VATICAN CITY – Pope John Paul II (search) named four new U.S. bishops Tuesday and chose a female Harvard professor to lead a pontifical academy — the highest consultative position held by a woman in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Rev. Timothy Anthony McDonnell was named bishop of the Springfield, Mass., Diocese, less than a month after Bishop Thomas Dupre stepped down amid accusations he molested two boys in the 1970s while a parish priest.
New bishops were named for Worcester, Mass., Ogdensburg, N.Y.; and a coadjutor bishop was named in Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Mo.
Law professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University was chosen to lead the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (search), which produces research to help the church establish policy.
Glendon, 65, is an academic who has extensive and close ties to the church. She is a leading American Catholic intellectual and anti-abortion advocate who headed the Vatican delegation at a 1995 U.N. women's conference in Beijing — the first woman to hold this position.
Born in Pittsfield, Mass., Glendon has been a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences since 1994, the year in which the body was formed. She has conducted research in many fields, including human rights, bioethics and constitutional law, the Vatican said, and is a member of the U.S. presidential advisory council on bioethics.
McDonnell, 66, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, replaces Dupre, who left his post in Springfield on Feb. 11, citing health reasons. His resignation came the day after The Republican newspaper of Springfield reported the molestation allegations.
Dupre left immediately for a Maryland psychiatric hospital known for treating pedophile priests, and a grand jury is investigating possible criminal charges against him. Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett has said the statute of limitations on the abuse itself has likely expired, but because Dupre allegedly tried to conceal the abuse, it may still be possible to charge him.
Bennett said other incidents of abuse also may have gone unreported during Dupre's nine years as bishop of the Springfield Diocese with about 260,000 Roman Catholics, and that the grand jury investigation will not be limited to the accusations of the two former altar boys.
The two alleged victims, now 39 and 40, have spoken with Bennett and officials from the diocese and Boston Archdiocese. Church leaders sent information from those interviews to the Vatican, where officials will determine what religious action could be taken against Dupre.
The men say Dupre introduced them to alcohol and gay pornography and molested them for a number of years. One of the men says the abuse began when he was 12, and lasted until he was in high school. The other man says the abuse continued until he was about 20.
When Dupre was about to be appointed auxiliary bishop in 1990, he allegedly contacted the men and told them he would not accept the position unless they remained quiet about the abuse, said Roderick MacLeish, a lawyer for both men.
MacLeish has said Dupre received two letters and an e-mail within the past year accusing him of the abuse. Church officials have said they're unaware of any notices Dupre may have received. Investigators last week confiscated material from Dupre's home, but would not comment on what they took.
Along with the shake-up of Dupre's departure, McDonnell will have to deal with about 30 lawsuits by people who say they were abused by priests as children.
According to an internal report by the diocese last month, 30 priests were accused of sexually abusing 70 youths in the past 50 years. Twenty-two of those allegations were deemed "credible," church officials said.
McDonnell was ordained in 1963 in New York, where he was born, going on to serve as a parish priest before moving to senior positions in the archdiocese from the 1970s through the 1990s. In 2001, McDonnell was named auxiliary bishop of New York.
The pope accepted the resignation of Worcester, Mass., Bishop Daniel Patrick Reilly, 75, for reasons of age, and named 52-year-old Bishop Robert Joseph McManus in his place. In May, Reilly turned 75, the normal retirement age for bishops.
McManus, born in Providence, R.I., attended Catholic University (search) and a seminary in Toronto, and continued his studies at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained in 1978 in the Providence Diocese, and worked as a parish priest until the early 1980s.
He then was a chaplain at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick and headed the diocese office of ministerial formation, among other posts. He was named Allegheny bishop and Providence auxiliary bishop in 1998.
The new bishop of Ogdensburg, N.Y., is Monsignor Robert Joseph Cunningham, 60, currently administrator of the Buffalo, N.Y., Diocese.
Born in Buffalo and ordained in 1969, Cunningham worked as a parish priest, bishop's secretary and chancellor of the diocese. In December, he was named interim leader of the Buffalo Diocese after Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was installed in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The pontiff chose Monsignor Robert W. Finn, 50, as bishop coadjutor for Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Mo., meaning he would take over as bishop when the position becomes vacant. Finn has run the Saint Louis Review, a diocese magazine.
Finn, of St. Louis, was a teacher at a Catholic school in Washington, among other positions, before being named in 1999 to run the magazine.