Pa. cardinal, 88, called to court in abuse case

By MARYCLAIRE DALE | August 5, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The 88-year-old former archbishop of Philadelphia has been summoned to court to see if he should be deposed in a criminal priest-abuse case.

City prosecutors want to preserve Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's (beh-vih-LAH'-kwahs) testimony before the March 26 trial because he suffers from cancer and dementia. Bevilacqua is a potential trial witness.

Monsignor William Lynn, the secretary for clergy under Bevilacqua, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly transferring predator priests. He is the first U.S. church official charged in the priest-abuse scandal. Three priests and a former teacher are charged with rape.

Lawyers for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia say Bevilacqua is too ill to testify.

A judge asked for his medical records and ordered Bevilacqua to appear in court on Sept. 12 for a competency hearing.