Cardinal Egan is a disgrace

Cardinal Egan is a disgrace February 8, 2012

A decade after his apology for his disgusting handling of sex abuse in his diocese, he now rescinds the apology and declares his work “incredibly good”. He is, not to put too fine a point on it, a liar, as Michael Brendan Dougherty documents thoroughly.

“I never had one of these sex abuse cases.” he said, before adding  pompously, “If you have another bishop in the United States who has the record I  have, I’d be happy to know who he is.” He also claimed that the Church had no  obligation to report abuse to the civil authorities.

These are lies, strutting around with pride.

The Church is required to report abuse, according to laws on the books  since the 1970s.

Bishop Egan ran a diocese that was notoriously dangerous for children.  Contrary to his claim, during his twelve-year enthronement at Bridgeport, Egan  repeatedly failed to investigate priests where there were obvious signs of abuse,  according to The Hartford Courant. His diocese had to settle the cases and  awarded victims some $12-15 million in damages.

Here is just one incredible case of negligence. According to  the Hartford Courant, in 1990, Egan received a memo about “a  developing pattern of accusations” that Rev. Charles Carr of Norwalk had fondled  young boys. Egan kept Carr working for another five years, only suspending him  after a lawsuit was filed, and then in 1999 making him a chaplain at Danbury’s  hospital.

How about another? The Connecticut Post also  reported that early in his reign, dozens of people came forward  to accuse Rev. Raymond Pcolka of Greenwich of sexual abuse and violence against  children. Egan claimed that the accusers were never “proved” to be telling the  truth. Well, Egan never even bothered to interview them and kept Pcolka in  ministry.

Do men like this not fear God?  What is the matter with him?  Is such narcissism really possible?  God deliver us from such shepherds.

"Hey Mark! You got $250 mil laying around?"

The Feast of the Holy Child ..."
"I have had a question for quite a while, and since your comment is quite ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"Mark, in charity, perhaps you should try. It's clear how frustrated you are. And it ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."
"The whole course of Christianity from the first ... is but one series of troubles ..."

Where Peter Is has a nice ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matthew

    St. John Vianney: ” A sure sign that God is angry with His People is when He delivers them into the hands of an evil clergy.”

  • He could be losing his mind with his old age.

  • “Do men like this not fear God? What is the matter with him? Is such narcissism really possible?”

    Good questions. I’ve another. How did such a man rise up and become a prince of the Church?

    • Mark Shea

      Presumably by navigating a bureaucratic system that is not keyed to screen for qualities like narcissism.

      • Oregon Catholic

        It actually seems to select for CEO type traits, of which egomania and narcissism are two.

  • FrMichael

    Matthew, did St. John Vianney say that? I thought it was St. John Eudes. Either way, I don’t have a specific citation, so maybe someone can provide one. And either way, the saying is deadly accurate. Despite the leviathans slowly rising out of the muck over the HHS decision, we are in a world of hurt in the US with clueless bishops and lethargic priests. God, I wish to belief, help me in my unbelief!

  • Chris

    Power corrupts. Many saints dreaded the thought of being given authority, knowing the heavy burden and the extraordinary accountability attached. I also recall Pope Benedict XVI remarking that, upon his election, he felt as if he were placed beneath a guillotine.

    This is why it is so important to pray for the clergy at all levels. and all religious. These are the big-game kills for the Enemy. He doesn’t care about the Warren Buffets and Barbara Boxers of the world. He wants our clergy, our families, and especially our children…

  • Let us tread carefully here, especially my fellow Catholics. It may not be prudent for us to criticize the successors to the apostles in this fashion. My two talents…

    • Mark Shea

      Perhaps if this successor to the apostles did not lie to us about the child abusers he protected and the children he endangered, the criticism would cease.

      • While a valid concern, it is hardly the point, Mr. Shea. Please proceed with caution.

        • Robert


          If condemning this lying, evil, despicable excuse of a “man of God” condemns me to Hell, I’ll see you there!

          • And the fruits of this tactic are laid bare…

    • Joseph

      Sheesh, I guess Dante was doomed then. If you haven’t read “The Inferno”, I think you should. It was never a book that was banned by the Church (not that I know of). In fact, from what I understand, it’s required reading for most Catholic schools. What Mark has said about Egan is O’douls to Dante’s Guinness.

      • I am sorry. I have not read that one. Did Dante name names in his book? Did he participate in public criticism of particular individuals of the college of cardinals? My daughter is currently reading Dante. Perhaps I shall ask her.

        • Dan

          Yep. He named names as he was passing by them in Hell. It’s a good read.

          • Even so. We would be better if we would measure our words more carefully when participating in public criticism especially when directed towards our bishops. My two talents.

            • Mark Shea

              I don’t know a polite way to say, “Cardinal Egan is either suffering from advanced dementia or lying.” If the former, then whoever is responsible for his care needs to do a much better job in warding off the press, since what he said is documentably false. If the latter, then Cardinal Egan is a liar. How should we sugar coat that?

              • “He who is without sin…”

                Seriously, if it were me, I would examine first my motivations for making such statements in the first. What is it that I hope to achieve?

                • Mark Shea

                  I hope to achieve the cleansing of the Church of horrible selfish prelates who think first of themselves and their narcissistic needs and last of the children they allowed to be victimized. Preferably I want the cleansing to happen through repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

                  • A worthy reason indeed! Is this format a good vehicle for such an end?

                    • Mark Shea


                • Joseph

                  Like I said, read “The Inferno”. I don’t see an issue with Mark Shea’s commentary.

                  • And generally, neither do I. However, when directing such criticism at the object chosen, I recommend caution. That is all.

                • Mike

                  Raul, you are being silly. Why frequent blogs if you are so frightened of opinion? No one here is being heavy handed in their judgments. Given the moral wrongs committed and the evidence, I think the commenters here are treading very lightly.

                  • “If, therefore, you wish to place your enemy in the wrong, beware of accusing him; nay, plead for him, he will be sure to find himself guilty.” -St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Acts 7

              • Jared
        • Joseph

          There was even a ring of hell purely devoted to the Church’s simoniacs… not to mention the sprinkling of prelates that he passed by from top to bottom.

    • There’s a distinction between the office of the bishop and the mortal man who holds that office.

      Mark (as are others) is severe in his criticism of the man because this man betrays so high an office.

      Note that Mark does not attack Egan’s authority to teach or preach the Gospel, nor the authority he had while governing his flock. Rather, he attacks the way Egan (ab)used this authority, and the damage that this abuse does to the dignity of the office of bishop.

      This distinction is critical, not only for critiquing clergy, but also for critiquing political figures — I do not disrespect the office of President by calling Obama (or Bush, for that matter) out on his abuse of Presidential authority — or members of any class or group. The office is one thing, the office-holder is another. The higher the office, the higher the responsibility that the holder must bear, and the higher the standard that he should be held to.

    • I believe it was John Chrysostom who said the road to hell is decorated with bishops’ skulls, or something to that effect.

      I am not a guy that enjoys criticizing the bishops, and I am over the “me versus the US hierarchy” attitude I had from about 2005-2009. However, this interview is seriously scandalous, and I think Mark was right to write this.

    • fester60613

      Imprudent? How imprudent?
      Is God going to come down and smack me because I “criticize the successors to the apostles” AT ALL? Pray, what special provenance do thee successors claim that obviates criticism?
      Is there some special privilege given to the members of the college of cardinals so that they can righteously sexually abuse little kids?
      It seems that God were any sort of god worthy of worship He should have taken care of these purported successors Himself, rather than leaving it to man-made justice!
      Prudence indeed! >Snort<

  • Bubbles the Terrible

    But…but…Mr. Wonderful, Archbishop Dolan said Egan did nothing wrong. He said, “During his tenure as Bishop of Bridgeport (and later as Archbishop of New York), Bishop Egan aggressively investigated and properly dealt with all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests.”

    Surely Archbishop Dolan wasn’t trying to disinfect yet another bishops diseased reputation. Oh no! Surely Not!

    • Confederate Papist

      Wow. I guess you got us on this one.

      Where can I find the nearest cliff to jump off of? How can anyone deal with this type of logic?

      Academia must be soooo proud of you.

      • Bubbles the Terrible

        Huh? I’m sorry but I’m just going to need a little more than that to understand your point?

        • Confederate Papist

          Sorry….I detected smugness. If I am incorrect I will gladly retract my statement and apologise.

          • Robert

            “I’m not familiar with the extent of the interview, but all I know is I’m grateful for what Cardinal Egan did here,” said Dolan. “The Cardinal was kind enough to share with me the rather strong statement he made that I thought was right on target about his own record, that in my mind is very good, and secondly, his sensitivity toward the suffering that some of the victims experienced.” Apparently, in the mind of this “man of God,” only “some of the victims” experienced suffering. The rest, apparently, enjoyed it. The sensitivity and accountability of the Roman Catholic church and its leaders is truly a wonder to behold.

      • Dan C

        Let me be clear then. Dolan lacks the fortitude to criticize a peer. Such habits will not advance Dolan in the Church and serves Dolan’s worldview. I’ve seen it in Rigali. Chaput too is very obtuse in his conversations about the past.

        Dolan will protect Egan from criticism.

        That is part of the culture of the hierarchy that will only ensure the problems of fiscal accountability and sex abuse continue to plague the Church.

        The hierarchy, even the disgraced hierarchy, is above criticism or reproach in its decisions by those beneath them.

        It is a deformation of the truth of this Holy Order.

    • Joseph

      I’m trying to give Dolan the benefit of the doubt… basically making the classic political statement one makes when they assume the position of their predecessor. Even Obama had his wonderful photo ops with, what appeared to be, his best friend Dubya.

      • Robert

        You Catholics have spent far too many decades giving your leaders “the benefit of the doubt.” I, for one, am absolutely sick of it, and it is LONG PAST TIME TO DRAW THE LINE with these sick men. Enough is enough. No more “benefit of the doubt.” Time to put up or just shut up, as supposed men of morals and “God’s will.” Enough. Just enough!!! When do you stop defending what is utterly INDEFENSIBLE??? Even God must weep for you — but first for your innocent, vulnerable victims.

        • Chris M

          Justice for the victims isn’t served by committing injustice against another. Even if it makes us feel more righteous by doing so.

          By all means, hold those who committed and knowingly or neglectfully enabled these horrific sins pay the penalty. But let us seek justice and not vengeance.

          • Chris M

            should read “hold those who committed and knowingly or neglectfully enabled these horrific sins accountable and have them pay the penalty”

  • Joannie

    Bishops are not exempt from constructive criticism when the the situation calls for it or telling the truth about them. Like certain other people have said the actions (and lack of action) of many Bishops and even priests and cardinals have gotten us in the current situation in the Church mostly after Vatican II and after 1968 when Pope Paul issued “Humanae Vitae” when a great many Bishops (like in Winnipeg) put out there Statements which are really DISSENT rather than ASSENT which the Council Documents called for. Hopefully the coming generations of younger priests and bishops will bode well for the faithful and the Church because the older ones were the ones responsible for the mess we are currently in with the current Federal Government who many bishops coddled.

  • Matthew

    Another quotation springs to mind: “The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” St. Jerome

    • northcoast

      Anybody know what he meant? I can understand the good intentions thing, but this just goes right over my head.

      • Jennifer

        Um, perhaps that there were many bishops deservedly in Hell?

  • Ed Mechmann

    In fairness to the Cardinal, perhaps people should take a look at the statement he released about this matter, explaining things in his own words, and not through the filter of a reporter:

    I have to add something more as a matter of justice. I worked closely and personally with the Cardinal for over five years on the child protection programs of the Archdiocese of New York. You could not have had a more supportive, committed bishop. He was absolutely dedicated to the full and vigorous implementation of the Bishops’ Charter, and to the protection of children. I was not directly involved in clergy cases, but from what I saw, his handling of them in the Archdiocese was exemplary. I know from first-hand experience that his handling of cases with non-clergy offenders was absolutely appropriate. The only complaints that I heard during that time about the Cardinal was that he was too rigorous — an assessment with which I utterly disagree. He was a real leader in our Archdiocese in the protection of children — we couldn’t have asked for a bishop to handle it better than he did.

    Without a doubt, this issue brings up strong feelings. But in public comments on the actions and character of a Bishop of our Church, may I suggest that people take a look at Catechism 2478 and think about it before commenting? That section says:

    “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: ‘Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.’ [quoting St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises]”

    • Jennifer

      I’ve read Cardinal Egan’s press release, which you link to. He says, “In neither [of two faith communities] was there ever even one known case of the sexual abuse of a minor by a priest throughout my tenure.”

      But the widely reported evidence (cited above in the Business Insider article, among other places) is that this is a lie. There WERE multiple reports of sexual abuse during his tenure, and Egan knew of them, and failed to act to protect the innocent.

      I have no personal knowledge of Egan or the RC community he oversaw; apparently you do. So I am puzzled by your comment. What is it you are saying? That the court findings and news reports are false? That we should take Egan’s word for it? I don’t get your point.

  • Andy

    I just read about the Vatican Sex Abuse Conference in which one of the “lines of thought” is that Bishops must take responsibility for the behaviors of their priests and not take a hierarchical approach or a strictly canon law approach. I guess that Egan and Dolan have missed that idea. It is sad – at a time when the Catholic Church in America needs leaders to see Dolan response to what is at best a statement of an out-of-touch prelate and then attempt to lead on morality. Damn, I do not know either men, but I do know that when leaders of organizations act to cover their own tracks the organization is headed for larger and larger problems – whether sexual in nature, monetary in nature, or in helping to shape moral beliefs. It is this behavior that makes it easy for Catholics of all stripes to walk away from the entirety of Catholic teaching and focus only on what makes them feel good.

  • Ronald King

    From the DSM-IV a narcissistic personality disorder exhibit five or more of the following:
    1 has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    2 is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, pwer, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
    3 believes that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    4 requires excessive admiration
    5 has a sense of entitlement
    6 is interpersonally exploitative
    7 lacks empathy
    8 is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
    9 shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    As for criticizing the hierarchy, here is a quote attributed to St. Catherine of Siena written to Cardinals in Rome, “You are flowers that shed no perfume, but a stench that makes the whole world reek.” To Pope Gregory IX when in exile in France she wrote “Be a man! Father, arise! I am telling you!”-from My Life With The Saints by James Martin, SJ

    • Carbon Monoxide

      Are you talking about Egan or Obama 😉

      • Ronald King

        I think there are more than two of them:)

  • Robert

    By Annysa Johnson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 9, 2012:

    “Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims’ attorney said Thursday.

    “Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.

    “Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests speculated that some are likely members of religious orders, such as Capuchins or Franciscans. Order officials do not typically make public the names of their accused members, and the archdiocese claims it is not responsible for them, though they have historically helped to staff its parishes and schools.

    “‘This is a public safety crisis, a child safety crisis that needs to be investigated,’ Isely said at a news conference on the federal courthouse steps, surrounded by fellow survivors and reporters.

    “‘We need to know who they are and where they are. How can there be 8,000 crimes committed by over 100 offenders and there be no accountability?’ he said.


    The Archdiocese has now filed for bankruptcy in an effort to avoid paying the 8,000 victims they’ve been purposefully hiding from police, and is arguing that the statute of limitations has passed for bringing fraud charges, even though the church has deliberately hidden incriminating information from police and victims for the past decade.

    Further, the lion’s share of child-rape in the Milwaukee Archdiocese and the subsequent protection of pedophile priests went on under the leadership of then Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy Dolan. Demonstrating its ongoing arrogance and lack of accountability, the RCC is soon the elevate this “man of God” to a Cardinal. Seriously.

    It’s not just Cardinal Egan who is a disgrace. I honestly can’t humanly comprehend how any Catholic can sit idly by and continue to support this sick order of child molestors AND THEIR GOD DAMNED PROTECTORS and still look themselves in the mirror every morning. “Catholic and Enjoying It” indeed! Bleccchhh.

  • fester60613

    As for Dolan: Where is the $130 million he purportedly hid during his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee? And why were the 8,000 abuse cases revealed in the Milwaukee diocese’s bankruptcy not documented previously?
    Dolan is a pompous ass, as is Egan for retracting an insincere apology, as is Benedict for NOT stopping the global abuse problem when he had the opportunity to do so.
    And surely the stain of these individuals’ wonton disregard of common human decency colors their apostolic ministries: How are we able to regard these apostolic institutions as pristine given the evidence of their wrongdoings?
    As nearly any parish priest will tell you, the hierarchy of the church is devoid of connection or understanding of ordinary parishoners.
    And I hold that the hierarchy of the church is corrupt beyond redemption for allowing these abuses to continue, for looking the other way, for claiming victims are whiners, for FAILING to see that its actions hurt the very individuals it is supposed to protect.
    Filthy and degenerate, rotten to the core.

  • What is wrong with telling truthful things about a person to third parties that were previously unknown?

    See further the sins related to gossip, x-ref James 3:6. Also, Tolkien “…even the very wise cannot see all ends.”