Overflow crowd honors Cardinal Levada at Naples event

Long Beach Press-Telegram

By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/03/2012

LONG BEACH – An overflow crowd gathered Tuesday in Naples to celebrate and pay honor to Cardinal William Levada, who in December was recognized at the Vatican on the 50th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood.

Levada, who heads up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an administrative branch in the Vatican, is the highest-ranking American member in the Roman Catholic Church. He occupies the same position held by Pope Benedict XVI before his elevation.

On Tuesday, alumni from St. Anthony High, Levada’s alma mater, and church leaders and other dignitaries gathered at Michael’s on Naples to fete him. …

Levada has led the church’s recent efforts to deal with the continuing fallout from sexual abuse.

San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, a classmate of Levada and his successor in San Francisco, said the cardinal’s firsthand experience dealing with sex abuse cases beginning in the 1980s gives him keen insight in this post at the Vatican.

Levada handled several high-profile cases when the depth and scope of sexual abuse cases were coming to light in the United States. Although the cardinal has been both praised and criticized for his handling of the scandals, church leaders, like Niederauer, say Levada is particularly suited to deal with the international crisis.

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