Egan Quiet on Turmoil

By Gary Stern
The Journal News [New York]
Downloaded June 18, 2003

Cardinal Edward Egan plans no public statement on the resignation of Frank Keating, head of the Catholic Church's self-appointed review board investigating the sex-abuse scandal, his spokesman said.

But Egan has cooperated fully with the review board, despite a steady stream of media reports to the contrary, said the spokesman, Joseph Zwilling.

Egan, the normally tight-lipped Archbishop of New York, has said little publicly about the review board's work. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles called for Keating's resignation after Keating, in an interview, compared secretive bishops to the mafia.

Zwilling said Egan will share his thoughts with his fellow bishops when they begin meeting tomorrow in St. Louis.

"Anything to be said would be said to the other bishops," Zwilling said.

Egan has been widely criticized for not cooperating with the review board in January, specifically for not celebrating Mass for the board and for prohibiting the board from attending a Knights of Malta dinner in Manhattan.

Zwilling said that Egan could not celebrate Mass because of a previous engagement, and that Egan believed that the Knights of Malta meeting would be ruined by media attention if the full board attended.

Zwilling said that review board members leaked supposed conflicts to the media because they believed that Egan had not responded to a meeting request. In fact, Zwilling said, the board did not receive Egan's quick reply because they had given him an incorrect return address.

When Egan did meet with the board in Washington, D.C., he spent an entire morning and answered all questions, Zwilling said.

Zwilling would not say whether the archdiocese has cooperated with the review board's national survey of dioceses, which Mahony has boycotted.

David Cerulli, New York director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he did not believe Egan had cooperated with the investigation.

"Egan refuses to even acknowledge the value of the investigation," Cerulli said. "I'm sure whatever cooperation they gave was grudging and the bare minimum."


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