By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When Pope Francis visits Philadelphia in September, he will be making a stop in the city’s largest prison, where a former high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is being housed, awaiting his appeal, in the priest sex abuse scandal.
The pope’s visit with inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility is sandwiched between his meeting with bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and his mass for the World Meeting of Families, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Msgr. William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in the archdiocese, who was convicted of one count of child endangerment, has been in and out of prison as his appeals process plays out.
His defense lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, says he has absolutely no idea about the odds of Lynn being in the inmate audience when the Holy Father visits.
“You know, there’s always hope, of course. I’d just as soon leave it at that — it’s just one of those things — and see what happens. What will be, will be,” he said today.
The archdiocese has funded Lynn’s defense.
Philadelphia prisons commissioner Louis Giorla declined to comment. The mayor’s spokesman, Mark McDonald, says the prison system has not yet worked out specific details of the pope’s visit to CFCF, the makeup of the papal audience, or how many or which inmates might be present.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent KYW Newsradio the following statement: “The Archdiocese is not actively working to arrange time for the Holy Father to meet Msgr. Lynn during the visit to Curran Fromhold. The presence of Msgr. Lynn there was not an influencing factor in that site being chosen for the visit.”