Dunwoodie Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.

From a special correspondent: "On April 29, Cardinal Edward Egan met with some five hundred priests of the Archdiocese of New York in response to his invitation ’for prayer and discussion concerning the tragic issue....’ He spoke for about forty minutes explaining very professionally the details of the archdiocese’s sexual-abuse policy. The ’discussion’ contemplated was to be held by the priests at individual tables of ten or so. Each table could submit three written questions to the cardinal. There was no opportunity for any of the priests to say a word publicly to the cardinal in the presence of the assembly....

"This was a closed-door meeting with police keeping media outside the gates and plainclothes security people inside. A couple of times, the cardinal stopped to ask that a rear door be closed, and on one occasion he asked someone in civilian garb-a seminary employee undoubtedly-to leave. There seemed little reason for such tight security in light of what was presented and so carefully scripted. It was the over-caution of a man who wears both a belt and suspenders. Had the meeting permitted any statements or observations by the priests, the cardinal might have been properly cautious about keeping the media out....

"He explained that this was not a colloquium for presentations that could be distorted and possibly find their way into the press; it was rather an ’information session.’ It was quite clear that the information would be strictly from the top down-zero opportunity for information going from the priests to him. There were no microphones available on the floor for participation; there were three on stage: for the cardinal and two aides who read off selected questions."

Published in the 2002-05-17 issue: 
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