February 23, 2006

Vatican elevates Levada to cardinal

San Francisco Chronicle

Julian Guthrie, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, February 23, 2006

San Francisco's former archbishop, William Levada, was named a cardinal on Wednesday, making the California native eligible to vote to select the next pope and increasing the chance that he could one day lead the Roman Catholic Church.

Levada was the seventh archbishop of San Francisco and the first in the 153-year history of the archdiocese to be elevated to cardinal. He left San Francisco in August to run the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the highest position any American has ever held in the Vatican. ...

Levada, who was San Francisco's archbishop for 10 years, had his critics. Priest abuse victims and their advocates said Levada did more to protect abusive priests than to help victims.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, an online archive of clergy sex abuse cases, said Levada and O'Malley were "keepers of secrets."

"The pope picked two Americans who are vigorous enforcers of conservative church doctrine and who will maintain the high levels of secrecy essential to being a cardinal," Barrett Doyle said. "On March 24, they will kneel before the pope and say an oath in which they promise never to reveal anything that would bring harm or dishonor to the church."

Linda Pieczynski, the spokeswoman for Call to Action, a national lay Catholic group that advocates for the rights of gays, women and priests to marry, said she was disappointed by the pope's choices.

"Levada wasn't exactly rushing to disclose the names of perpetrators and reach out to victims, and now he's being honored by the Vatican," she said. "We see this as business as usual."

Posted by kshaw at February 23, 2006 07:48 AM