May 14, 2005

Sex abuse cases, gays challenged Levada

Pioneer Press

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco is a champion of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who has raised the ire of victims' advocates for his handling of the clerical sex abuse crisis and has spoken out against same-sex marriage in a city with a vibrant gay and lesbian community.

Levada, 68, was named Friday by Pope Benedict XVI to be his successor as prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It's the first time an American has held the job, among the most powerful in the Vatican.

In 2003, Levada issued a broad apology to victims of sexual abuse, in which he cited his own failures. "I may have unconsciously been uneasy or afraid to look at the scars caused by sexual abuse so closely," he said.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Levada had a dismal record on responding to the molestation crisis. Last year, the founding chairman of a watchdog panel Levada formed to review claims against priests in San Francisco resigned in protest when church leaders blocked the release of the panel's findings.

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2005 07:49 AM