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Pennsylvania court hearing will assess ailing cardinal's competence to testify

Catholic World News - August 05, 2011

A Philadelphia court has set a September hearing date to determine whether or not Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua is competent to give testimony for the trial of a former subordinate in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Prosecutors have asked to tape the cardinal’s testimony, since he suffers from dementia and his memory may be further impaired by the date set for the trial—in March of next year. Lawyers for the cardinal argue that in light of his condition, it would be unreasonable to expect his testimony even now.

(The Philadelphia Inquirer news report inaccurately identifies the leading defendant in the case, Msgr. William Lynn, as a member of the “hierarchy.” It is accurate, however, to say that Msgr. Lynn is the first American diocesan official to face felony trial on charges that he covered up evidence of sexual abuse.)

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