A Convenient Memory: Bevilacqua and the Sex Abuse Scandal

This article in today’s Inquirer on Cardinal Bevilacqua’s role in the sex abuse scandal is even more sinister for me. When the legal pressure was turned up, his faulty memory morphed into diagnosed dementia. Trusted sources, who are personal friends of the Cardinal, have told me that while physically fragile he was in good mental health until recently. I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered if he had testified. The truth was disposable.

“Prosecutor grilled, Bevilacqua deflected, grand jury testimony from 2003 shows,” by Nancy Phillips, Craig R. McCoy, Maria Panaritis, David O’Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writers, July 24, 2011


“In some cases, he (Cardinal Bevilacqua) acknowledged that church officials had misled churchgoers about the reasons for a priest’s transfer. In one case, the archdiocese told parishioners that an abusive priest had come down with Lyme disease and should be in their prayers.

Questioned further about this, the cardinal gave a familiar answer: He was following the advice of his top aides, notably Lynn.

As the church official in charge of handling complaints from victims, Lynn, according to prosecutors, was the cardinal’s agent in shuttling abusive priests from parish to parish without informing police or parishioners.”

7 thoughts on “A Convenient Memory: Bevilacqua and the Sex Abuse Scandal

  1. I know that many people do not take the time to read the Grand Jury reports. If everyone can link this article on their FB pages,twitters,email lists – it at least will provide information for people who are still in the dark about the sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church.
    This site is an open forum – all opinions are welcome.If we can just remember the purpose of this site is to address the crisis of sexual abuse of children both locally ,nationally and internationally. I know a lot of times discussions get off track on the site – I am guilty of this myself.The truth is the kids and victims need us so let’s all try to have our comments focus and reflect this.

  2. So, ‘bevilaqua’ when asked by the PGJ why he did not report the abuse to the police he responded, ” my attorney’s told me I didn’t have to’ , and the ‘faithful’ listen to these PERPS ? How anyone in their right mind can not see what is most important the rcc / vatican and can in good conscious donate to this organization is beyond me. I believe that ‘chaput’ was sent here as a ‘henchmen’ to use the influence of the church to prevent any Legislation that would expose the enablers and abusers of anyone who abused a CHILD ! This is not about being anti-catholic this is about being anti-child abuse !

  3. It was very disturbing to read today’s story in the Inquirer that details the conduct, demeanor and responses of Cardinal Bevilacqua during the grand jury proceedings. However, the manner, style and content of the Cardinal’s interaction is not at all surprising given that he is a civil attorney and his training in this regard shown through very clearly and definitively.

    What is of concern to this writer is whether or not things have changed in archdiocesan management and leadership in reference to placing clergy in positions of leadership and power who are civil attorneys. This issue is extremely important when it comes to the handling of allegations of clergy sexual abuse by such clergy leaders. Is their first responsibility to the safety and protection of the victims or is their first responsibility to the organization (archdiocese), according to the Rules of Professional Conduct that is part of the attorney profession?

    I have had direct dealings (conversation, correspondence) with two such leaders in archdiocese management shortly after the release of the first grand jury report. Since that time, these two clergy have been promoted and one is the Chancellor and another is a Bishop at the highest levels of archdiocesan leadership.

  4. Hold on to your hats, folks! There will be more info to surface over the next weeks- there was over 1200 pages of testimony submitted. Others in the higher ups will likely be named also. How much more has to be reveled for a critical mass of people to do something- like lobby, lobby, lobby to get changes in the PA laws to stop protecting these men?

  5. Words will never do justice in explaining the horrific role these church leaders played in covering up these crimes against children. Only our spirits, deep within us, will we be able to experience the horror that is taking place within the institutional church. Come Holy Spirit!!!

  6. There are many things going on in the church, the sex abuse obviously being the most vile of all, that need to be addressed, yet all issues are inter realated. I think that it is an abuse of power in relationship to the church, that needs to be exposed, on all levels. I believe the average Catholic who wants change, wants change in many areas, sex abuse should just be a given, especially when refering to a religious organization and its people. Because of their ability to hide abusers and circumvent laws (legal and laws of humanity) there is corruption apleanty. Is there no value in exposing all of it?

    I have brought up many things that I guess could be considered off topic, yet go back to the percieved justification of the church for hiding, and covering up for child abusers. The arrogance and lies goes into matters of finance, management, you name it.

    How about the money that went missing from the Philly AD that was reported this past weekend? This is an organization the claims to love and protect children, yet they harbor and lie for abusers. They claim to take child protection seriously, yet reluctantly help when issues are reported. They constantly need money, yet funds go missing, schools are closing, parishes threaten parents paying tuition to pony up more, more, more. I see all these actions in need of serious review.

  7. Speaking of financial considerations and Church matters left unanswered, whatever happened to the situation at Incarnation Parish, 5th St. and Lindley Ave., where the pastor was removed last year after it was discovered that he was involved in a “business venture” that was widely advertised on the Internet.

    A collection to help CRS help Haiti was taken up in the 267 parishes of the Archdiocese at weekend Masses Jan. 23-24.

    The Cardinal presented the $1,807,269 check to Ken Hackett, president of CRS, May 5 in the auditorium of Incarnation of Our Lord School in the Olney section of North Philadelphia.

    The pastor is involved in pyramid-like business enterprises on the Internet and that same parish is used as the site for presenting the Haitian relief check for nearly $2 million.

    Where is the financial oversight, accountability and scrutiny?


Leave a Reply