NEW YORK -- Interview: Edward Cardinal Egan
DAVID USHERY, host:
Two weeks ago, Edward Cardinal Egan celebrated midnight Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Was it his last? As shepherd of the estimated two and a half million Catholics in the New York Archdiocese. The cardinal turned 75 in April and is required to submit his resignation to the pope, who can either accept or reject it. Does the cardinal want to stay? And will a scathing letter attributed to an anonymous priest have an impact? In a rare sit-down interview, we will ask Cardinal Egan about retirement, controversy, and a spiritual message for 2007. Next, on a special edition of NEWS FORUM. ...
Cardinal EGAN: The lows, I would say would be for me, I wish that our vocations were growing faster. We're doing well in comparison with others, but our need is tremendous and I'm very happy this is the first year class of theology, the finally four years, is big. I'm happy that the numbers going into pretheology is also growing, but I would just beg families and young men to think about handing their lives over to the Lord and the church and joining us in our seminary. We have a wonderful, wonderful seminary system. We need priests, and I would say the lowest of the low of the year was that I didn't have more to ordain. I think we had one of the largest classes in the country, but still, nowhere near what we need. Another
low, I'm sure, is one that you want to mention, that was mentioned in the introduction. Somebody, maybe a layman, wrote an anonymous letter and put it on a blog in Philadelphia. And the news media in New York obsessed on it for a week. And they even bring it up again in Newsweek a month later and so forth. I regret that it was treated that way. I don't think that that kind of thing would've been treated that way for any other institution. Maybe I'm wrong. But even that's behind us. The priests were wonderful, as you know. They immediately came in, the Priests Council, which is an elected council and supported me completely. And I'm very, very happy that we can now put this behind us. An anonymous letter on a blog in Philadelphia and we obsess on it, it's not good.
USHERY: You responded in Catholic New York, and it was seen as an intense response. And you also felt that the priests who had gone through this process thought it might have been attributed to a priest who might have been accused of or charged with sexual abuse. They--they're somewhat shielded, the archdiocese can respond, and you said you were going to institute a new policy on that. Are you...
Cardinal EGAN: Anybody that feels that he's been unjustly treated, come forward, make your case before three vicars and three members of the Priests Council, and then we'll tell the story as we know it. And no one has come forward. There's been no injustice of any kind.
USHERY: All right, Cardinal. Well, we have to take a break. When we come back, we'll talk about other issues. There's also a little follow-up on this and the cardinal's relationship with the media, and also, retirement, that word that we keep hearing. Stay with us.