May 14, 2005

Levada to Have Authority on Sex-Abuse Cases


May 13, 2005 3:51 pm US/Pacific
(CBS 5) San Francisco Archbishop William Levada will become prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith -- the Vatican office once known as the Inquisition.

It's the same job Pope Benedict held for 24 years when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. The job will give Levada authority over the priest sex abuse scandal that has convulsed the American church.

"It could very well be that one of the reasons that our Holy Father chose an American for this position is because it is precisely the knowledge of our present situation in this terrible issue of sex abuse that is so important for the prefect of the congregation now responsible for making sure these things are handled in the proper manner," Levada said.

But a victims group says Levada will rule on cases that he has already been accused of covering up.

"When Archbishiop Levada goes to Rome, when there is an appeal of any process about a sexual abuse matter, it will go to him and his job in Rome," said Terrie Light of Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "Our concern is he will cover it up, deny it, and do nothing."

The church is in settlement negotiations with some victims of San Francisco priest abuse. The archbishop's reassignment may delay any settlement if the church decides to wait for Levada's successor to review the cases.

"How it works out, it's such a complicated world," Levada said.

The Archbishop grew testy as reporters asked how he characterized the priest abuse issue to then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

"Anything I said to him before he was pope, either I don't remember or it's none of your business," Levada said.

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2005 08:24 AM