Church wants to grease skids for sex-abuser priests

November 18, 1992|By New York Daily News

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Catholic Church's chief canon lawyer flew to Rome last night with a secret plan he hopes will quickly rid the American priesthood of men who sexually abuse children.

One church source said that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia would propose speeding up the long, complex procedure for dismissing priests by turning it from a full-fledged "trial" before a bishop to a simple administrative hearing.

"He is taking some suggestions on how to get rid of priests who don't want to go," the source said. "Under church law, it's all very strict due process, which does not always work in everyone's best interest."

Cardinal Bevilacqua, chairman of the Canonical Affairs Committee set up by the U.S. bishops' organization to handle cases involving church law, said only that he was going to spend four days in Rome discussing the issue with church officials.

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