I like to think the ghost of Monsignor Jack Egan is rattling around the rectory of Holy Name Cathedral, where Chicago’s new archbishop, Blase Cupich, now resides. If memory serves, Jack’s former small sitting room and bedroom would be just down the hall from where the new leader of Chicago Catholics bunks.
There is no disrespect involved in calling this particular monsignor by his first name. He preferred it. He was the bantam-sized Chicago priest whose reach extended far beyond the city limits. He was in the first contingent of Catholics who marched for civil rights in Selma. He joined community organizer Saul Alinsky in the fight for decent housing. He battled the late Mayor Richard J. Daley when urban renewal genuflected to the rich as it dispossessed the poor. Jack was the catalyst for the formation of the Association of Chicago Priests, a rebellion against the autocratic John Cardinal Cody, who wanted his parish priests to be seen but not heard.
Cody forced Jack into exile. And when Cody died in disgrace, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin brought Jack back, knowing he would be a burr under his saddle as well.
But here’s the thing.
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