Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who served as the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport from 1988 until he left in 2000 to become archbishop of New York, has died. He had retired from the priesthood in 2009.
Egan, 82, died of cardiac arrest at NYU Langone Medical Center at 2:20 p.m. in New York City on March 5, according to the New York Archdiocese. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Egan steered the Diocese of Bridgeport through some of its most difficult times, during years of accusations of sexual abuse by priests who were allegedly sent to other parishes instead of being removed from their roles.
The Diocese of Bridgeport includes Shelton, where there are three active Catholic churches — St. Joseph’s, St. Lawrence, and St. Margaret Mary — as well as two parochial schools.
Illinois native became priest in 1957
Egan was born on April 2, 1932, in Oak Park, Ill. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on Dec. 15, 1957. Egan was consecrated a bishop in 1985.
For the next three years, he served as auxiliary bishop and vicar for education of the Archdiocese of New York.
In 1988, he was appointed the bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed archbishop of New York in 2000 and made a cardinal in 2001.
Egan retired as archbishop of New York in May 2009 at age 77.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, current leader of the Diocese of New York, was expected to speak about his predecessor’s death at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Handling of sex abuse cases
In 2002, Cardinal Egan apologized for the handling of sex abuse cases in both New York and Connecticut in a letter read at Masses.
While he was the bishop of Bridgeport, several Fairfield County priests were accused of sexually abusing boys.
He later withdrew his apology in an interview with Connecticut Magazine in 2012. saying that he did an “incredibly good” job handling the crisis in Bridgeport. “I never should have said that,” he said. “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”
Susan Shultz is editor of the Darien Times, another Hersam Acorn newspaper and website.