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New York Times slams Cardinal Egan

December 07, 2009

The New York Times has published an editorial sharply critical of Cardinal Edward Egan’s 1997 and 1999 depositions on the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Cardinal Egan served as Bishop of Bridgeport from 1988 until his transfer to New York in 2000. He was succeeded earlier this year by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

“In the end it was not the power of repentance or compassion that compelled the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., to release more than 12,000 pages of documents relating to lawsuits alleging decades of sexual abuse of children by its priests,” the editorial begins. “It was a court order … The accounts of priests preying on children, being moved among parishes and shielded by their bishops while their accusers were ignored or bullied into silence, are a familiar, awful story.”

The editorial continues:

But still it is hard not to feel a chill reading the testimony from two depositions given in 1997 and 1999 by Edward Egan, who was then bishop of Bridgeport and later named a cardinal and archbishop of New York. As he skirmishes with lawyers, he betrays a distressing tendency to disbelieve accusers and to shuck off blame.

He responds to accounts of abuse not with shame but skepticism, and exhibits the keen instinct for fraternal self-protection that reliably put shepherds ahead of the traumatized flock.

Referring to the Rev. Raymond Pcolka, whom 12 former parishioners accused of abuses involving oral and anal sex and beatings, Bishop Egan said: “I am not aware of those things. I am aware of the claims of those things, the allegations of those things. I am aware that there are a number of people who know one another, some are related to one another, have the same lawyers and so forth.”

Absent in those pages is a sense of understanding of the true scope of the tragedy. Compare Bishop Egan’s words with those of the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who, after the release of a recent report detailing years of abuse and cover-ups in Ireland, said:

“The sexual abuse of a child is and always was a crime in civil law; it is and always was a crime in canon law; it is and always was grievously sinful. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the report is that while church leaders — bishops and religious superiors — failed, almost every parent who came to the diocese to report abuse clearly understood the awfulness of what was involved.”


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 22, 2009 6:19 PM ET USA

    The only possible reason (if any at all) for bishop Egan deposition is his total and absolute state of denial of the possibility that such conduct had ever happened. He adheres so totally to the impossibility that the accusations ever happened that he wants to project to the public and to himself that he is right in becoming the defender of those accused priests. Therein lies a deep ignorance of the power and reality of evil acting in the world so he is unfit to pastor his flock towards Jesus.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 10, 2009 5:39 AM ET USA

    Egan is exactly the personification of what's wrong with clerical leadership in the Catholic Church. He is cocooned, spoiled by deference, proud of his power, dismissive in his attitude, and brick cold in his affections. He has lost his moral sensitivity to the trappings of his office. There is an arrogance here that makes one shudder. Actually, what WOULD Jesus say to him about the harm done to his little ones by men like him? How does the church produce such men? What good do they serve?

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Dec. 07, 2009 3:47 PM ET USA

    Is this the day Hell freezes over? The day I agree with a Times editorial on the Catholic Church?