A new angle on the Levada appointment

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 31, 2005

Here's an interesting perspective on the appointment of Archbishop William Levada as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Particularly interesting, in fact, because it comes from someone who spoke directly with Pope Benedict about the appointment: Archbishop Levada himself.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Levada suggests that, among other things, the new Pope may have been looking for an American because the office was swamped with sex-abuse cases from the US. (Recall that Pope John Paul II gave the CDF the responsibility for handling disciplinary action on priests accused of molesting children. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger was reportedly stunned by the number of cases presented to his office.) The Pope, says Archbishop Levada, may have wanted a successor who was already familiar with the problems.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 02, 2005 12:29 AM ET USA

    Of course, the Pope could have chosen him for a place in Rome just to get him a little closer to one of the basilicas in need of an archpriest. It would be a real confidence builder to see his excellency Archbishop Levada raked over the depositional coals before he takes on his real new job. Perhaps he could be MC for Cardinal Law for a while, something like OJT???

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Oct. 31, 2005 9:37 PM ET USA

    But Levada's familiar with the problem because he's part of the problem.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 31, 2005 7:53 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Levada is certainly well acquainted with the sex scandal. He will be giving his deposition in January on his role in it when he was in Portland. (He has agreed to be deposed; the Vatican is already trying to hedge; I'll believe it when i see it.) And he has just left one of the most lavender archdioceses of them all, here next to the Gol-den Gate.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 31, 2005 1:50 PM ET USA

    I think a toot, or a pseudo-toot or two, would be in order, Pseudo. You're not the only one, too. Any number of us had confidence in Benedict last spring at the time of the surprise pick. Benedict did not need a world class scholar at the head of the CDF. Exactly what his reasoning was we did not know, but many of us did trust that he had his reasons.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 31, 2005 1:20 PM ET USA

    Not to toot my own horn, but I do recall using a Chess analogy to say how Pope B16 had pinned Levada at CDF. I do know that the late Pope John Paul II was a decent chessplayer in his youth; I don't know if the same can be said for Pope Benedict XVI.