impact on the Church outside of their own dioceses and lack both the charisma and the force of character to represent Catholic religion, most Catholic laity, or people outside the Church. Indeed, the first three presidents of the American hierarchy in the reorganization after the Second Vatican Council were Welsh ( Deadan), Polish ( Krol), and Italian ( Bernardin). The fourth president, San Francisco's John Raphael Quinn, was the first Irish American to be elected, though Quinn himself repeatedly discounts the importance of the ethnic factor in his background.
The most influential Irish Catholic priest in America, both inside and outside the Church, is Notre Dame's President Theodore M. Hesburgh, for thirty years the man behind the Fighting Irish. In every presidential administration for two of those three decades,