Edward A. McCarthy, 87, a retired archbishop who hosted a summit of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan, beefed up charities to deal with immigrants and was accused of covering up clergy abuse, died June 7, it was reported in Miami. No cause of death was released.
Archbishop McCarthy, who led the Archdiocese of Miami from 1977 to 1994, earned praise from Catholics for spearheading the summit bringing Reagan and John Paul to Miami in September 1987 while the pope was on a U.S. tour.
Ideologically, Archbishop McCarthy was a staunch opponent of abortion, the death penalty, casino gambling and restrictive immigration policies, while backing tuition tax credits for parents of children in private schools.
He expanded Catholic charities in response to waves of immigrants from Cuba during the Mariel boatlift of 1980 and the rafter exodus of 1994, as well as new arrivals from Haiti and Central America, as public agencies struggled with service gaps.
He was criticized for covering up clergy abuse that generated a handful of lawsuits against the archdiocese. In one suit, a former altar boy claimed the archbishop coerced him to stay silent about alleged sexual abuse by a priest at a group home for troubled boys.
Archbishop McCarthy sent a priest accused of sexually abusing boys for a pedophilia evaluation as the archdiocese publicly defended him, the Miami Herald reported last year. When the scandal broke, Archbishop McCarthy said media reports "jeopardized the reputation and ministry of a very dedicated and self-sacrificing priest."
Early in his tenure, Archbishop McCarthy reorganized the archdiocese, established a four-month waiting and counseling period for couples planning to be married and oversaw the creation of dioceses in Palm Beach and Venice, Fla.
In 1981, Archbishop McCarthy sent a telegram to Reagan protesting a policy of indefinite detention for Haitian refugees claiming political asylum. He also traveled to Cuba that year to attend the installation of Havana Archbishop Jaime Lucas Ortega, who is now a cardinal.
In 1986, he created Catholic Health Services, which builds and manages low-cost apartments and health care facilities for the elderly. He also created a radio station in 1993 that provides Catholic programming in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole to South Floridians.
Earlier in his career, Archbishop McCarthy was bishop of Phoenix and Cincinnati, where he was born. He was ordained in Cincinnati in 1943.