Cardinal Levada: No sanctions for bishops

At a lunch meeting today with journalists sponsored by Time magazine, Cardinal William Levada, the former San Francisco archbishop who Joseph Ratzinger named to replace himself at the CDF when Ratzinger was elected pope, answered a number of good questions about the papal visit so far. But in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, he rejected any suggestion that Benedict's statements and meeting with victims was opening the door to disciplining bishops.In fact, the cardinal seemed to bristle at a suggestion that some bishops had "aided and abetted" priest-abusers by not acting to remove them."I don't believe that," Levada said. "I know bishops who have said to me, if I had known then what I know now, I would have acted differently." But he said the bishops who moved abusers around to other parishes or did not remove them from ministry were acting on bad advice from experts and psychiatrists."So it [the scandal] has been a learning experience for bishops," the cardinal said."I personally do not accept that there has been a broad base of bishops guilty of aiding and abetting pedophiles...If I thought there were, I would certainly want to talk to them about that."Those quotations are from my notes; video of the Q&A will be posted at Time's website later this evening. I have written more over at "Benedictions." Levada also told some good stories and displayed a droll sense of humor. But his remarks about accountability for bishops are not likely to please many Catholics.

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Religion
Culture
Books
Collections