Religion & Counter-Revolution: "I have to arrest thebishop"

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Jan 2 11:49:47 MST 2001

JANUARY 02, 09:25 EST

Man Tries to Handcuff Archbishop

NEW YORK (AP) — A man with a history of mental problems tried to handcuff himself to
Roman Catholic Archbishop Edward Egan during Mass — but ended up tethered by his own
restraints, police said.

``I have to arrest the bishop!'' Timothy Byrne yelled while ushers and police tackled
him Monday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, according to authorities. Egan, 68, was unhurt.

Byrne, with one end of the cuffs fastened to his own wrist, waited in the Communion
line until he was face to face with Egan, police said. Then he snatched Egan's arm and
tried to fasten the other end of the cuffs on him, but Egan pulled free, police said.

Two ushers, police Officer Thomas Regel and off-duty police Sgt. Daniel DiPrenda, who
had just received the Eucharist, quickly subdued Byrne, police said.

Byrne, an unemployed architect from Hoboken, N.J., was charged with attempted unlawful
imprisonment, resisting arrest, disrupting a religious service and criminal possession
of a weapon — pepper spray, which was found in his knapsack, police said.

Byrne has been suing the Catholic Church unsuccessfully for more than a year, claiming
it fraudulently collects money from parishioners and has duped the public.

He was arrested and sent to a mental hospital after threatening to cut off President
Clinton's head in 1999, authorities told the Daily News in Tuesday's editions. ``He's
just got problems,'' Byrne's father, Patrick Byrne, told the paper.

Egan, spiritual leader of New York's 2.4 million Catholics, was unfazed by the attack,
concluded the Mass normally and continued with his regular schedule throughout the
day, a church spokesman said.

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