May 30, 2005

Abuse crisis to follow Levada to Rome post

San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Monday, May 30, 2005

Archbishop William Levada's move to Rome this summer will offer the former San Francisco prelate little respite from the clergy sex abuse crisis in the American Catholic Church.

Levada's new job as Pope Benedict XVI's chief doctrinal watchdog includes leading the Vatican's investigation of hundreds of ordained clergymen suspended from public ministry amid allegations they had sexually abused children.

Anne Burke, the former head of the U.S. bishops'Abuse Tracker Review Board set up to study the abuse crisis, said Levada's new office is overwhelmed with a backlog of some 700 cases.

"Rome has not been set up for these kind of (church) trials,'' said Burke, a state appeals court judge in Illinois.

Burke said U.S. bishops are largely responsible for the backlog because they have not provided adequate information to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which decides whether to permanently suspend, defrock or otherwise discipline accused clerics.

Posted by kshaw at May 30, 2005 04:23 AM