April 13, 2005

Dueling notions on priest scandal

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Ken Dilanian
Inquirer Staff Writer

ROME - The Vatican's decision to have Cardinal Bernard Law preside at a high-profile mourning Mass for Pope John Paul II on Monday is the latest example of the disconnect between senior church officials and many U.S. Catholics on the priest-abuse scandal.

While the Pope and other senior Vatican officials repeatedly condemned child sex abuse by priests and endorsed efforts by American bishops to combat it, they never saw the revelations of recent years as the enormous, confidence-shattering event that many Americans did, Vatican-watchers say.

"For Americans..., it takes a very small thing to kind of reopen a wound," said the Rev. Thomas Williams, the American dean of the school of theology at Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome. "Here in Rome, it's considered basically over and done with."

Of 11 American cardinals, only Philadelphia's Justin Rigali, who spent 33 years working in the Vatican, attended the Monday Mass. Rigali's spokeswoman said she was unable to reach him in Rome for comment last night.

Posted by kshaw at April 13, 2005 07:17 AM