Magazine article The Christian Century

Grand Jury Report Censures Two Former Philadelphia Prelates

Magazine article The Christian Century

Grand Jury Report Censures Two Former Philadelphia Prelates

Article excerpt

Philadelphia's two most recent cardinals came under blistering criticism in a grand jury report released last month, but prosecutors said limitations in state law prohibit the filing of charges.

Cardinal John Krol, who served from 1961 to 1988 and who died in 1996, and his successor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who retired in 2003, were accused of leaving known abusers in their pulpits or having "recycled" them without notifying parishioners of allegations against them.

The grand jury report contended that the two cardinals "excused and enabled the abuse," and that the church's handling of the abuse cases "was at least as immoral as the abuse itself."

District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who convened the grand jury in 2002, said charges would not be filed because the statute of limitations in the cases had expired. Gaps in state law also prevent criminal charges against the unincorporated archdiocese.

Philadelphia's current archbishop, Cardinal Justin Rigali, called the 418-page report "very painful to read" but defended the church's handling of abuse cases, as well as Krol's and Bevilacqua's actions. …

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