Friday, October 13, 2006

Cardinal Egan Responds to the Letter

New York, Oct. 13 ( - New York's Cardinal Edward Egan has called a special meeting of the archdiocesan priests' council, in response to the circulation of a letter from priests sharply criticizing his leadership.

A group identifying itself only as the "Committee of Concerned Clergy" has sent a letter to all the priests of the New York archdiocese, urging them to join in a vote of "no confidence" in Cardinal Egan. The letter complains that the cardinal's attitude toward his priests has been "defined by dishonesty, deception, disinterest, and disregard."

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling told the New York Daily News that Cardinal Egan had summoned the members of the priests' council to a Monday-morning meeting "to avoid any harm that could arise from such an anonymous letter."

The unsigned letter from the Committee of Concerned Clergy-- which carries a return address of 1011 First Avenue, the address of the archdiocesan chancery building-- urges priests to make their feelings known in order to encourage the Vatican to accept Cardinal Egan's resignation promptly next year, when he reaches the age of 75. "The search for a new archbishop should begin sooner rather than later," the letter argues.

Although the authors of the letter made their complaints anonymously, dissatisfaction appears to be widespread in the New York archdiocese, with priests complaining of the cardinal's autocratic management style. Cardinal Egan has also been criticized for an absence of public leadership-- especially in contrast with his predecessor, the late Cardinal John O'Connor, who drew constant attention from the mass media.

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