Diocesan News

An Interview With Cardinal Levada by Father Nicholas Kipper, assistant editor of the Register

Q: As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), what is your principal responsibility?

A: My principal responsibility is to administer the congregation, to guide the work of the officials, and to present to the Holy Father the results of our work on a timely basis.

Q: Describe the relationship that you have with the Pope Benedict XVI as Prefect.

A: Since he himself was Prefect of the Congregation before he was elected Pope, he is very interested in the work. He knows the work through and through. I find him to be very supportive and cordial. He puts me at my ease and I am grateful for that. I never have the sense that he is looking over my shoulder and trying to manage what I am doing.

Q: What special insight do you have into the Holy Father as the leader of the Catholic Church and as a man?

A: I have known him for a long time. He was my prefect when I worked with the congregation back in the early 80s. He is serene. I think that he lives a very deep interior life with our Lord. He is not someone who is excitable; he is a man of deep faith. If you follow closely what he is doing in his catecheses, homilies, and speeches, he is a man with remarkable breadth of knowledge and depth of knowledge.

Q: You are also a member of the Congregation for Bishops. What does that congregation do and what does your role involve?

A: Let me tell you about the work of the congregations because all of the congregations are made up of a number of cardinals and bishops. They would be like the board of directors of the membership. That is what a congregation is. So, the principal question is that of making new bishops, and that comes before the Congregation for Bishops. One member is given the responsibility of making a presentation about the particular list of bishops, usually a terna, the names of three candidates submitted to us. We have a round robin discussion. The fruit of that discussion is taken by the Prefect [of the Congregation for Bishops], who presents it to the Pope, and the Pope makes the final decision.

Q: Based on your work, what do you see as the greatest challenge the Church must face in the modern world?

A: From my point of view as Prefect of our congregation, I think that in many parts of the world, Catholics show wonderful spiritual gifts. But my sense is that… the actual knowledge of the faith has diminished in general for a variety of reasons: lack of time for real catechesis and many other things that compete for time. I think that puts our people at a disadvantage, when they are trying to confront the challenges of a highly secularized world. They are not as well prepared to be able to give a testimony to their faith because they don’t have a secure knowledge of it and have not thought through a lot of the issues that confront people of faith today.

Q: We are blessed to have you in our diocese for the consecration of the chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton for the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). What task do you see the FSSP carrying out in the Church?

A: They are people who are themselves dedicated to the old liturgical tradition. They want to serve people who have that same dedication. The task, therefore, is a delicate one because it has to, have the unity of the Church as their primary goal, so that the attachment to the older liturgical tradition, the Extraordinary Form [of the Roman Rite] will not become divisive. They have to be the architects that help people to understand the beauties of diversity in worship, at the same time that they understand how the Holy Spirit has guided the Church in the developments. I think that is an important task that the FSSP has before it in the Church— the unity of the Church. That is what was the motivation behind the Holy Father’s encyclical letter, Summorum Pontificum.

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