Philadelphia cardinal Bevilacqua dies; tenure marred by sex abuse

Los Angeles Times

February 1, 2012

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, the former head of the Philadelphia archdiocese who was accused during his 15-year tenure of ignoring sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests, has died. The diocese announced that Bevilacqua, 88, died in his sleep Tuesday night in his apartment at a seminary in a Philadelphia suburb.

Bevilacqua, known for his regular press-the-flesh visits to all 302 parishes in the archdiocese and for his strong stands against racism and anti-Semitism, was also sharply critical of homosexuals and refused for several years to close Catholic churches and schools to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

In a statement Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI praised Bevilacqua’s “longstanding commitment to social justice and pastoral care of immigrants and his expert contribution of the revision of the church’s law in the years following the Second Vatican Council.”

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