Bevilacqua’s Sept. 12 court appearance scrapped

    An ailing, 88-year-old former Philadelphia cardinal won’t have to appear in court as scheduled Monday in a criminal priest-abuse case, according to an Associated Press report.

    A judge has canceled next week’s highly anticipated appearance of retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and the hearing is pushed to Oct. 19, though it’s not clear if Bevilacqua must attend.

    Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina was poised to decide whether Bevilacqua was fit to testify. Church lawyers say he suffers from cancer and dementia.

    Sarmina offered no explaination for the delay, and her office did not immediately return messages Wednesday. Lawyers in the case can’t comment because of a gag order.

    City prosecutors want to preserve Bevilacqua’s testimony before a scheduled trial next year. Two Roman Catholic priests, an ex-priest and a teacher are charged with raping boys.

    And Bevilacqua’s secretary for clergy, Monsignor William Lynn, is charged with child endangerment for allegedly transferring predator priests without warning.

    Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect a change to the new hearing date.

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