Pew News . . .

By Michael Sneed
Chicago Sun-Times Columnist
January 21, 2003

Dateline: The Holy Hot Water Line--New York's Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who hails from Chicago, "is puzzling," said Judge Anne M. Burke, who is a member of the lay review board investigating the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

"Cardinal Egan's behavior is puzzling, to say the least," Burke told Sneed . . . stemming from reports Egan dissed the law board, which met in New York last week.

"[Egan] said he wasn't willing to meet the lay review board in New York and refused to say mass for the board . . . or even offer them a cup of tea during their visit," said a top source.

"[Egan] also said he didn't want that 'FBI lady' [former FBI honcho Kathleen McChesney, who heads the board's office of child and youth protection] in New York and his archdiocese."

"[Egan] also turned his back on Burke and McChesney at the Knights of Malta [an ancient society of powerful lay Catholics, including Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Anne Burke, who help the sick and the dying] at their dinner in New York," the source added. "The guy is an egomaniac from the old school who wants to do things his way."

Sneed hears Egan, whose behavior was reported to Rome last week, did finally agree to meet this week with attorney Bob Bennett, a member of the lay review board who heads a committee trying to determine--via interviews with cardinals and bishops--how the church got into this mess.

Maybe this excerpt from a letter sent by a Knight of Malta to Sneed on Monday sheds a little light.

"I had a good chuckle when I read the item about his eminence Edward Cardinal Egan in your column today. I laugh because what are the big boys going to do to him? Besides you must remember that His Eminence's imperious attitude was undoubtedly learned from the same aristocratic European prelates to whom the little law busybodies reported him. (I don't personally approve of his attitude but merely see it as the way things are.)

"As a fellow Catholic, I am sure you recall that our church is not a democracy, but a kingdom with princes and dominions. The Catholic Church is easily the most successful and long-lived institution the world has ever known. I think it is we in the U.S.A. who are the arrogant ones when we assume that our way of doing things is the right way."



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