May 14, 2005

Levada to bring uniquely American voice to Vatican

The Argus

By Michelle Maitre, STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO Archbishop William J. Levada, named Friday to one of the most powerful positions in the Vatican, said he will bring the voice of the American church to Rome and called his appointment a "tribute to the church in the United States."

"I hope my 22 years of experience as a bishop in the United States will help to represent the church here well to the Holy See and to make the bonds between the See of Peter and the American bishops even stronger," Levada said in a prepared statement announcing his appointment as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. ...

But his appointment also was criticized Friday by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who said the archbishop has a poor record of dealing with priest sexual abuse cases. In a statement, the group said Levada "has been slow to act, harsh to victims and committed to secrecy," and has allowed priests to remain in the ministry while they faced molestation lawsuits.

Levada dismissed the criticism, calling it "incorrect and false," and said his knowledge of the "current crisis" is an asset in the Vatican. In fact, he said, his knowledge of the priest abuse cases could have played a role in his selection.

"My appointment should be seen as a net plus for the church in dealing with this issue," he said.

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2005 07:53 AM