Monday, December 05, 2005

Life at the Inquisition

The paper of the archdiocese of Portland gets a scoop -- a day with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith....
The archbishop is finally moved into his remodeled private quarters at the edge of St. Peter’s Square. His move-in date was set back for a couple months because of delays by Italian craftsmen who were redoing the rent-free, Vatican-owned apartment. An elderly cardinal lived there until his death months ago and the Vatican kept it vacant, pending Archbishop Levada’s arrival.
And when Cardinal Bafile's family came after his death to clean up, they took everything including the kitchen sink. And the light bulbs. I kid you not.

His friend, boss, and-predecessor, Pope Benedict, can look down on the archbishop’s terrace from the upper floor windows of the papal apartments and offices across the vast cobblestone square, where a quarter million people routinely gather for special liturgies. The pope’s former apartment is reserved for his visiting family members from Germany.

Archbishop Levada meets with the pope at least once a week to talk over congregation issues. These “face-time” opportunities are more numerous than the frequency of meetings other senior Curial department heads have with the pope.

The German-born pope and the archbishop from Southern California have been colleagues for years. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger was a guest of Archbishop Levada when he was assigned to San Francisco, taking in the tourist sites in the magical city-by-the-bay.

Archbishop Levada now has the biggest job of his entire career. It requires close coordination with the pope who directed the Holy Office, as it was called in the past, for more than 20 years before being elected to his new job after the death of Pope John Paul. The archbishop also will be coordinating with officials of bishops’ conferences around the world, with many languages spoken. The time required in reading background material in preparation for meetings is mind-numbing.

Indeed, Cardinal Ratzinger referred to all the reading as "penance."