October 31, 2005

Interview: Archbishop William Levada

Vatican Radio

31 Oct 05 - RV) The Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop William Levada, sat down for an interview on Monday with Charles Collins. Archbishop Levada served as an official of the Congregation 20 years ago, and began describing how things have changed. ...


I would say very much so. It is multi-pronged in which one part is to deal with those priests who have been shown to be guilty of abusing minors whether recently or even in the distant past. But the other issues about education of our communities, how to be sensitive to issues involving sexual abuse, how to know what they are, how to report them, to make priests sensitive to that, and their obligations to report allegations to the authorities both civil and church authorities, how the bishop then should comport himself in his outreach to the victim, to be fair, to make sure they are given a good hearing, to have a board that can assist him, a board of competent and expert people who bring various expertise to assist him in the discernment of the steps that should be taken, the validity of allegations, how to interact with the very difficult litigious aspects, the legal communities. The state laws differ very much from state to state in the U.S. There is no one size fits all vademecum draft to say how you are going to respond to these allegations and particularly to these court cases that are introduced. Currently there is an apostolic visitation of the seminaries which is underway that was asked for by the bishops of the U.S as an additional guarantee to people that we would have an objective point of reference to review the programs of the seminaries, admissions to seminaries. On the whole the bishops did not hesitate, even many of us who were challenged by a huge outlay of financial expense to satisfy claims sometimes ordered by courts, decided by juries, to make sure we put adequate resources into these programs, outreach to victims programs, support for legitimate claims for therapy and so forth. I would say that this program has been an extraordinarily successful response. And we even have a monitoring program to help the bishops in diocese with an outside independent audit procedure to evaluate their program to see if there are any weak points and then to make sure they are corrected. I really think that the program is just what needed to be done. I am sorry that with so many of my brother bishops that it had to be done under so much duress, that the explosion of news reports and so forth, that we are not more on top of this for a longer period of time in the past. It certainly has been a very effective program since it has been put into place.

Posted by kshaw at October 31, 2005 04:40 PM