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Former CDF prefect speaks on curial reform, prosecution of abusive priests

January 17, 2017

Cardinal William Levada, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said that he does not anticipate a downgrading of the Vatican’s doctrinal agency, and expects that the CDF will continue to handle cases of priests accused of sexual abuse, in a lengthy interview with the National Catholic Register.

The American prelate, who was appointed as CDF prefect by Pope Benedict XVI, also spoke to the Register about his admiration for the retired Pontiff, and the rigorous approach to sex-abuse cases that Pope Benedict had championed.

Reacting to a question about whether the doctrinal work of the CDF could be decentralized, with decisions made by national bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Levada demurred. “I don’t think that would be a useful proposal,” he said. He explained that questions of doctrine require clear and consistent answers. “There are things that can be decentralized,” he said, “But ‘independence’ is not the nature of the relationship. It is solidarity and cohesion.”

The CDF has assumed the responsibility for the prosecution of clerics in sex-abuse cases. Although some rumors in Rome have suggested that the prosecution might be transferred to another Vatican office, Cardinal Levada was again skeptical. “The experience that the CDF now has... would favor the fact that it continues to do this,” he said.

 
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