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Group of New York priests begins campaign against soon-to-retire archbishop

.- A group of unidentified New York priests issued a letter yesterday, urging the archdiocesan clergy to cast a vote of ”no confidence” against their archbishop, Cardinal Edward Egan.

The group is proposing a ballot in an effort to convince the papal nuncio to have the cardinal replaced sooner rather than later.  As required by canon law, Cardinal Egan, who has served the archdiocese for six years, is already scheduled to submit his resignation on his 75th birthday, which comes in less than six months.

The priests, who identified themselves solely as the Committee of Concerned Clergy, said they are calling for the cardinal’s resignation based on the claim that the relationship between the cardinal-archbishop and his priests is excessively poor.

“At no time has the relationship between the Ordinary and the priests of the Archdiocese been so fractured and seemingly hopeless as it is now,” the letter reads.

In their letter, the clergy said they would not identify themselves due to what they claimed to be the “severely vindictive nature” of Cardinal Egan.  

However, the letter has received a cool reception by many in the archdiocese.  A senior and well-respected New York pastor, who also asked to be unidentified, tells CNA that the letter was written by “a small group of uninfluential priests.”  He said he has discarded the letter as “senseless and uncharitable.”

“The letter is uncharitable in its tone and senseless in its timing, as the cardinal is about to retire,” the senior priest said.

The Committee of Concerned Clergy claims that, since his arrival in New York, the cardinal “has given his time, attention and interest to matters financial while paying little or no attention to the spiritual needs and concerns of the priests and faithful of the archdiocese.”

The letter, which was obtained by Catholic scuttlebutter Rocco Palmo and published on his blogsite, “Whispers in the Loggia”, describes the cardinal and his interactions as “arrogant and cavalier … cruel and ruthless”.

“During the last six years, the cardinal’s relations with the priests of New York have been defined by dishonesty, deception, disinterest and disregard,” the letter reads.

The priests claim that the cardinal “does not seek advice or counsel from the many competent and experienced priests” regarding matters that impact the welfare of the diocese.  

The priest’s letter was accompanied by a ballot, asking that the secret vote be taken at upcoming vicariate meetings.

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