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February 8th, 2012
08:24 PM ET

Retired New York Cardinal Egan retracts apology on Catholic priest sex abuse

By Laura Batchelor, CNN

New York (CNN) - A decade after the sex abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church across the country, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his apology for how the church handled the issue.

In an interview published this week in Connecticut Magazine, Egan denies any sex abuse happened under his watch in Bridgeport, Connecticut, or in New York.

"I never had one of these sex abuse cases. ... Not one," he told the magazine. Referencing the apology he issued in 2002, Egan continued, "I should never have said that. I did say 'If we did anything wrong, I'm sorry,' but I don't think we did anything wrong."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests responded with a press release saying Egan was "unrepentant, self-absorbed and painfully dismissive of the abject suffering of tens of thousands."

"Most bishops have a dreadfully skewed and self-serving view of the crisis," the release said. "But most work very hard to conceal it."

Egan successor as archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, spoke briefly on the matter at a news conference in the city Wednesday. "I'm not familiar with the extent of the interview, but all I know is I'm grateful for what Cardinal Egan did here," he told reporters.

Brian Wallace, director of communication of the Bridgeport diocese, where Egan was bishop from 1988 to 2000, told CNN, "If there is one thing Catholics agree on, (it) is the abhorrence of child abuse, any form, and the need to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

The timing of Egan's comment coincides with the Vatican's four-day summit on the sex abuse scandal, titled "Towards Healing and Renewal."

CNN's senior Vatican analyst, John L. Allen Jr., says the attitude behind Egan's denial was in fashion 10 years ago but has been abandoned.

"Based upon this week's Vatican summit on sex abuse, the position that Egan expresses in the interview would not be in line with the positions of the Catholic Church," Allen said.

Egan also denied the church has a responsibly to report cases of abuse, telling Connecticut Magazine, "There really wasn't much in the way of (things being kept) hidden. I don't think even now you're obligated to report (abuse cases) in Connecticut."

That contrasts with a statement at this week's summit by the Vatican's chief prosecutor of sex abuse, who said the church has an obligation to report sex abuse.

"Egan is stuck in a mind set that just isn't the case any more," Allen said.

And Wallace told CNN, "We know the abuse was real and it happened. Catholics are united and it won't happen again."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • New York

soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. ODA155

    Maybe someone should bend his chubby ass over and give it to him like they did those little boys through the years... I think he might change his mind again.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • LaVey

      Well phrased.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  2. BADGUY

    What can ANYONE say to this? The Church Hierarchy is the "evil" of the Catholic Church. NOT the members, not even the parish priests. The EVIL is in the Church's Hierarchy, the same ones that want "special dispensation" not to PAY their employees the insurance premiums required

    February 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  3. Touchdown

    "I don't think even now you're obligated to report (abuse cases) in Connecticut." Seriously? Can anyone from Connecticut tell me how on earth he can even think such a thing? Part of the problem was the fact that so many priests and bishops didn't feel obligated to report child abuse to the police. They simply sent the abuser to another parish or to a retreat so they "reflect" on their actions. This is one sick bishop.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • DB

      Sometimes the statutes requiring people to report suspected child abuse specifically exempt the clergy. They did in Massachusetts, which is why Cardinal Law was never charged with a crime.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Touchdown

      Ah, so what he is saying could basically be true. How pathetically sad for the children. Thanks for the information.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Wholly Mary

    Gag me with a crucifix! And tell Santorum to shove it.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  5. longtooth

    I left the church at the age of fourteen. That was fifty years ago. My relationship with God is between Him and me.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • asda

      I bet you got a hotdog up the a$$ from the priest.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • lorne

      Or Her, or It.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Bill

      Asda – you are an A** hole.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  6. mullahfullahbullah

    The Catholic church hierarchy lost its credibility. They should have attacked these pedophiles with full venom by ex-communicating the low lifes and turning them over to the police. Instead they just shuffled the pedophiles around. What did they expect. Those hiding these child abusers are as guilty as those doing the infractions in my eyes. I am agnostic but hope to God there is a hell for these people.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  7. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Midwestmatt

      Wow...although I kind of agree with you on many points, I think you could have said it slightly less emphatically.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • atroy

      I'm an non-believer and don't believe that prayer has any power; but if others believe, why ridicule them unless you have some kind of personality disorder, which I highly suspect.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • mullahfullahbullah

      I am an agnostic but respect what people believe. Church or faith can be a good conduit for people and you know it. Does religion screw up, yes but the pros far outweigh the negatives I think. Good people are good people no matter what they believe in as a religion. I actually envy people that truly believe and accept things but the world needs people like you to ask questions too. Just do not say they are idiots because they do not agree with you. It honestly makes you look foolish. Just disagree in a positive note.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Calvin

      I pray you can escape from your Nazi mentality.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Deep North

      Your fourth from the last show how much you pray!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      atroy ... but if "Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things" believes that prayer is not healthy for children and other living things .. why ridicule "them" for their belief?

      February 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • scottpt1

      Apparently lack of prayer makes you think you are really clever and funny and then you type some long stupid post .........

      February 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • UncleM

      He's ridiculing a regular poster (who deserves it). Very funny.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • LibrePenseur

      Beautifully put together!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      God have mercy on your soul at the hour of your death.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Narthex Erectum

      C'mon, man. Leave cats outa this.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  8. Aezel

    A Catholic Cardinal out of touch with reality? Nooooooo. Not the Catholic Clergy, they are so with it and in touch with reality, their pretend sky friends told them so.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  9. mullahfullahbullah

    Even if he really believes this why would he retract his statement now? His contradicting himself makes him at best a hypocrite. Even if he believed this does he not see how the public would perceive this? He is either an idiot or demented or both. I was brought up Catholic and respect the religion but not a lot of the leaders, like this one.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  10. gregg

    "If there is one thing Catholics agree on, (it) is the abhorrence of child abuse, any form, and the need to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

    Um..... it is probably happening right now, this very moment in many locaitons.
    Religion, the last refuge of scoundrels.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • StupidWhinyLiberal

      C'mon, gregg. Everybody knows that "religion" is any "firmly held belief" from which someone derives their moral, societal, financial, familial... indeed, all understandings.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      I suggest you check out your kids coaches, teachers...check out your neighbors....check out the politicians....etc. You haven't done your homework.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  11. LouAz

    Ha Ha Ha Ha ! All the good little catholic apologists are making their usual rebutals. Nothing has changed in this foul cult that has so terrorized them in their youth that they are still more afraid of any priest than they are the for the well being of their own children. They continue to "offer" them to their sickos. SILENCE IS CONSENT ! Deny, deny, deny . . . Halejulia !

    February 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      I'm 60 and went through the Catholic school system without any fear of the sisters and priests. To this very day, I very much respect the holiness of their vocations. My parish priests are the most open minded, caring, kind men that I know. I do retreats with the sisters and come away spiritually centered. No cult, but a true relationship with God. I apologize for nothing.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  12. Harmsy

    Maybe if contraception was allowed in the Catholic Church some of these child molester priests and their enablers would never have been born. I'm just sayin'

    February 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Geoz

    Could anyone design a worse response to this? The Catholic Church is neither.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  14. nothing new here

    Time to start taxing these religious organizations!
    Time to start making these religious leaders accountable for their crimes.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Juan Carlos de Burbon

      Time to start taxing unions too!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Religion is an industry like any other, this idea that it is somehow special & immune to reality needs to stop now.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • BADGUY

      And while we're taxing unions, how about the AMA, The Bar Association, The Rotary, The Masons, Skull and Bones, the Illuminati, National Association of Manufactureres, Chamber of Commerce....ALL UNIONS....ALL TAXABLE!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Fine with me – tax them all.
      Everyone should pay their fair share – no argument with that.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  15. Norman

    archie bunker takes back his apology??? i thought he was dead

    February 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  16. sjenner

    It's been a long time since this scandal began to break, and yet these creatures continue to surprise. That's saying something.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      yes, they are stuck in one of those hamster wheels...they just go round and round doing/saying the same thiing.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  17. George

    The best comedy TV enactment of what goes on in the Catholic church was done on South Park, who are known for their gems of truth found in the profane and sometimes disgusting humor. Not that there's anything funny about abuse, but the show really told it like it is; as they always do.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • brian

      Which Is why I keep a tray of Peeps by my microwave year-round.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  18. David

    The bishops, cardinals an pope are about as out of touch with reality as human beings can get.
    But they are mostly old geezers, hanging on to their power and authority, and sooner or later they will all be gone along with
    their rigid and dark views, When you see them or hear them speak, do you feel "Jesus" coming from any of them? Hardly.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • StupidWhinyLiberal

      Which "rigid and dark views", David? Seriously. No, I don't "feel 'Jesus' coming from any of them" and frankly find little difference between Catholicism pre-enlightenment and Catholicism today. Methodologies have been adjusted but the religion is largely the same as that promoted by Constantine. So, which "rigid and dark views"?

      February 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  19. archimedes109

    Dear Religion,

    Please go away. You are obnoxious, divisive, insulting, and abusive. The wise among us will no longer give you a free pass. We know that you are the an immense obstacle to human chohesion, the greatest threat to civil liberties, the justification of last resort for delusional morons, and...well...just downright idiotic.

    It's time for the adults to take the reigns. Those of you with imaginary friends need to go play with them quietly in the corner. Mr. Santorum will meet you there.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Calvin

      You and your Nazi party can go away.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Juan Carlos de Burbon

      Without religion the United States wouldn't be the way it is now. Emigration to the US was largely due in part to religious persecution in Europe–initially in England and during World War I and II. Your "freedoms" are largely based on religious ideals written into law.

      Be careful of what you wish for.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Adam

      +1 to you. Religion is a cancer than needs to be eradicated.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • StupidWhinyLiberal

      Everyone is "religious". Everybody knows that "religion" is any "firmly held belief" from which someone derives their moral, societal, financial, familial... indeed, all understandings.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      archimedes .. I agree with you, however you can't expect to help them by calling them "delusional morons". They need help breaking the conditioning they've been subjected to for their entire lives. This will take some time.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      The wise folks are very much in a relationship with God, and belonging to a 'religion' is one way to gather even more wisdom. Hope Jesus gives you a free pass at the hour of your death.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  20. lance corporal

    how can anyone be catholic???

    at least 1000 years of abuse of all kinds

    the history of the church is on record
    it can be read.........
    anyone who gives this church/business money CONTRIBUTES to the abuse

    February 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Unfortunately, all the good the church has done, all the good people, all the good priests....... is erased by the Church's "middle managers". What a shame!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Betty Z. Smith

      I am Catholic. I could never belong to any other church. Catholicism is the church handed down by Christ. The other Christians (Protestants, Mennonites, Mormons etc) came into being because they "protested" against one or two dogmas/beliefs of the original Church of Christ. I contribute monetary help to my parish and other Catholic organizations to help them carry on Jesus' Mission. When I hear uninformed statements like you just made....I want to contribute even more.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Narthex Erectum

      @betty.............Lance is right. Your beloved church is one of the most corrupt organizations in human history and has done much to retard the advance of civilization. Over the centuries it has been unable to leave indigenous populations alone, preferring to enter there cultures and ruin them to "save" them. It has colluded with most of the historical tyrants of Europe for the sake of power. It continues to oppose the rational cause of free human choice...........all based on an ancient, but comforting, myth that we don't really die. Reality is tough, lady, and the intelligent in every generation have always figured out that religion is just exactly what the old reprobate Karl Marx called it – the opium of the masses. I know hundreds of people just like you – good hearted, generous, helpful, kind, moral and desirous of a better world – who are unfortunately trapped by the psychology of your own childhood into continuing to believe in and support the jewel-encrusted, money centered, intellectually stunted and morally arrogant churchs of the world. The Catholic Church supports some fine social organizations, but as a religion is as backwards as they get.
      As far as Jesus granting me forgiveness at the hour of my death, get real. There ain't no Santa Claus, there ain't no Easter Bunny, and there ain't no Jesus. But thanks for thinking of me and old Lance, anyway.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.