The Vatican released a document today calling on bishops’ conferences around the world to implement “clear and coordinated procedures” for dealing with clergy sex abuse. Catholic News Service’s Rome correspondent Carol Glatz reports the bishops have one year to adopt the measures.
The official newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Catholic San Francisco, has published a letter by Cardinal William J. Levada responding to New York Times’ articles on clergy sexual abuse and Pope Benedict XVI. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith defends the Holy Father and chastises the paper for being inaccurate and unfair. He offers insight into the Milwaukee and Munich cases, internal Church governance, and shares his experience of dealing with abuse cases. Clearly written and succinct, it’s worth taking the time to read this article. See the letter below, and also check out THIS blog entry for Salt + Light Television’s recent Witness interview with Cardinal Levada.
The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI: how it looks to an American in the Vatican
By Cardinal William J. Levada
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
In our melting pot of peoples, languages and backgrounds, Americans are not noted as examples of “high” culture. But we can take pride as a rule in our passion for fairness. In the Vatican where I currently work, my colleagues – whether fellow cardinals at meetings or officials in my office – come from many different countries, continents and cultures. As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.
I say this because today’s Times presents both a lengthy article by Laurie Goodstein, a senior columnist, headlined “Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest,” and an accompanying editorial entitled “The Pope and the Pedophilia Scandal,” in which the editors call the Goodstein article a disturbing report (emphasis in original) as a basis for their own charges against the Pope. Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting.
Photo: CNS photo/Art Babych
In his homily delivered on March 8th in Ottawa’s packed Notre Dame Cathedral, Cardinal William Levada inspired hundreds of faithful (mostly students and young missionaries from Catholic Christian Outreach) with an edifying message about the profound mystery (and paradox) of the Christian life.
“The proudest boast of the human race is an unknown virgin of Nazareth,” the Vatican Cardinal preached. “The Sovereign Lord of the universe was born in a manger in Bethlehem. The redemption of the whole world is accomplished between two thieves.”
“The Risen Lord comes to us in the humble elements of bread and wine,” he continued. “The Divine power to forgive sins is entrusted to sinful men themselves.”
“This is the sacramental economy in which the most extraordinary things are accomplished in the most ordinary ways.”
During his visit to Ottawa, Cardinal Levada sat down with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB for the latest episode of Witness, airing Sunday, March 28th at 8 pm ET. Seldom interviewed, the Cardinal shares about his work as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—a position previously held by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he moved on to the Chair of Peter and became Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Levada shares insights on what it’s like to have Pope Benedict XVI as a boss and how, since the papacy of John Paul II, the congregation handles even more issues than previously. These include the influx of Anglicans into the Church (especially in the wake of the recent apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus) and, notably, the wave of abuse scandals currently pummeling the Church.
“We try to be as compassionate, but also as clear as possible,” the prefect said in reference to dealing with wayward priests accused of sexual abuse.
In a personal moment of their discussion, the Cardinal tells Fr. Rosica that he “cannot get by without the grace from your prayers”, referring to all the faithful who support his work spiritually. Surely, his job these days is not an easy one.
If you happen to miss the Sunday premiere, the episode will repeat at midnight, with encore presentations on Monday at 12:30 pm, Thursday at 8 pm & midnight and Friday at 12:30 pm (all times eastern).
Photo courtesy: CCN / Deborah Gyapong
Although Cardinal William Joseph Levada’s March 8th address in Ottawa was titled “Why is the Catholic faith worth passing on?”, the focus of his question was, more pointedly, “Why is the Catholic faith worth passing on on university campuses?”
Answered by no less than the prefect of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the short version was this, simply put: “Because it is true”. He proceeded to make three points to support his answer.
First of all, a university exists in the search for truth in the various disciplines of human knowledge. Therefore, the Catholic mission to spread truth on campus is perfectly compatible with the mission of the university.
Secondly, the university is a place where students find a connection with each other and to the outside world. They must find this connection in the midst of the vastly changing technological climate, because the human person is a social person, one who seeks to be in relationship. And that’s precisely what the Catholic faith offers to these young people: a beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ.
Third, Jesus commanded us to hand on the faith. It is our great mission in life! As we pass on the faith to other students who are searching for their life’s meaning, we help them find their own fulfillment as they share in our mission. For what mission is greater than spreading the Word of truth and love of Jesus Christ?
At the end of his address, the Vatican Cardinal quoted from Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth: “In the end, man needs just one thing. […] He needs God. […] Jesus gives us ‘life’ because he gives us God.”
And so, the Cardinal’s final answer to that initial question was summarized: “We need God. That is why the Catholic faith is worth passing on.”
Below is the official text of his address, given at a fundraising gala for the university student movement Catholic Christian Outreach. S+L viewers can hear more from Cardinal Levada this Sunday, as he grants a rare, extensive interview to Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB. This special episode of Witness airs Sunday at 8 pm & midnight ET, repeating the following Thursday at those same times.
Photo courtesy: CCN / Deborah Gyapong [Read more...]
On Monday, the S+L blog published an unofficial transcript of Cardinal William Levada’s address on the Vatican’s outreach to Anglicans. His talk attracted a great deal of attention due to the rarity of a visit to Canada by this high-ranking Curial Cardinal. However, the speech was particularly significant given that the office he charges, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is responsible for overseeing the new ‘ordinariate’ structures that will welcome traditional Anglicans into full communion with Rome. If you haven’t yet read this significant address, we reproduce here the final, official text from the CDF.
Note that the Cardinal will be meeting with Pope Benedict this evening. Hopefully, he’ll have many positive things to report from his five-day trip to Canada.
Address of His Eminence William Cardinal Levada
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
St. John Fisher Visitor Lecture Series
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Five Hundred Years After St. John Fisher:
Pope Benedict’s Initiatives Regarding the Anglican Communion
Of the fifty or so English cardinals, only one was a martyr: St. John Fisher. I am honored to be invited to give this St. John Fisher Visitor Lecture to this assembly sponsored by Newman House at Queen’s University in Kingston. I am reminded of the prayer with which our Holy Father imposed the cardinal’s biretta or hat on my and some four years ago this month: “Receive this red biretta as a sign of the dignity of the Cardinalate, by which you must be strong—even to the shedding of your blood—in working for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the People of God, and for the freedom and progress of the Holy Roman Church.”
As a way of celebrating these 500 years since the time of St. John Fisher’s saintly and intrepid life, which brought him the martyr’s crown, and of celebrating as well this year’s promised beatification of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, whose search for the fullness of truth led him to Rome without requiring that he abandon the spiritual heritage that had nurtured him in the Anglican Communion, I entitled my presentation today “500 Years After St. John Fisher: Pope Benedict’s Initiatives Regarding the Anglican Communion.”
As we reported on Perspectives and throughout the blog, Cardinal William Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was visiting Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario earlier this week. His celebration of Mass at Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica will be broadcast on Salt + Light tonight, March 11th, at 8:30pm ET/9:30pm PT, with an encore presentation Friday, March 12th at 1pm ET/10 am PT. Cardinal Levada will also be featured on Witness, hosted by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB, on Sunday, March 28th at 8pm ET. The full text of Cardinal Levada’s homily on Monday can be found below:
II Kings 5:1-15
I am grateful for the invitation to join you for this Holy Mass. It is a particular blessing to be in this magnificent cathedral with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who has kindly welcomed me to Ottawa. It is a special grace to celebrate this Mass together with the local bishop in his own cathedral.
I am grateful too for the presence of my brother bishops, in particular Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, who is beginning his service in Ottawa as Apostolic Nuncio. Your Excellency, may your years in Canada be happy ones!
My dear brother priests, I greet you with special affection in this Year for Priests, a gift of grace from our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Last evening in Kingston I spoke to the priests there about the Divine Office as a priestly prayer. The Holy Eucharist is all the more so. In this Year for Priests I pray that we renew our devotion to the celebration of the Eucharist – the most important thing that we do, the most important thing that can be done.