Vatican City, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI announced today that Archbishop William Joseph Levada, until now Archbishop of San Francisco, is succeeding him as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Archbishop William Joseph Levada is a fourth-generation Californian, born in Long Beach on June 15, 1936.
Except for a three-year interval when his family lived in Texas, he attended elementary and high schools in Long Beach, followed by four years of Seminary College in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
In 1958, he was sent to pursue his seminary formation in Rome at the North American College, and took his graduate theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, receiving a doctorate in sacred theology magna cum laude.
Following ordination to the priesthood in St. Peter's Basilica on December 20, 1961, he spent five years in parish work in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, including part-time high school teaching and college campus ministry.
After receiving his doctorate, he taught theology at St. John's Seminary School of Theology, located at Camarillo in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
During these six years he also served as the first Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy in the Archdiocese.
Serving at the Vatican
In 1976, he was appointed an Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. During his six years of service, he continued teaching theology part-time as an Instructor at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In 1982, he was assigned to be Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops in Sacramento, the public policy arm of the Church in California. During his two years there, he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, and was ordained with the title Titular Bishop of Capri on May 12, 1983.
Returning to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1984, he served as Episcopal Vicar for Santa Barbara County until his 1986 appointment as Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia.
On July 1, 1986, he was appointed eighth Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, and was installed on September 21.
During his nine years in Portland, Archbishop Levada was able to devote time to the recruitment of priestly vocations and enhancement of the seminary at Mt. Angel, where he taught Ecclesiology.
Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of San Francisco on August 17, 1995, Archbishop Levada was installed on October 24 that year, and succeeded Archbishop John Quinn, as seventh Archbishop of San Francisco on December 27, 1995.
Since his ordination as a Bishop, he has been active on many committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as on the governing boards of the Catholic University of America, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Drafting the Catechism
From 1986 to 1993 he served as the only American bishop on the Editorial Committee of the Vatican Commission for a Catechism of the Catholic Church; he authored the Catechism's Glossary, which was published in the English-language second edition of the Catechism.
In 1997, he participated in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America, and was subsequently named to its post-Synodal Council.
From July 1999, to May 2000, he was assigned additional duties as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.
During 2000, he was designated Bishop Co-Chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States (ARC-USA). In November the Vatican announced his appointment as a Member of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
In November 2003, he began a 3-year term as Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine.
He also serves as Grand Prior of the Northwest Lieutenancy (USA) of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and as Conventual Chaplain for the Western Association (USA) of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. He currently serves on the USCCB Delegation to the Mixed Commission for the Charter and Essential Norms for the Protection of Children and Young People, and on the Task Force on Catholics in Political Life.
Vatican City, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Catholics around the world are rejoicing today with Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he would open the cause for the beatification of his predecessor, John Paul II, who died April 2nd.
Deciding to waive the normal waiting period of five years after a person’s death, the Holy Father made the announcement during a meeting with the Roman clergy in the basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Church usually does not start the process of canonization until at least five years after the person's death. But Pope Benedict told clergy in Rome today that he is waiving the traditional five-year waiting period.
Pope Benedict’s decision answers the requests of many of Catholic faithful, who say Pope John Paul II demonstrated clear evidence of his holiness during his 26-year pontificate.
Hundreds of thousands of them expressed their desire to see John Paul quickly canonized during the late pontiff’s April 8 funeral, spontaneously chanting "Santo subito!"
John Paul was the first to waive the five-year rule in 1999, when he put Mother Teresa on the fast track to sainthood only two years after her death.
Proof of one miracle is needed for beatification, and two for canonization.
Vatican City, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Meeting this morning at St. John Lateran Basilica with members of the clergy of the Diocese of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI stressed a priestly formation, which is ‘rooted in Christ’, obedient to one’s Bishop, and which devotes consistent time to prayer.
After greeting staff and visiting the pontifical apartments this morning, Pope Benedict delivered his address to members of his diocese.
He said that "the extraordinary experience of faith that we experienced with the death of our much-loved Pope John Paul II, has shown us a Roman Church profoundly united, full of life and rich in enthusiasm; all this is the fruit of your prayers and your apostolate."
He also highlighted the need "to always go back to the roots of our priestly calling," in other words, "Jesus Christ, the Lord," and pointed out that as priests "we are charged not to say many words, but rather to echo and to be bearers of a single 'Word,' that is the Word of God, made flesh for our salvation.”
“We have to be His true friends,” the Pope said, “to share His feelings, to want what He wants and not want what He does not want."
He then invited the gathered priests to make the words of John Paul II their own: "Mass is, in an absolute way, the center of my life and of each of my days."
Speaking of obedience to Christ, he recalled that this "takes concrete form in ecclesial obedience, which for a priest is, in everyday practice, above all obedience to his bishop."
The Holy Father recalled the words of his own homily before the conclave which elected him Pope, in which he described "holy restlessness; a restlessness to bring everyone the gift of faith."
He said that Christ "calls us to be His witnesses," and mentioned the necessity of "being with God," of seeking "intimate communion with Christ," in order "not to give in to fatigue, but to resist and, even more so, to grow as people and as priests."
"Time to be in the presence of God”, he stressed, “is a true pastoral priority; in the final analysis, the most important priority. John Paul II demonstrated this to us in the most tangible and luminous of ways in all the circumstances of his life and his ministry."
The Pope added that, "our personal response to the call of sanctity is fundamental and decisive. This condition is essential, not only for our personal apostolate to be fruitful but also, and more broadly, for the Church's face to reflect the light of Christ."
"My ministry as bishop of Rome”, he said, “follows in the footsteps of my predecessors, in particular taking up the precious heritage left by John Paul II. Dear priests and deacons, let us walk together along this path with serenity and trust."
After his address, Pope Benedict listened to questions and reflections given by various priests and religious, thanking them for their thoughts, before returning to the Vatican.
Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - In an interview with the Spanish daily “La Razon,” the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, said that with the election of Benedict XVI, the original plans for the next World Youth Day were kept in place, as more than one million young people are expected for the event.
“We have always expected around 800,000. But I think that now, since we will have two Popes—one in heaven and another on earth—for sure one million young people will come,” the cardinal said.
“John Paul II was the one who invited young people to World Youth Day. More than four million people came to Rome for his funeral, many of them young people. And at the ‘Habemus Papam,’ 80% were young people. I am convinced that we can expect one million young people. Cardinal Rouco has told me that many will come from Spain, because Spain is not far from Cologne,” he said.
The cardinal revealed that he was the first of the cardinals to promise fidelity to the Pope. “I wanted to tell him: ‘Holy Father, welcome to Cologne,’ but I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t say anything. Then the Holy Father said to me, ‘I am coming to Cologne and I am happy to go to Cologne.’ I didn’t need to invite him. He invited himself. And to me that is the way it should be because it is his World Youth Day, not mine.”
The cardinal said that organizers had scaled back the WYD program thinking an infirm John Paul II might be attending. But with the election of a new Pope, they have kept in place the original plans for extended papal involvement.
The Mozart of theology
Several weeks ago, Cardinal Meisner coined the phrase “Mozart of theology” in reference to Pope Benedict XVI. He told “La Razon” that “it means that the Holy Father is to theologians what Mozart is to musicians. His theology is true and beautiful. It’s like the music of Mozart.”
“I have known the Pope for 35 years and we are friends. When I saw that age 78, when others are retiring, he was to take on a mission so great, and he did it with such grace and intelligence, I was moved interiorly and tears began to flow. I’m a man, not a machine. And a man with a heart can cry,” he said, recalling the election of his fellow countryman.
Cardinal Meisner says the new Pontiff “is as intelligent as twelve professors and as pious as a child making his First Communion.”
Washington D.C., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans has refused to attend Loyola University’s commencement ceremony because the institution has chosen to confer honors to two pro-abortion politicians, Sen. Mary Landrieu and her brother, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.
National director of Priests for Life Fr. Frank Pavone commended the archbishop for his courageous decision.
"Archbishop Hughes has bravely stood up to the defiance of Loyola University," said Fr. Pavone.
"Some will counter that we cannot exercise this vigilance on abortion without starting to do so on a host of other moral issues. The fact is that support for abortion violates the foundation of every moral position, not just that regarding the unborn. If you deny a child a right to live, you've already denied his right to work, health care, education, and living in peace," added Fr. Pavone.
Bloomingdale, Ill., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic Familyland is gearing up for its annual summer events.
Holy Family Fests 2005 will be held June 25-July 1, July 9-15, July 23-29 and Aug. 6-12.
The weeklong camps are designed for families and individuals from across the country who are looking for a week of faith, family and fun, without leaving God behind.
Activities at the 950-acre camp are designed for all age groups, and they include swimming, horseback riding, nature hikes, family games, square dancing, confession and eucharistic adoration. Each day begins with mass.
Theresa Schmitz, Catholic Familyland vice president of operations, said many people have developed lifelong friendships, and even gotten married, after meeting at the camp.
For information, go to www.familyland.org
Vatican City, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - In a joint statement, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion Office announced today that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), will present their report, "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ," next week in Seattle.
The Commission, started in 1966, and recently led in large part by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council, has sought to build common ground between the two faiths.
In their statement, the ARCIC said that, "Over the past two years, the Pontifical Council has been concerned by the impact of recent developments in Anglicanism in North America on our relations.”
“The publication of 'The Windsor Report' and the communique issued by the Anglican Primates on February 24”, it continued, “have sought to clarify the direction (in which) the Anglican Communion wishes to move" and "have offered new hope that our dialogue can continue to make progress towards the full communion which has been its aim since it was first conceived in March of 1966" by Pope Paul VI and then Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey.
Citing recent developments, the report says that, "In 2003, the decision of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America to ordain as bishop a priest in an active homosexual relationship, as well as the introduction of a rite of blessing for same sex couples in the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada, created new obstacles for relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.”
“As a result of these actions and the uncertainty they created,” it said, “the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity agreed with representatives of the Anglican Communion to put on hold the plenary meetings of the International Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) while maintaining close communication with the Anglican Communion Office and with Lambeth Palace."
"Faced with major tensions within the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, established the 'Lambeth Commission', mandating it to prepare" The Windsor Report, which was published in October 2004 and "proposes various practical steps to situate the autonomy of Anglican provinces more clearly within the interdependence of the Anglican Communion."
The Vatican noted that Archbishop Williams invited Cardinal Kasper to write a letter offering reflections on the report and to come to London for conversations at the Anglican Communion Office. On both occasions, Cardinal Kasper emphasized the importance of clarifying both ecclesiological and moral issues related to the current situation.
Following the publication of "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ," the group will continue its review of the work of ARCIC II, and prepare a synthesis of that work which it will present to prominent Anglican and Catholic authorities.
Ottawa, Canada, May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Canadians turned out in the thousands to demand an end to abortion at the National March for Life yesterday and to voice their support for the creation of a culture of life.
Nearly 6,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill May 12 for the annual event, and at least half were under the age of 25. People traveled in from Montreal and as far west as London, a seven-hour drive from Ottawa.
This was the highest turnout in recent years. Last year, 3,500 people participated.
A large number of the young people present had come from more than a dozen Catholic high schools in southern Ontario. Some stayed overnight to attend the pro-life youth rally at Carleton University on Friday.
The marchers listened to pro-life Parliamentarians and religious leaders speak about the need to respect life in all its forms and stages.
A number of women and men also shared their experiences with abortion, addressing the emotional, spiritual and physical pain that they lived as a result of procuring an abortion or encouraging other women to do so. These speakers, associated to an organization called Silent No More, said the negative effects of abortion are largely ignored by society and pro-abortion organizations.
They spoke of how their scars were healed by the Lord’s love and mercy and urged women who had abortions to seek healing.
About 1,300 of the marchers began their day with a mass at St. Patrick’s Basilica. In his homily, Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa urged the faithful to present the vision of a culture of life as an alternative to the current culture of death in Canada.
That evening, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec City, and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson were the guest speakers at the annual pro-life Rose Dinner.
Cardinal Ouellet commended the pro-life advocates for “creating little by little a culture of life … and a value for life in our country, something that we need badly.”
He addressed the ecumenical nature of the gathering saying that such events provide an opportunity for unity. “We are a big family united around the issue of life … united by the same love of life,” he said.
The cardinal also read the message issued by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) on the occasion of the national march, which said: “It is time to begin a new societal debate on abortion.” COLF is an organization of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Anderson focused his talk on euthanasia, which he considers to be the next big debate on the horizon. Referring to the recent death of Florida woman Terry Schiavo, he said euthanasia in some ways becomes more sinister than abortion since it masquerades as a selfless act.
“Once the door to euthanasia is open, human life will no longer have absolute value,” he warned, adding that the notion that euthanasia would be limited is wrong.
If euthanasia were legalized, then the elderly, the infirm and the handicapped will come to be regarded as drains on public resources, he said.
North Americans “share a common destiny” and “a common spiritual heritage,” said Anderson, and they must work together in the pro-life cause and in the creation of a culture of life.
Member of Parliament Rob Merrifield of Yellowhead, Alta., was honored with the Joseph Borowski Award for his pro-life work in government. Merrifield was a staunch and vocal defender of life in the recent embryonic stem-cell debate in the House of Commons.
Minneapolis, Minn., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - Last week, Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis took a stand against what he saw as the Eucharist becoming a “battleground.”
He joins a number of Bishops across the country who are refusing to allow communion to be given to those wearing a rainbow sash—representing the nationwide Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM), a Catholic gay and lesbian group--who have chosen Pentecost Sunday as the day that they will make their presence known.
Archbishop Flynn said that his decision to deny communion to the sash-wearers—a change from last year—is because "It has become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more perceived as a protest against church teaching.”
In a letter to Brian McNeill, head of the Minneapolis chapter of the RSM, the Archbishop said that, "I am asking you to remove your sashes before you receive Holy Communion” and “I ask you to observe this sign of respect for the Eucharist not only in the Cathedral but in all our parishes. No one wearing the sash will be permitted to receive the Blessed Sacrament.''
In a May 2nd press release, the group called Pope Benedict XVI a “liar and a homophobe” citing a number of documents which he oversaw as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which outlined the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
RSM says that many of the documents fostered bigotry and in some cases even condoned violence against gays.
The group says that they “are publicly calling the Roman Catholic Church to a conversion of heart around the issues of human sexuality.''
Catholic Church teaching, as upheld by then Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict--holds that while the orientation to homosexuality is not itself sinful, acting on that orientation, is.
RSM however, says that, “We hope that our presence will also counter the lies that Pope Benedict XVI is promoting about our community. We are Catholic, and will raise our voices to speak to the truth of our lives from the pews. We will no longer be silent in the face of this injustice.”
William Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said that, “By calling the pope a liar and a homophobe, Rainbow Sash has finally taken off its mask. We look for them to get what they want—to be denied Communion. We also hope the cops are standing by. To exploit the Mass for political purposes is obscene, but it is what we have come to expect from the likes of Rainbow Sash.”
Washington D.C., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - The Washington-based group, Concerned Women for America (CWA), is calling some Democrat’s filibustering of President Bush’s judicial nominees a blatant act of sexism and racism.
The group cited memos, which they say show that Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) “conspired with special interests to block Miguel Estrada's confirmation” because “he was a Latino.”
Jan LaRue, CWA’s chief counsel, said that, “The Democrats willingly sacrificed a stellar minority nominee in a blatant attempt to hold on to a segment of their political base."
Historically, the Democrats have held a strong base of support from minority groups. Although Senator Kennedy said that Bush’s nominees would bring America back to the days of “discrimination and prejudice,” CWA said that fear of losing this voter stronghold is what really prompted the filibusters, which are still holding up the judicial appointments.
"Kennedy's pretense as a heroic advocate for the civil rights movement while refusing to allow an up or down vote on Judge Rogers Brown is hypocrisy on steroids," said LaRue.
"Democrats can't stand to lose their traditional hold on the black vote. They're trashing the reputations and distorting the records of excellent nominees and failing miserably to fulfill their constitutional duty in the process. It's also why they're attacking Priscilla Owen…Democrats lost the married women's vote in the last election and they fear losing the rest of female voters in the next, if they allow the president to appoint a woman to the bench."
Irondale, Ala., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - A popular episode of EWTN’s youth program, Life on the Rock, taped in Rome, is now available on video.
“Life on the Rock - The Rock House Goes to Rome” had aired from Rome on television, radio and the Internet April 21. Fr. Francis Mary Stone and guest host Fr. Mark Mary Cristina interviewed seminarians and young people in and around Vatican City about the new Pope, Benedict XVI, and the life and papacy of John Paul II.
It is now available through the EWTN Religious Catalogue in video, audio CD and tape formats.
Another recent episode of Life on the Rock, featuring the 82nd birthday celebrations of EWTN founder Mother Angelica, is also available.For more information, go to: http://www.ewtn.com
Irvine, Calif., May 13, 2005 (CNA) - A new organization has dedicated itself to providing training for post-abortion counseling and creating an international network of abortion-recovery programs.
The Abortion Recovery International Network (ARIN) was founded recently by Stacy Massey-Miller (Abortion Recovery Counseling) and Chris Jackman (Project Grace/Hemline Creative Group) because of the increased demand for post-abortion healing, which they observed. They saw a need to create an organization that would help pull together the many groups that offer such counseling.
ARIN provides the first online searchable directory solely committed to listing abortion recovery programs within the United States and abroad (www.abortionrecoverydirectory.com). It also intends to assist in the design and development of new post-abortion programs.
It already has hundreds of international partners, which provide post-abortion counseling, care and assistance.
For more information, go to http://www.abortionrecoverynetwork.org