First US head of CDF group dies age 83
US Cardinal William Levada, former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation and retired archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, died on September 26 in Rome. He was 83.
When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he named then-Archbishop Levada to replace him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged with protecting and promoting the Church’s teachings on faith and morals. It was the first time a US prelate had headed the congregation, and Cardinal Levada served in that position until 2012.
Before his Vatican appointment, he had served as archbishop of San Francisco since 1995; archbishop of Portland, Oregon, 1986-95, and an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, 1983-86.
He was a key figure in the Church’s efforts to eliminate priestly sexual abuse. He headed the Vatican agency that oversaw the handling of priestly sexual abuse cases; in 2002, he was a member of the US-Vatican commission that made final revisions to the sex abuse norms in the United States, which laid out a strict policy on priestly sex abuse and provided for removal from ministry or defrocking of priests.
Pope calls on religious orders to prevent trafficking crisis
Pope Francis has called on more religious orders of men and women, as well as foundations and benefactors, to get involved and help an international network of women religious in the fight against human trafficking.
He praised the many institutes of consecrated life that already have supported their members working on prevention, public awareness and assisting survivors of trafficking through the network, Talitha Kum.
“While I invite you to continue this commitment, I am also making an appeal to other religious congregations – both women’s and men’s – for them to join this missionary work, putting people and resources at its service so that it can reach everywhere,” he told network members during an audience at the Vatican last week.
The Pope met with some 86 delegates of Talitha Kum from 48 different countries and other people taking part in the network’s general assembly from September 21-27.
Founded 10 years ago, Talitha Kum now coordinates 52 networks of religious women in more than 90 countries. With more than 2,000 people on the ground, their efforts have helped more than 15,000 victims and reached more than 200,000 others through educational and awareness-raising campaigns or workshops in the past decade.
Becoming Pope hasn’t made me ‘any less sinful’ – Francis
While his responsibilities are greater and his prayer list longer, Pope Francis said he’s basically the same person he was before he was elected in 2013, so he still goes to Confession every two weeks.
“The mere fact that I now dress all in white has not made me any less sinful or holier than before,” he told Jesuits in Mozambique, according to a transcript of the meeting published last week by La Civilta Cattolica.
Often on trips abroad, Pope Francis spends time with local Jesuit communities and holds a question-and-answer session with them. Weeks later, a transcript of the exchange was published. In Mozambique, a Jesuit had asked the Pope how his experience of God has changed since he was elected Pope.
“I guess my experience of God hasn’t fundamentally changed,” he responded. “I speak to the Lord as before. I feel God gives me the grace I need for the present time. But the Lord gave it to me before. And I commit the same sins as before.”