NEW YORK (AP/WTNH) – Roman Catholic Cardinal Edward Egan, who served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport from 1988-2000, has died. He was 82.
The Archdiocese of New York says Egan died Thursday afternoon at a New York hospital. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.
According to the Archdiocese of New York, Egan saw to the construction of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence for Retired Priests in Stamford, and established the Saint Catherine School for Children with Special Needs in Bridgeport as well as The Haitian Catholic Center in Stamford while Bridgeport’s Bishop.
During his time in Bridgeport, the archdiocese says Egan also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Saint Joseph Medical Center in Stamford, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, and as Chairman of the Board of the Bishop Curtis Homes for the Elderly in 15 Fairfield County communities.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed Egan Archbishop of New York to succeed the late Cardinal John O’Connor. He was archbishop during the Sept. 11 terror attacks, during which he anointed the dead at a lower Manhattan hospital and presided over many funerals for victims.
In 2006, Egan participated in the Consistory that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
The Diocese of Bridgeport released the following statement about Egan’s passing:
He will be remembered fondly and with great esteem by the people of the Diocese of Bridgeport. On his occasional visits back to Fairfield County, he was always greeted with great affection and appreciation by those grateful for his leadership. Even after being elevated to Cardinal, he continued to reach out to the diocese, to affirm the ministry of its priests and help in any way possible to serve the people. His most recent visit was on February 8, 2015, to St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Msgr. William Scheyd.
Those who were close to him remember a man of great loyalty, friendship, and affection, who treated everyone with utmost respect and courtesy. A man of great talent and considerable gifts, he lived with personal simplicity and saw himself first and foremost as a priest.”
But, not all thought highly of Egan. The Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
Cardinal Edward Egan was among the most callous, reckless and deceitful prelates ever. We hope his passing brings some comfort to the many adults who were abused as children because of his self-serving secrecy and his relentless protection of predator priests. We grieve for every single victim, witness and whistleblower who was mistreated in any way by Egan and his former top aides, whether in New York or in Bridgeport.
As much as we try to be charitable, sugar-coating Egan’s horrific track record on abuse is irresponsible. We feel duty bound to do whatever we can to deter powerful officials who may be tempted to shield predators, stone-wall police, hide evidence and attack victims, even if it means being honest about their egregious wrong-doing even when they pass away.
We suspect that some current and former Catholic church staff and members have kept silent for years about clergy sex crimes and cover ups, in part because they feared repercussions and punishment by Egan. We hope that his passing will cause at least some of these individuals to finally find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and deter future cover ups.”
A native of Illinois, Egan retired as New York archbishop in 2009.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.