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Two Americans are elevated to cardinal

Two American archbishops at the forefront of the response to the clergy sex abuse scandal - one praised for his efforts to heal wounds in the Boston Archdiocese and the other now overseeing worldwide abuse claims - were among 15 men named cardinals Wednesday by Pope Benedict XVI.

Sean P. O'Malley, 61, became archbishop in Boston after Cardinal Bernard Law was pressured to resign over his handling of abuse allegations.

William Levada, 69, had been spiritual leader for Catholics in Portland, Ore., and then in San Francisco until last year, when he was named to the most influential Vatican post ever held by an American - prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the position last held by the current pope.

Levada's new role at the Vatican includes reviewing abuse allegations against priests worldwide, which didn't sit well with some abuse victims who said he had done a poor job dealing with the crisis at home.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said last year that he had been "slow to act, harsh to victims and committed to secrecy" in responding to molestation claims. Levada responded that the criticism was off the mark and said his experience dealing with the issue was an advantage for the church.

Catholic experts have praised Levada for being able to uphold orthodox church teaching without creating controversy.

He served on a commission that oversaw revisions to the discipline plan U.S. bishops adopted for sexually abusive priests in 2002, with changes meant to protect the clergy's due process rights. He also served on a task force to address the debate over whether politicians who support abortion rights should receive Communion; the panel left it to individual bishops to decide.

Including Levada and O'Malley, there will be 14 American cardinals.