Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cardinal Levada on Document and Motu Proprio

From The Weekly San Francisco:

During a July 17 interview while visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, Cardinal Levada commented on his congregation's work, Pope Benedict XVI's recent instruction on the Tridentine Latin Mass, themes of the young papacy, and challenges facing the universal Church today.

The cardinal was quick to describe as "purely coincidental" the fact that his congregation's document on the nature of the Church was made public only three days after the pope's announcement of his decision to allow broader use of the Tridentine liturgical rite.

Many commentaries have linked the two. "Many have tried to see it as some kind of one - two punch," Cardinal Levada laughed, "but the truth is that it is simply a coincidence that they were published in such proximity."

In restoring easier access "to the principal way of worship in the Church for more than 400 years," the pontiff "expressed a great generosity" toward persons intensely devoted to the Tridentine Latin Mass, the cardinal said.

The papal directive "was not primarily aimed at the United States," he said, adding that he feels it will have more impact in France, Germany and Switzerland and little effect in Latin America or Italy.


Turning to the doctrinal congregation's recent commentary, "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," the cardinal said it grew out of extensive conversation and collaboration with theological consultants to the CDF and others, as well as a broad review of published materials.

The document addresses five questions about the nature of the Church "and all five are a commentary on Vatican II documents," the cardinal said, adding, "It has the advantage of collecting all that has happened since Vatican II up to the present time" and explaining how Church articulation of its own nature as well as its views of other Christian communities have developed.

He said he has been "somewhat surprised" at the amount of "ecumenical commentary" the document has generated. "It is primarily a document addressed to Catholics as believers and teachers and is intended to clarify the teachings of the Second Vatican Council," he said, "especially the teaching on the nature of the Church."

That teaching, he said, has been skewed by those who argue "that the Church of Christ can subsist in churches outside the Catholic Church, but that is not the case."

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