Plaudits for cardinal with regrets for a stain on legacy

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O’Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

The clergy sex-abuse scandal that so dominated the last decade of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua’s life may well dominate public perception of his legacy, some observers say.

His friends and colleagues, however, described the retired archbishop of Philadelphia, who died Tuesday at age 88, as a “behind-the-scenes” prelate who did much of his best work out of public view.

Bishop Joseph Galante, head of the Diocese of Camden, on Wednesday described Bevilacqua as having been a “leading advocate for assistance for immigrants at a time when society was not as conscious of their needs.”

Galante noted that Bevilacqua, already a church lawyer, also earned a civil law degree as a young priest in order to serve the immigrant poor. “I pray God will give him the reward of his labors,” he said.

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