Exclusive: Cardinal William Levada Describes Crisis in the Church

BY Morgan Till  April 26, 2010 at 5:56 PM EST

VATICAN CITY | Here’s why this interview is a big deal: for five years now, Cardinal William Levada has headed the office that handles all sexual abuse claims and cases that filter up to the Vatican. Levada has not granted a television interview before – he told us this is his first.

He is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 1542, the office was called the “Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition” and tasked to “defend the Church from heresy” and has gone through several iterations since. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once held the position, until his election as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Now, Levada’s office handles more than 3,000 cases of alleged child sex abuse, with a staff of less than 10 people dedicated to the task. He speaks with Margaret Warner about how large a crisis this is for the church; his thoughts on the coverage of the scandal (which he has derided in print); how the Pope sees the issue; and whether more bishops will resign … willingly or by decree.

Watch a preview here:

You’ll be able to watch a full report on this interview on Tuesday’s NewsHour. Margaret’s voice is a bit strained as you can hear — she’s taking care of it and hopes to be at full strength tomorrow.