Levada on The Job
In an interview with John Thavis of CNS, Levada set out priorities of observation, not enforcement, with emphases on bioethics, inculturation and being an affirmative resource for bishops.
"What you get with me is someone who has pastoral experience of dealing with questions of faith as they are lived out in the local church," he said.
"I think that's an important thing for the bishops around the world, to have the sense that when they need to talk to me or to our congregation there is someone here who is sympathetic to their pastoral situation and experience," he said.
Archbishop Levada, who as a bishop helped write the Catechism of the Catholic Church, said formation in the faith was one area where universal and local churches could cooperate.
In the congregation's dealings with theologians, the archbishop said it was important for everyone to understand that theology, properly understood, is simply a way of helping people learn who Christ is and what Christ did and said....
"Theology itself is in dialogue with revelation, which has some things to say. And you can't just say that revelation says anything you want it to say," he said.
In other words, the new Grand Inqusitor has in mind the importance the logical underpinnings of theology -- not "believe it because we said so."
And the question of sanctions rates on his radar screen:
When it comes to religious-political issues like last year's debate in the United States over Catholic politicians and Communion, Archbishop Levada said the doctrinal congregation is there to help, not meddle.
"You can be sure that, as someone who has been very interested in this question lately, I will be eager to give any help that we can," he said.
But he emphasized that the task of sorting out how Catholics "interface with a complex political world in a pluralistic society" falls first of all to bishops, both individually and collectively.
You can read between the lines on that one.
By the by, everybody knows that the CDF head is an ex officio member of the Congregation for Bishops, right? That makes five Americans (Baum, Law, Szoka, Stafford, Levada), an all-time high.