"It May Come At Any Time"
CNY: Your Eminence, readers have been inquiring about the article concerning the archdiocese in The New York Times of Feb. 5, and especially about your piano. Is there any truth to the report that your piano has been moved to some undisclosed location?An accomplished pianist and organist from his youngest days whose favorite pastime is his beloved Metropolitan Opera, the most personal interview of Egan's eight-year tenure came last September, when the 76 year-old cardinal gave his "desert island playlist" to a Gotham public radio program.
Cardinal Egan: About a dozen years ago, I bought a piano secondhand from the Jesuit university in Fairfield, Conn. When I was appointed to New York, it was brought to the Archbishop's Residence on Madison Avenue and it has never been moved even one inch in any direction since that time. It is where it has been for the past nine years.
CNY: You are said in the article to play the piano every day. Is that true?
Cardinal Egan: When someone showed me the article, we had a good laugh together. There has been so much to do that I have not had the time to sit down to play even a scale since last summer. I fear that the piano might be feeling neglected, though I suspect it might also be enjoying its recent notoriety.
CNY: Was the article equally accurate regarding your retirement?
Cardinal Egan: I know no one outside the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican who would have any worthwhile information on that subject. Still, I would note that I am two years beyond the date for retirement and it may come at any time.
CNY: What do you think about such articles as the one published on Feb. 5?
Cardinal Egan: Hopefully, few take them seriously. Still, the suggestion in the article that nothing has happened in the archdiocese over the past nine years apart from "closings" is a bit ugly. I trust that the faithful know better.
Post-452, the piano is expected to accompany its owner to the pad already prepared for the Big Apple's first-ever archbishop-emeritus -- two floors of a former convent on the East Side.
As of this writing, credible reports indicate that Benedict XVI's intended nominee has received notice of his selection for the New York post, and has accepted the appointment.
Along similar lines, a separately circulating nugget -- traceable to a very high authority -- relates that said choice is: 1. proficient in Spanish (a seeming pre-requisite for what's now a majority-Latino local church), 2. enjoys a reputation as a "conciliator," and 3. is proven to be "good with priests" (the latter two a reflection of Concern #1 for the Big Apple nod).
Of course, that narrows the field considerably... yet while one name has been predominantly conjectured with these words, the wisest thing is to just hang back and keep discretion until the rest can be securely nailed-down.
Indeed, as the incumbent says, "it may come at any time" -- but smart money infers that, at its outer bound, just a fortnight or so remains.
As always, stay tuned... and in the meantime, Gothamites, try to get some sleep.