Showdown: ailing Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered to appear in court

His health is failing, but the man at the center of the sex abuse scandal in Philadelphia has been ordered to make a court appearance next month.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua has been ordered to appear at a Sept. 12 hearing so a judge can determine if he is competent to testify in the conspiracy and child-endangerment trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina on Friday also set March 26 as the start of the landmark trial, which prosecutors said could last four months.

Lawyers for the 88-year-old former archbishop have said he suffers from prostate cancer and dementia and is not fit to give testimony.

Sarmina told them at Friday’s hearing that she would decide Bevilacqua’s fitness only after seeing him in person. She instructed them to “take the necessary medical steps” to bring the cardinal into court, and to provide his medical records from the last two years.

Lynn, 60, had served as Bevilacqua’s secretary for clergy for nearly 12 years, during which time he recommended priests’ assignments. He is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children in connection with the alleged sexual assaults of two boys by three priests in 1990s. Those men will be tried with him.

Read more.

UPDATE: It appears the Inquirer is no longer making its story available online.   You can read more, however, at the Philadelphia Daily News and the AP.

  • pagansister

    IMO, the Cardinal should be brought to court for the judge to see his ability to testify. If he is indeed suffering from dementia, she should be able to tell by asking him just a few questions.

    The men in the Church should pay for the disregard they have shown to the children trusted to their care in the past.

  • rudy

    I took the “Protecting God’s Children” workshop back in 2008 as part of the Church’s requirement for all people involved in any kind of ministry that interacts with children and the elderly. The worship consisted of a videotape, a test, and a few remarks and questions from the lady giving the material. It was pretty run of the mill and it reminded me a lot of the sexual harassment worships I’ve taken at work.

    What really called my attention and even bothered me somewhat was that throughout the whole presentation, only lay people were shown in the video in different situations. But not in a single instance were priests or other clerics shown or mentioned. It made it seem like the problem were the lay ministers.

    Not a single mention to priests abuse? That was baffling and even disingenuous. It’s like a pretend game. I don’t know if other workshops are like this, but there two glaring absences from the one I took:

    1. Abusive priests and enabler bishops

    2. Homosexuality as it relates to 95% or more of all abuse cases.


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