Bevilacqua Leaves Complicated Legacy, Funeral Plans Announced

By Mike DeNardo,Ian Bush and Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died Tuesday night at the age of 88 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (see related story), leaving a conflicted legacy.

Bevilacqua served as Archbishop of Philadelphia for 15 years, from 1988 to 2003, succeeding Cardinal John Krol. He was elevated by Pope John Paul II to Cardinal in 1991.

Rocco Palmo, editor of Philadelphia-based website, “Whispers in the Loggia,” that follows the Catholic Church, knew Bevilacqua personally.

“I’m sure half the Catholics in the Archdiocese probably have pictures in their homes of one of their kids with Cardinal Bevilacqua and the mitre — you know, the pointy bishop’s hat — on the kid’s head,” Palmo said. “I’m sure that even for the revelations and accusations the last 10 years, I’m sure there are still a lot of people out there who remember him very well and very fondly.”

Bevilacqua retired and was replaced by Justin Rigali in 2003. A grand jury, investigating child sexual abuse by priests in 2005, cited Bevilacqua for allowing dozens of predator priests to stay on the job and transferring them from parish to parish to avoid scandal.

“I don’t know if we’re going to have objective answers to what that his legacy is. That’s something for historians. It’s not something we can determine in the heat of the moment with trials yet to begin,” Palmo said.

Bevilacqua’s death comes at a historic time in the Philadelphia Catholic Church according to Palmo.

“Any way you look at it, whether for the Cardinal, for the survivors and their families, really for the whole church of Philadelphia; this heightens the dramatic nature of this last decade, but above all this last year. With the grand jury, the stunning appointment of Chaput, the trials, the most intense cultural shift the Archdiocese has known in almost 200 years — all in a year,” he said.

A statement from Barbara Blaine, President of Survivors of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says “With the passing of Cardinal Bevilacqua, we will never learn the full truth about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.”

Bevilacqua’s funeral plans are as follows:

Following a private viewing at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Archbishop Chaput will receive the body at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, February 6, 2012 at approximately 5:30 p.m. A public viewing will take place at the Cathedral Basilica from 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. There will also be a public viewing on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Solemn Funeral Mass for Cardinal Bevilacqua will begin at 2:00 p.m. followed by the Rite of Committal in the Cathedral Crypt (located below the main altar). The funeral Mass celebrant will be Archbishop Chaput and the homilist will be Monsignor Louis D’Addezio.

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    […] would seem appropriate to write about the National Football League and the men who coach its teams.Bevilacqua Leaves Complicated Legacy, Funeral Plans Announced“I don’t know if we’re going to have objective answers to what his legacy is. […]

  • Lucifer

    I await the arrival of my fallen servant Tony, well done my boy well done. Next we await Sansusky and Conlin,,,,,,,

  • Mike Mc


    “It turns out (Paterno) gave full disclosure to his superiors, information that went up the chains to the head of the campus police and the president of the school. The matter was in the hands of the university, and yet, for his actions, he was excoriated by the media and fired over the telephone by his university.

    Was Bevilacqua removed from his position? All Bevilacqua did was ask his assistant to move the priest from one parish to another.

    It is a stupid comparison by you.

    The issue is the Catholic church and how they (not just bevilacqua) did not do anything.

  • Patrick O

    Bevilaqua’s legacy is that he concealed the truth about known child rapists in the church. That is reprehensible and unforgivable, except by Catholics. May his soul never see peace, and may he receive an eternity worse than his victims suffered on earth.

  • Unbelievable

    I am so appalled at the “reporting” that we are stuck with— I do not defend Bevilacqua’s detestable conduct but what outrages me here is the ridiculous double standard —

    The Cardinal dies and the foremost mentioned thing about him is the sex scandal and his role and yet JOE PATERNO died and every news station — INCLUDING this one CELEBRATES his “legacy” for doing many of the same things— HE TURNED HIS BACK ON CHILD RAPE and you CELEBRATE him— What the hell makes THIS man’s death different—Bev did it for longer so somehow that makes him more disgusting?


    • Patrick O

      Every news station mentioned Paterno’s child sex scandal, and he covered up for just one child rapist.

      However, Paterno did some good in his life. Bevilaqua hid many child rapists, and that was his most significant contribution to the world.

      • Convenient

        I doubt that the children and families of those who were abused are able to relish in this convenient distinction.

        You are correct– his participation in the sex scandals (JP) was mentioned– briefly and quickly— to allow the endless tributes to continue to play.

  • Judy Block-Jones

    This news of Bevilacqua’s death can be a very difficult time for
    victims (who were once innocent children) but were sexually abused
    under his watch. Especially when we see him being praised and
    glorified for being such a good holy man.

    Keep on thing in mind, you are not alone with your pain and anger,
    and there is hope, help, and a chance to heal. Thousands who know
    your pain are with you in spirit.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.

    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the
    world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite
    the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by
    religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis,
    bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were
    assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer
    camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is

  • Mike Mc

    Boy Adamnnn, you sound a little upset and a bit of a raciest. But most of all, you are an idiot.

    I was born Roman Catholic and have spent my schooling in the Catholic education system.

    I don’t think any of the molesters were at the level as priests are. You talk about all the numbers of Orthodox Jew’s who are charged. (85…which is 85 to many) but when that compares to the Catholic priests who are charged(According to CNN, 4,450 priests were accused of sex abuse up to and including 2009.That’s *only* in the US, worldwide it’s quite a bit more.) You should understand why it gets more press. Also, the church moved priests around from parish to parish instead of taking care of it the right way.

    Your comments were made to stir up an argument. Just want to throw these facts at you.

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    […] (CBS) — Will Cardinal Bevilaqua’s death (see related story) affect the ongoing priest-abuse case?  Not much, says one legal expert who is very familiar with […]

  • Neil Allen

    None of his legacy is complicated.

    Bevilaqua absolutely disgraced God, and was a heartless coward. He knowingly hid, moved, and protected pedophile priests who raped the youngest, most innocent children. He lied about it until the end.

    There is no forgiveness for what he did, and what he didn’t do. He created tormented souls on earth, and will pay for it by spending eternity with the devil, in pain and terror.

    God is just.

    BIH, Bevilaqua.

  • Mother Nature

    Easier to die than stand for cross examination!

  • adamnnnn

    Sadly, KYW and CBS, colluding with the rich and powerful, allow the jewish children, muslim, and others go without the exposure the catholics receive. Stories below will never be promoted and reported like those about the church. And they wont drag a sick and dieing jew, muslim to court – it just wont happen. But if it does, be sure the KYW/CBS wont report it with any significance….No justice, no ethics, no fairness in reporting, Why stgmatize one group with an issue that plagues us? KYW will not respond.

    Orthodox sex abuse scandal
    117 kid victims and 85 arrests in Jewish enclave

    Last Updated: 12:54 PM, December 11, 2011

    Posted: 12:09 AM, December 11, 2011
    He looks like a movie star, but many members of Brooklyn’s Jewish community believe he is a monster.

    Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Jewish social-service agencies, is charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush — one from age 11 to 15, the other from age 13 to 16.

    Goodman filmed sex acts with the youngsters on a Web cam, according to the 144-count indictment, which alleges numerous violations since 2006. He has pleaded not guilty.

    The handsome Goodman, who held parties in his home with liquor and child porn, also “threatened the life” of a boy who reported him to authorities, court papers and sources say.

    SNARED:Andrew Goodman (above), one of 85 sex-abuse suspects arrested over the last three years by Project Kol Tzedek, has been accused of preying on the boys of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community and — even after his arrest on sex-assault charges — was caught on video ushering teens into his Flatbush home (below). He is being held on Rikers Island in lieu of a $1 million cash bail.

    He’s one of an astounding 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for “voice of justice.”

    The cases involve 117 victims — a number that has the community reeling from the extent of the horrors of pedophilia.



    Launched amid complaints that Hynes was soft on Orthodox child predators, Kol Tzedek aims to coax victims to come forward, despite strong pressure in the insular religious community to cover up such crimes.

    All but two of the suspects are men, and more than half the victims are male, said Assistant DA Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex abuse and crimes against children division.

    Of the 38 cases closed so far, 14 perps got jail time, ranging from a month to 10-to-20 years for crimes that included sex abuse, attempted kidnapping, and sodomy, Jaus said.

    The other 24 have walked free. They got probation, pleaded to minor charges, or saw their cases dismissed — often because victims or their parents backed out under community pressure.

    Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, requires anyone alleging sex abuse by a fellow observant Jew to first report to its rabbis, who decide whether the case should go to secular authorities.

    Goodman’s case, which Hynes’ office hasn’t publicized, shows how the community’s response has started to change. Rather than keeping it among the Orthodox, some alleged victims turned to sympathetic religious leaders and outside authorities to help lock up a menace.

    “Andrew Goodman is known in our community as a lifelong molester who preys on young boys and ruins their lives,” a Talmudic scholar at Congregation Bais Torah wrote to Brooklyn Judge Martin Murphy, who is hearing the case.

  • adamnnn


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