Monday, February 27, 2006

Levada, Hard-Core

Yesterday, Msgr. Jimmy Checchio was installed -- some said "crowned" -- as rector of the Pontifical North American College in what one visitor to the Gianicolo called "A very uneventful occasion with a long drawn out liturgy."

All the bells and whistles were out, and dear old Cardinal Baum (avec the famous Msgr. Gillen) made a hero's effort to be there. Even though the senior American prelate, created a cardinal 30 years ago (he was archbishop of Washington then), held up pranzo for 20 minutes, everyone was still quite happy to see the Wakefield make his entrance.

The installation was presided over by Cardinal-designate Levada, with several other prelates of note in attendance.

I got an e.mail this morning from a witness to all of this who wrote that Levada's 22-minute homily was something I should try to get my hands on, because "it was just W E I R D."

Well, thanks to Cindy Wooden, we now know why....
Cardinal-designate William J. Levada said a priest who publicly announces he is homosexual makes it difficult for people to see the priest as representing Christ, the bridegroom of his bride, the church.

A public declaration of homosexuality places a priest "at odds with the spousal character of love as revealed by God and imaged in humanity," said the U.S. cardinal-designate, who is prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal-designate Levada made his remarks during a Feb. 26 homily as he presided over a Mass for the installation of the new rector of Rome's Pontifical North American College....

"One of the more immediate challenges facing seminaries," he said, is the implementation of the Congregation for Catholic Education's November instruction that men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" should not be admitted to the seminary or ordained to the priesthood.

The instruction, however, made clear that the church was not questioning the validity of the ordinations of gay men who already are priests.

The cardinal-designate said the instruction "is not directly related to the U.S. sexual abuse crisis, but it is not without relevance for it," insofar as a study commissioned by the U.S. bishops identified homosexual behavior as a component in many clerical sex abuse cases.

Beyond the issue of psychosexual maturity, Cardinal-designate Levada said, "the question also needs to be viewed from its theological perspective," particularly in light of the biblical images of God's spousal relationship with his people and Gospel passages in which Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom.

The doctrinal chief said he wanted to look specifically at "the situation of the gay priest who announces his homosexuality publicly, a few examples of which we have recently heard reported" in reaction to the Vatican document.

"I think we must ask, 'Does such a priest recognize how this act places an obstacle to his ability to represent Christ the bridegroom to his bride, the people of God? Does he not see how his declaration places him at odds with the spousal character of love as revealed by God and imaged in humanity?'" he said.

"Sadly, this provides a good example of the wisdom of the new Vatican instruction," he said.

The cardinal-designate also told the seminarians: "It is important for our people to hear us priests preach and teach about the fundamental character of God's love imprinted upon humanity in the original act of creation: 'God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.'"
OK, so Levada -- you know, the man whose job is to guard the teachings of the church -- has long been accused by the "true guardians of orthodoxy" (better known as the "Rightward Fringe") of being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the gays, the liberals and Cardinal Mahony....

I'm keen to hear their judgment on where these comments put him.