Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Vicar's Letter

Returning to coverage of the situation in New York, below is the fulltext of Msgr Howard Calkins' letter to Cardinal Edward Egan, in which Calkins submitted his resignation as head of the archdiocese's South Shore vicariate.

The priest, who also serves as pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Mount Vernon, had been widely-quoted in the local press giving voice to the sentiments behind last week's anonymous letter calling for a vote of "no confidence" in the cardinal. In his letter to Egan, Calkins denies responsibility for the "composition or distribution" thereof, saying he hadn't even received a copy of it by mail.

AP reported last night that Calkins had "offered his resignation," and this morning's Daily News said that Cardinal Egan had "not yet considered" its acceptance.

Notably, Calkins is a prominent member of the popular Jesus Caritas movement of priests inspired by the life and mission of Bl Charles de Foucauld, the French Trappist hermit. Two American bishops are closely affiliated with the group: Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg.


October 16, 2006
His Eminence
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
452 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Your Eminence,

I write to you with sincere regrets for my careless and ill-considered comments reported in today's Daily News. It was just before the 12:00 Mass yesterday that Mr. Jaccarino appeared in the sacristy, identifying himself as a reporter from the Daily News. I said that I had commented enough, perhaps too much, on the anonymous letter sent to various priests of the Archdiocese. We spoke briefly, he stayed for Mass and we concluded our conversation after Mass. At a time that I should have been blessed with 'wisdom,' I was foolish. I have no right to suggest that the majority of priests agree with the letter's sentiment nor what might have prompted such a strongly worded, angry and unsigned letter. I also wish to assure you that I had nothing to do with the composition or distribution of the letter and never received a copy of it. I heard about it by word of mouth and found it on the "Whispers in the Loggia" website.

I deeply apologize for my indiscretions and any embarrassment or pain that my comments provoked. I promise you that it will never happen again. I feel that I have betrayed your trust as a regional Vicar in the Archdiocese and for that reason, I offer you my resignation.

I pray for you and my brother bishops and priests as you meet this afternoon. May the wisdom that I lacked come bountifully upon your assembly this day.


(Rev. Msgr.) Howard W. Calkins