As was widely expected, the Vatican has named Edward Egan, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, as the new archbishop of New York, succeeding the late Cardinal John O'Connor. The announcement last week came as no surprise, particularly since 68-year-old Bishop Egan served as auxiliary bishop under Archbishop O'Connor from 1985 to 1988. Like Archbishop O'Connor, Bishop Egan is a Vatican loyalist who is expected to uphold traditional church teaching on such issues as abortion and homosexuality. He is also widely praised as a person of firm views with strong administrative and financial skills. At a news conference in New York after the Vatican announcement, Bishop Egan was asked if he would uphold the church's "pro-life" stance on a number of issues. "With all the enthusiasms and insistence and light that I can possibly add, the answer is yes,'' he said. "Without any question, yes."Much of Egan's time in Bridgeport—a suburb of New York—has been spent consolidating the archdiocese's schools and other institutions, sometimes making unpopular decisions. The New York archdiocese has 2.4 million church members, more than 400 parishes and about 250 schools. A third of its members are Hispanic, and they are the fastest growing group within the archdiocese. The archdiocese's location in the nation's biggest city—which is in effect also the nation's media capital—means that the archbishop of this city is the most visible Roman Catholic spokesman in the US. Edward Egan is a native of Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He was ordained a priest in 1957, after studying at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. He was a vice chancellor of the archdiocese of Chicago before spending more than 13 years as a judge in the Roman Rota, a Vatican tribunal. He was consecrated a bishop in 1985, the same year he was named auxiliary bishop in New York. Reaction to the appointment was generally favorable, with Bishop Egan's administrative skills singled out for particular praise. Nora Murphy, a New York Catholic schools spokeswoman, said she had been impressed by the bishop's commitment to Catholic education when he served under O'Connor, Associated Press (AP) reported.A liberal Catholic group said Bishop Egan was a conservative who took a legalistic approach toward church matters. ''My understanding is that he is very personable, but also very rigid in his approach to issues," said Linda Pieczynski, spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Call to Action. A profile of Bishop Egan in The New York Times reported that he was one of five US bishops who served as advisers for the Catholic Alliance, a politically conservative group that was once aligned with the Christian Coalition, a conservative Protestant lobby group.Bishop Egan will be officially installed as Archbishop of New York on June 19 at St Patrick's Cathedral.Cardinal O'Connor's funeral service was held at the cathedral last week. Among church leaders and politicians present were President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for the US Senate seat for New York; Vice President Al Gore, who is running for president later this year on behalf of the Democrats, and Texas Governor George W. Bush, the leading Republican candidate for the presidency. Also attending was Bush's father, former President George Bush."He [Edward Egan] is very close to John Paul II," Monsignor Tim Dolan, head of the North American Pontifical College in Rome, told a Swiss news agency, Agence de presse internationale catholique (APIC). He added that during revisions to the Code of Canon Law in the 1980s, Egan "worked two hours a week with the Pope on the Latin text. John Paul II has great trust in him." Monsignor Dolan added that the new archbishop was "strong, pleasant and full of wisdom. He has a clear vision of what it is to be a priest and of his role in the church." He also described Egan as "an excellent administrator."Copyright © 2000 ENI.

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Egan's installation has been big news throughout the mainstream media. Coverage includes: The Vatican's 'Dream Man' | The pope's new representative in New York has a different style than his predecessor—and an uneasy history with him (Newsweek) Nothing Succeeds Like Controlling Succession (The New York Times) Secure at the Helm: Bishop Edward Michael Egan (The New York Times) Vatican Makes Egan's Appointment as Archbishop Official (The New York Times) Egan Set For St. Pat's Debut (New York Post) 'Quite Humbling' | A new era begins as Egan is named city's archbishop (New York Newsday) A Passion for Politics and Social Concerns (New York Daily News) Pope Taps Egan for New York | Ex-O'Connor aide to be archbishop (New York Daily News) A Man of Cloth and Controversy | Appointee known for decisiveness (New York Daily News) Egan Gets High Marks | Called parish schools' savior (New York Daily News) As expected, pope selects Connecticut bishop to replace O'Connor (The Boston Globe) Oak Park's Edward Egan Named Archbishop of N.Y. (Chicago Tribune) Oak Park Native Called an Intelligent, Capable Leader (Chicago Tribune) Conn. Bishop Chosen as N.Y. Archbishop (Los Angeles Times) Cardinal O'Connor's successor humbled by appointment ( Meet the New Archbishop | Bridgeport, Conn., Bishop Egan Named O'Connor's Successor ( Pope names new archbishop (BBC)