Vatican City, Mar 20, 2006 / 22:00 pm
On Friday, Archbishop William Joseph Levada will be the first of 15 men from around the globe to be made Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. Levada’s role is unique however. Earlier this year, he took over the Holy Father’s former job as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith--a job charged with upholding the teachings of the Church.
Recently, the Cardinal-designate granted an interview to Time Magazine, in which he talked about the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and the ramifications of the Church’s recent document on homosexuals in seminaries.
During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the issue of Catholic politicians promoting and publicly holding views contrary to the Catholic Church became a volatile one.
Asked whether “politicians should be granted communion if they support policies counter to Church teachings,” Archbishop Levada said that “There are certain teachings that as Catholics we have to accept as part of Jesus' Gospel. When you see Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights ... you have to ask yourself how this person squares this with his personal faith.”
“Catholic politicians”, he stressed, “need to take this seriously. Maybe they need to say I'm not able to practice my faith and be a public representative.”
Likewise, the Cardinal-designate hit on the Church’s recent document on homosexuals in seminaries calling the controversial teaching tool “very clear.”
“It says a person with deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not suited for the priesthood,” he pointed out. “Somebody who comes to the seminary from a gay lifestyle cannot be a priest.”
“But”, he also offered, “if you can show us after five or 10 years that you have been able to live a celibate life, it could be possible. But there would need to be spiritual and psychological evaluations.”
Time’s Jeff Israely closed his interview with the prelate by asking if the Pope had “any advice on how to handle such a responsibility” when he “welcomed you to the new job.”
With a laugh, Archbishop Levada said no. Benedict "just smiled, and said: ‘Go to it.’”