No, I didn't create that headline. I owe that to a story that the Gothamist ran a few weeks ago.
See, it turns out that there is a real Cardinal Egan. Well, let me rephrase that. There are two Cardinal Egans.
The first Cardinal Egan often wore nice striped shirts, sunglasses, and a FedEx envelope that constantly needed readjusting. He delivered laughs with every one of his sermons, which strangely often focused upon the sins of a man named Don Imus. Then suddenly, last Good Friday morn, he announced that he had to run to St. Patrick's Cathedral to deliver a special Lenten Mass. And he hasn't been seen since.
The second Cardinal Egan may be less familiar to you, if you're not Catholic or a New Yorker. Like the first Cardinal Egan, he is also the head of the Archdiocese of New York. The headline in question comes from a story where the media was harrassing him about people protesting a church closing in East Harlem. And, well, what can I say? He told them to grow up.
His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan has been in charge of the Archdiocese ever since Archbishop O'Connor died in 2000. He's had a controversial reign, due in part to closing several churches because of budget constraints. While this sounds like a reasonable plan, it has not been without controversy. Case in point - last February, the Cardinal invited the priest of a failing church to his office...and then, when the priest had left, actually changed the locks on him while he was gone.
Also, back in July -get this - the real Cardinal Egan publicly supported the Sirius-XM merger. I absolutely swear I 'm not joking.
Now, I'm going to be honest. If you're in charge of the entire Archdiocese of New York- one of the biggest Catholic hubs in the nation - then you have to be a stern, authoritarian person. Also, the media is known to demonize a personality - a lesson that we've all learned too well in the past few months. And who am I, this kid, to criticize a guy who's devoted his life to God?
All I'm saying is this. When Bernie did the Cardinal Egan character, he wasn't satirizing the Cardinal Egan; he was, I assume, impersonating a generic foulmouthed Irish priest. The real Edward Cardinal Egan may be more G-Rated than his counterpart, but they certainly share certain characteristics.
Some time ago New York magazine ran a hit piece on the real Cardinal Egan. Check out these completely out-of-context quotes, and try to compare the two cardinals:
According to several accounts from those who were present, Egan went on to claim that his enemies were priests accused of sexual abuse who thought that Egan hadn’t adequately defended them. “When I hear stories about what those priests do, I have to do No. 2,” he spat in disgust.
(WHAT?!?! The Archbishop of New York made a reference to TAKING A DUMP? Are we SURE Bernard didn't write this?)
Then Egan widened his target to the entire priest corps: Of the 2,000 priests and bishops in the archdiocese, he lamented, not one stood up to defend him. “I was loyal to Cardinal Cody to the end,” he insisted in the stentorian affect he uses to complement his imposing height and girth. “Let me tell you, that is manliness! That is priestliness! That is Edward M. Egan!”
And...I really have nothing to add to that.