May 14, 2005

Levada choice angers victims


By Kim Curtis
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO Archbishop William Levada, who catapulted Friday into the most influential Vatican post ever held by an American, has a track record of upholding Roman Catholic policies while deftly handling controversy.

But his appointment as the chief enforcer of church doctrine was sharply criticized by clerical sex abuse victims, who say he's done a poor job of dealing with the crisis. Levada countered that his experience with the issue is an advantage for the church.

The 68-year-old leader of the San Francisco Archdiocese was named by longtime friend Pope Benedict XVI as his own replacement leading the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The congregation is responsible for policing and enforcing church doctrine. Among other things, it examines writings contradicting church teachings and crimes against faith, morality and the sacraments.

It also reviews all sex abuse claims against clergy, to see whether a priest should be forced out, given a church trial or found innocent.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Levada has been "slow to act, harsh to victims and committed to secrecy' in responding to molestation claims.

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2005 08:39 AM