Bye Bye Bish, Plus: Dollar Bill

Are you all genuflecting over the esteemed Eddie Egan’s retirement? Are you sad to see the pedophile-protecting former bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport step back as archbishop, cardinal, excellency, holy highness and anything you want to call him as he departs chief of the spiritual capital of the world?

And why is he retiring anyway?

He served here as bishop of Bridgeport for 12 years before leaving for New York, closing and consolidating schools, keeping the budget in line, casting his hand across Fairfield County baptisms and confirmations with that booming cathedral voice, all the while harboring men of the cloth that taped shut the voices of violated children who’d one day grow the courage to reveal the names of priestly pedophiles in civil complaints because criminal laws had reached statute of limitations. And even if they existed all those years ago would anyone believe a child over a priest?

Much enrichment comes from Catholic education and services and, yes, he was our bishop. But if the rightful laws had existed then as they now do today, he’d be charged in a chilling criminal conspiracy that would’ve locked his righteous ass up for 20 years. But instead, millions of Catholic donations into insurance policies satisfied those complaints in civil settlements.

I’ve read Egan’s testimony in depositions made public and now understand why the church settled. Other documents The Hartford Courant had tried to access have been blocked by Eddie and his lawyers.

And what of our esteemed Bishop Lori who serenaded Eddie with generous heapings of praise? Wouldn’t it be nice if he just said nothing?


Mayor Bill Finch has been dialing for dollars as he prepares for his March 19 campaign fundraiser at Testo’s Restaurant. There was a time when the mayor scheduled a fundraiser at Mario Testa’s restaurant amassing moolah was a lay up. Yeah, the mayor made some calls, but the proprietor Democratic town chair would do a lot of the work.

Mario had designations in the old days. You have to raise this, you have to raise that. I expect $20 grand out of that developer. Any city employee making $60K had to max out. That’s the role of the town chair: raise money and try to keep the party peace.

Except this town chair has a different relationship with the current occupant of the mayor’s office. Yes, if Mario weighs in he could raise a bunch of cash for Finch. But will he? Meanwhile, Finch is banging the phone and, by virtue of his position and those that want access, he’ll raise money. But some are saying no. They can’t get a meeting, they can’t get a phone call returned and, Jesus, they can’t even get a hello when they run into him. Focus has never been Bill’s strength.

“So, now the mayor’s asking me for $500? I told him no,” as one serial contributor told me the other day. Little courtesies mean a lot as mayor. You can give a guy a meeting, or take a phone call without selling your soul. That always helps when you want to raise money. None of this would matter if the economy was humming and the city had cranes in the sky. But in this economic environment and another tax increase on the horizon, the mayor is correct to try to bank all he can while he can for 2011.

Meet Me At Borders

This Saturday 2 p.m. David Carson and I will be signing copies of Bow Tie Banker, my biography of the retired chief executive of People’s Bank, at Borders in Fairfield. Come and ask Carson what it takes to survive in this economic climate. Remember the early 1990s? The city was in bankruptcy court, Carson was a member of the Bridgeport Financial Review Board trying to save both the city and the state’s largest bank from the New England recession. People’s survived and prospered. If only the current crew there had an interest in the city.

Memo from Councilwoman AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, 134th District

This Wednesday, February 25th, 2009, 7 o’clock pm.
there is an
Christmas Village/Bridgeport PAL Headquarters
7 Quarry Road, Trumbull (near the movie theatres)
for girls and boys ages 10-21 years old to join the

PAL BUCCANEERS junior drum and bugle corps.

This is a wonderful organization with great programs.
Never heard of them, do not know much about them, want your child to join, learn how you can help, or would like to become a sponsor *** come on in.
Open to all Bridgeport AND to all non-Bridgeport residents…
All instruments, flags, uniforms, instruction supplied through the Corps/membership.
Stop in to learn all about the PAL BUCCANEERS, meet the members, meet the parents,
meet the directors, watch and hear them perform.
Also, performing for you will be – The Park City Pride Combined Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps.~(former members of all the Bpt. junior corps from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s)
(pssst – I will be there playing cymbals in the drumline)
Refreshments served.
See you there with your children/neighbors/grandchildren.
(please pass this along today to your contacts)

Any questions, call
Mr. Patrick Rouse



  1. I made a small donation to help retire Finch’s campaign debt. I never wanted a job, I never looked for an audience and I never called his office looking to talk to him. I donated because he was a friend of 30 years and I thought it would help. What I was looking for was a simple Thank You note. Just a note that he acknowledges my contribution. I have seen him many times since and I have spoken to him on occasion and still no thank you.
    As far as I am concerned he can hold his hand on his ass waiting for another donation from me.

    1. If Mayor Finch or anyone else campaigning for (or holding) elected office wants any money from me they have to wear a clown suit at all public appearances. After that sleazy move to appease Paul Timpanelli’s desire to hook Monroe into Bridgeport’s nearly overtaxed sewage treatment system, Bill Finch ought to be punished by being forced to write “I’m a little fucking asshole” one hundred times on a blackboard at a City Council meeting.

  2. “… Mario had designations in the old days. You have to raise this, you have to raise that. I expect $20 grand out of that developer. Any city employee making $60K had to max out. That’s the role of the town chair: raise money and try to keep the party peace …”

    Keeping the party “piece” sounds more like extortion to me …

  3. What a cheap shot you took at Egan.

    This is a guy who followed papal mandate to minimize the dreadful actions of pedophilic priests just like it was covered up in most dioceses throughout the country … maybe even the world. I think it was against Egan’s better judgment. Bridgeport had many. Most of the errant clerics were diverted to other parishes where they were offered counseling and remediation. And … I agree the diocese, the church, the priests, the parishes, the bishops and cardinals all got what they deserved when these huge judgments came down. I frankly think they should be put away for life. But I don’t make those decisions … neither did Egan.

    He came into Bridgeport at a time when the fiscal plant was in a mess and left it in better shape. Hence his appointment to New York. Certainly no charismatic bishop as were his predecessors. They, more showmen than clerics, entertained the city and were highly revered. Egan is a stuffed shirt with a job to do. I cringe at his intonal manner of speech that suggests arrogance. He certainly is no Cook or O’Connor. He isn’t supposed to be. When he went to New York the condition was chaotic. He immediately implemented plans that were universally regarded as unpopular and widely hated by the Catholic community. Blah Blah Blah. The financial house has improved greatly. His unpopular decisions are working, and hopefully, the new guy will continue the fix. I often heard priests complain as well as parishioners. Closing schools and parishes was not something that endeared Egan to his flock. He did what he had to do. He did his job and he did it effectively. Bing Crosby in Going My Way or The Bells of Saint Mary’s … certainly not. There was no Mr. Bogardus to acquiesce and donate the building for a school. Cardinal Egan had little concern for his own popularity. He leaves his ministry unpopular except to the bean counters who realize that he leaves it in better shape then he received it. I hope the new guy can do both. Fix the fiscal woes and be the song and dance man the crowd seems to want at Saint Pat’s.

    Tonight, I pray to God in gratitude for the good things that Egan did for us all.

    1. I really hope I heard you wrong.

      I heard you say that we should cut Egan some slack because he “followed Papal mandate;” that is, he was only following orders.

      “Befehl ist Befehl” wasn’t a valid defense at Nuremberg, and it’s not a valid defense now. He made a moral choice, and he’ll have to live with the consequences. He deserves no slack on that account.

      Would you care to clarify your opinion on this point?

  4. Lennie … Have very mixed feelings on your treatment of Cardinal Egan.

    Bishops Curtis, Law, Egan, et al. made huge mistakes in how they handled pedophile priests. More concerned with the image of the Church than repairing a blight. That perpetuated the problem instead of fixing it.

    How can anyone argue that they did tremendous harm to both the Church and the victims?

    We have seen that kind of institutional protectionism in other areas as well. Seems generational in nature and new Bishops like Bishop Lori have learned from the terrible mistakes of their predecessors.

    As a Catholic school alum and having financed four kids K-12 through Catholic education, I cannot say enough about the quality and values received.

    With a number of aunts, uncles, and cousins that are in the clergy, I cringe at the mistakes made by the hierarchy and so do they.

    Because of those mistakes and compounded by popular culture, mocking Catholic beliefs, traditions and clergy is the norm … And that’s too bad with all the good that these people and the Church do.

    1. Mr. OMalley makes a valid point here: the Church’s hierarchy was more concerned with the image of the Church than addressing and the emotional, physical and spiritual injuries inflicted on parishioners by pedophillic clergymen. In some cases the spiritual damage can never be undone–some of the victims lost their faith. That is simply devastating. A person’s faith is a very personal thing. To take that away … It’s not the same as telling a little kid that there is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.

  5. Lennie,

    Judge not lest ye be judged. Your sarcastic comments re Egan hurts you more than him. He was not my favorite and I dislike Lori just as much. Yet I can’t sit in judgment of actions taken by these men. I’m a follower of the teachings of Jesus, not these mortals. I’m a Catholic but not a lemming. Your tone should have been a little less judgmental.

  6. Today’s post is the journalistic equivalent of “piling on”. It’s the antithesis of journalistic neutrality. It’s biased, opinionated and unfair.

    Yesterday’s post was written by a gossip columnist; not a political reporter.

    1. Lennie didn’t break any promises. He never represented this blog as being neutral or unbiased. He’s always said that he’s expressing his opinion.

      If you think of this blog as one big Op-Ed section, then you’ll get the drift.

      So biased–yes.

      Opinionated–yes again.

      But unfair? Not hardly. If you or anyone else agrees, disagrees, or comes at the issue from a completely different direction, you or anyone else can present your viewpoint here. Sounds about as fair as you can get to me.

      We’ve seen Lennie’s opinion. What’s yours?

  7. “Introibo ad altare Dei.”
    “Ad Deum Qui laetificat juventutem meam.”

    These should be the opening lines of the book: Cassocks and Surpluses: The Cover-Up and Conspiracy of the Catholic Church in America.

    Eddie Egan was never pastoral and should have been put out to pasture after his Bridgeport debacle. In his early days at the North American College for priests at the Vatican he was referred to as “Alpine Ed”. This term of mis-endearment was put on him by his priestly peers because he was such a social climber. Certainly this would be understandable, because you don’t end up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral without some good old sucking up.

    The then-Bishop Egan as the spiritual leader had an outstanding opportunity to heal his flock. Many of the abuses never came up under his reign. Most of the incidents came under Walter Curtis and were perpetrated by the then-Chancellor of the Diocese, Msgr. William A. Genuario. Genuario moved these priests around like chess pieces and it was the young boys and girls who got rooked out of some of the best years of their lives because of these predatory sexual crimes.

    Genuario was stationed for a time at St. Theresa’s in Trumbull. This parish had many priestly assaults taking place even while Genuario was served side-by-side with them. They never told us what CYO stood for back in those days. If we had known then what we know now it would stand for “Cover Your Organs!” We had so many cases that came out of St.T’s, that we should have referred to these priests as “Semenarians”. Genuario was one of the predators. I have NO DOUBT!!!

    I was the beneficiary of a Catholic education and my sister the sister has a beautiful vocation and serves in and with grace and mercy. However, the Church is not bigger than the people and no Cardinal, including Bernard, Cardinal, “Is Above The” Law.

    Back to Egan. He had an opportunity to make things right and he didn’t. I don’t want to hear about Papal mandates or womandates. This was a criminal enterprise and conspiracy at the highest level.

    Egan in his “Edict of Egan” had read from the parish pulpits of the Diocese in early 2002, claiming that priests were Independent Contractors. Give me a fucking break. I suppose after hearing the Mass the curates went out and put on their Century 21 mustard-colored jackets to run the franchise.

    Egan and the whole church hierarchy hid behind the Statute of Limitations. Perhaps my good friends Yahooy and Denis OMalley think we should erect a monument for Egan at St. Augustine’s Cathedral.

    We could name it, “The Statue Of Limitations!!!”

    1. I will admit that irony in Latin is something you don’t see every day.

      And so more can appreciate it, the quote is from the Latin Mass, and means “I will go unto the altar of God, to God Who gives joy to my youth.”

  8. Leonard, Leonard, Leonard; as to the retiring Cardinal Egan, the reason he is leaving his post is simple. He was adhering to a mandatory retirement age of 75.

    The Cardinal was required by Church law to submit his resignation to the Pope on his 75th birthday, no ifs, ands or buts. It is then up to the Pope to accept his resignation or put it in a drawer for a more opportune moment.

    In Egan’s case, he submitted his resignation two years ago in April 2007.

    We’ve seen mayors do the same thing. It’s always better to have a signed, undated letter of resignation handy when some so-and-so goes off the reservation! It’s good politics. And believe me, you ain’t seen politics until you’ve seen Church politics up close and personal.

    Now let’s move onto those Church politics, class. Expect Archbishop Dolan to get his red hat and be named a cardinal in the near future. After all, it’s the NY Diocese! We can’t have a second-stringer as team captain in the Big Apple. The thing we all need to be aware of is that Archbishop Dolan is 59 years old; ergo he’ll be around for a looong time! (The Church has its own definition of term limits!)

    As to how Cardinal Egan handled the abuse cases, I defer comment. It’s an ugly issue and one that needs to be addressed.

    But Leonard, there are good things that need to be considered, too. You should be elated to know Archbishop Dolan has committed himself to becoming a Yankees fan.

    And finally, when Archbishop Dolan was questioned about the Papacy always naming an Irishman to head the NY Diocese, he said it simply pointed to “the Pope’s infallibility.”

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day (in advance).

  9. Leonard, Leonard, Leonard! You amaze me.

    Would you give up one of the world’s greatest bully pulpits (St. Pat’s) one nanosecond before you had to do so?

    What politician ever did that?

    Lyndon Johnson chose not to run. It would have been a dogfight of monumental proportions.

    Richard Nixon? He was chased from office.

    We’re talking politics here, not the “common good.”

    Nope, Cardinal Egan followed the mandatory retirement rule and had no choice but to sit back and wait for the Vatican to drop the hammer. And leaving before he hit 75? Not in the DNA of the Cardinal or any other politician.

    To paraphrase Tip O’Neill: Church or secular, all politics is local. (double grin)

  10. NO new show today on “Bridgeport Now”. The rerun today includes Charles Brilvitch on 24 Historic Districts in Bridgeport. Next week we will illustrate these districts with pictures. Also next week, sewage plan (Mario vs. Scinto), and … what does Andrew mean in FFLD Weekly, he doesn’t know what “Bridgeport revitalization” means and his Las Vetas survive on Bijou Square.

  11. Tom Kelly–No argument. Not trying to put Egan on a pedestal or a pederast.

    Even though a Cafeteria Catholic, I get annoyed time after time at how it’s so hip, cool, etc. to make a mockery of Catholics, their theology and their clergy. How the bishops all over the country aided & abetted this situation did tremendous damage.

    No problem with any civil justice these deviants must face.

    My main point … The phenomenal good done by the Church as evidenced by your sister/Sister and many others is obscured by how the scandal was handled. Just another reason to pile on.

  12. No doubt, the Cardinal was not known for warm and fuzzies nor could he regarded as a fist-pounding tyrant. His record of financial stabilization is minimized by the OIB bloggers opting for character assassination. Egan annoyed nearly all with whom he dealt. His objectives did not allow the winning of friends. He met most of those objectives. The new Cardinal has his work cut out for him, for certain. But Egan left him a challenge of far less consequence than that which he inherited from O’Connor. He made no friends, true friends, he may even be the loneliest man on the corner of 50th and 5th. But I believe that this is one man whose legacies will be lauded by revisionists.

  13. As a practicing Episcopalian I cannot comment on Cardinal Egan’s long- or short-comings. The Finch fundraiser, however, is another matter entirely.

    It is an open secret that Hizzoner and DTC chair Testa have had differences of opinion over a number of issues, most recently the efforts of BRBC minion Paul Timpanelli to hornswoggle Monroe into Bridgeport’s system for a one-time fee (Mario’s right about that one). Finch has been a decidedly unpopular mayor, which may be one factor in party regulars (and city employees making $60,000.00 a year) being reluctant to pony up the expected tithe. The economy may be the bigger factor, though: with less bang for the buck, shorter work hours and smaller paychecks, peoples’ priorities change: “The mayor is raising funds for a re-election campaign and I’m s’posed to give a rat’s ass? After the shit he’s been trying to pull?!”

  14. If I may take a liberty here, this item from yesterday was pretty good. Thought I’d submit it again.

    Ganim’s campaign stump speech:

    “Hi, I’m Joe Ganim and I’m running for mayor. I was mayor back in the nineties, but the government forced me into a sabbatical at Club Fed. I took some ‘consulting’ fees, which included cases of wine, massages, custom-tailored shirts, and cash. I only took the booty for the good of the city–it was the only way to get the ballpark built.

    “I learned my lesson the hard way: don’t get caught.

    “I’m Joe Ganim and I need your vote in the democratic primary.”

  15. Bill Finch’s re-election campaign stump speech:

    “Hi I’m Bill Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport. I was a State Senator before becoming Hizzoner, a job that I was quite happy with. But State Representative Chris Caruso, one-time chairman of the DTC ’til he was voted off the island, decided to throw his hat in the mayoral ring. A Caruso mayoralty scared a lot of people.

    “Y’see, Mr. Caruso wasn’t well-liked by the rank-and-file members of the DTC, and the feeling was mutual; he didn’t like them much, either. They were afraid that Mr. Caruso, an angry, embittered, gluttonous chickenhawk, would fire all of their friends, relatives and neighbors employed by the city of Bridgeport. So John Stafstrom came knocking on my door, looking for a candidate that if elected, would not upset the status quo. As an added bonus I would more than double my salary as a State Senator.

    “As mayor, I’ve laid off many of those same friends, relatives and neighbors whose jobs the DTC was trying to protect in the first place, accomplishing at least one of Mr. Caruso’s stated goals. I’ve also raised property taxes beyond all reason. And my good friend Paul Timpanelli of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council wanted to screw the residents of Bridgeport by allowing Monroe and other suburban towns to hack into our city’s overworked sewage treatment system for a one-time fee that your children’s children’s children would be paying for. Not bad for my first term, eh?

    “I’m Bill Finch and I need your vote in the next Democratic primary.”

  16. The Oracle of Omaha Miss Steaks


    Nothing wrong with being a Cafeteria Catholic.

    Although I do cringe when I attend a funeral mass and the priest announces that you can’t receive communion if you aren’t a “practicing” Catholic, or God forbid worse, a Protestant or a Jew. What would Jesus Do? I’m always tempted to say to the priest: “Hey Father!” We’re having dinner tonight. Would you like to come over but sorry you can’t have anything to eat.” How many Catholics even understand the meaning of Transubstantiation?

    Maybe this year for my Lenten sacrifice I will drink for forty straight days. Then not have a drink for the rest of the year. Yeah, maybe when Ash Wednesday falls on Tuesday. I’m a recovering Catholic and every once in a while I attend the Golden Hill Methodist Church. Perhaps that explains the method to my madness.

    For all you A & P (Ashes and Palms) Catholics, don’t forget to make your Easter Duty this year or you will go to hell in an Easter Basket.

  17. Gossip of The Rialto!

    This Just In!

    News Flash from the Bridgeport Herald!!!

    The House of Representatives today passed a Bill that will ban primate pets in the home. This Congress is sure not monkeying around.


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