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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. dreamer96

    If a religious school student calls the police on a teacher after being hit in class...is the teacher arrested or do they get a pass from the local police on beating kids too..

    If the teacher has a note from the student's parent, saying they can beat the child is that legal??? Could the parent beat the child??? I don't think so...

    Conservative Religious organizations are against Gays and Birth control...So why do some religious mother's tell their daughters if they do not want children yet, then to make love to there husbands like a gay man???

    Did this religious leader recommend sodomy of women as a form of birth control...so he has no problem doing it to little boys???

    February 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Satan

    Ha Ha Ha Ha...All is going as planned!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Kenin Texas

      Satan,,,, you're confused and are on the wrong blog. You should be commenting on the blogs about Obama back stabbing the catholics that supported him and about Planned Parenthood abortion mills going strong. That's where your plans are working so well.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Indeed

      Amen.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  3. Clem Arbruster Bodog Castlenut, Jr.

    Send his literal body of christ eatin' keester to the joint for a year or two.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  4. Robrob

    And they wonder why the Catholic Church has such dwindling membership?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  5. Jay

    Religion is the root of all evil

    February 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Krejaton

      Ignorance like yours is the root of all evil.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  6. Guily one way or the other

    God hates liars.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  7. Katie Ball

    The real message I get whenever I read these rants is that Catholic = evil. Get a grip, WASPs, why would a man who has no power to lose retract an apology if he wasn't being truthful? The real victims of this situation are the good and honest clergy themselves. Protestant opportunists!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • protestant opportunist

      wow ! how did you know !!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Marky Merlot

      Wow touchy, aren't we. Another faithful RC sheep in denial!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  8. Cindy

    It is time the american catholics get rid of this pagan religion. Send them back to Rome and start a modern American Catholic Church. All these men want to do, is pollute the earth.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  9. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    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 9:19 pm |
  10. dreamer96

    Birth control argument is really about money...having higher insurance payments to the tax free churches, schools, and hospitals....and the tea party saying no new taxes...

    98% 0f Catholic women all ready use birth control, just look at their families 3 or 4 kids not 10 for 12 kids..

    February 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  11. justathought

    This exactly why we cannot pay any attention to any person or persons connected to any religious group pontificate about contraception, what they did or did NOT do WHILE they watch over our children – RELIGION is like a PENIS,it is fine to have one, it is fine to be proud of it, BUT PLEASE, DO NOT whip it out in public and start waving it around, AND DO NOT TRY TO SHOVE IT DOWN MY CHILDREN'S THROAT!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • martini

      OMG! That's absolutely perfect!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  12. TomGI

    Time to tax the catholic cult. In fact, tax all the religious cults.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • JRM

      Amen to that.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  13. Mark Russell

    The catholic heirarchy is an odious and repulsive evil.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  14. Raphael

    Ok, Ok, so the big question is " was bishop Egan too drunk to know what he was saying back then, or is he too drunk now to know what he is saying?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  15. Joe

    Will someone put a stake into the heart of the Catholic Church already. I say this as a Catholic. We need new leadership.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  16. J-Man

    I don't think Priests should get a pass. If they abuse a child they should go to jail just like everyone else. If they hide the crime then that person should get the punishment just like everyone else. I hear the inmates hate child rapists. Let them deal with it. Put them in the general population.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  17. Cindy

    The Catholic Priests seem to view little boys as a "right-of-passage. It's only the Bishops and Priests that oppose birth control. I guess they think the more little boys the merrier. I wish they would all pack up and go back to Rome. Our old ancestors used to warn us about the catholics. They came to america to get away from them.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  18. uponthisrock

    Jesus was not a relgious zealot, as a matter of fact He hated religion. And He said "True and unadulterated religion is this;
    "To Love God with all your Heart, Soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself".What part of that do you not understand?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  19. The Dude

    I dont see why Catholics are so upset about birth control. You don't need it when all you do is shag little boys.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  20. Russ

    Maybe the Catlicks should retain their new poster boy Santorum to smooth this over. He can vouch for how perfect the church is and how it's teachings should be woven into our government.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:07 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.