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Theological Notebook: New Cardinals

Here I have articles from The New York Times and from Catholic News Service on the new Cardinals to be created at the March 24th consistory. The first article is more focused on Bishop Zen of Hong Kong, the second on Archbishop Levada who was Archbishop of San Francisco and is now the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Picks 15 Cardinals, One a China Critic

By IAN FISHER and KEITH BRADSHER for The New York Times
February 23, 2006

TURIN, Italy, Feb. 22 — Pope Benedict XVI named his first new cardinals on Wednesday, 15 in all. They include the bishop of Hong Kong, an outspoken critic of China's rulers, and Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, appointed two years ago after the sex abuse scandal there forced the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.

The elevation of Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong, who despite his role as a critic has played a leading role in the effort to open diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican, is the latest in a series of signals from Rome that the Roman Catholic Church wants to play a greater role in tending to the spiritual needs of mainland China's 1.3 billion people, Vatican experts said.

The pope made his announcement before a crowd of tourists and pilgrims after the public audience held every Wednesday at the Vatican. He said that in his choices, "the universality of the church is respected."

"They come, in fact, from various parts of the world and they have been charged with diverse duties in the service of the people of God," he said. Indeed his choices include new cardinals from 11 countries, including the Philippines, South Korea, Ghana, Venezuela, Poland, France, Italy and the United States.

In the last few years, and especially since Benedict became pope last April, the Vatican and China have been discussing formal relations, though with no concrete results. Bishop Zen said Wednesday night that his being named a cardinal showed that China was a priority for the pope.

But the bishop's willingness to challenge the Chinese Communist Party on many issues, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland, suggests that he could prove a combative cardinal. He has been a central figure in the democracy movement in Hong Kong, as well as a critic of religious repression in mainland China.

In an interview in his cramped, spartan office last spring, just before the selection of Pope Benedict, Bishop Zen signaled the Vatican's interest in switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. "There are so many possible ways to come to a compromise, and the Vatican is ready," he said then, while acknowledging that "in the last few years, the Holy See made many attempts to start a dialogue, but Beijing did not show much interest."

The on-and-off talks between China and Vatican officials have focused on the possibility that the Holy See might switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the mainland. Raymond Tai, Taiwan's ambassador to the Holy See from 1996 to 2004, said Vatican diplomats would have discussed Bishop Zen's elevation with mainland officials in advance.

Born in Shanghai in 1932 and later sent to study in Rome, Bishop Zen returned to mainland China in 1986 to spend seven years in the heavily regulated Catholic seminaries there. He developed close ties to underground Catholic leaders then.

About four million Chinese Catholics worship at state-approved churches, while millions of others worship in "underground" churches loyal to the Vatican.

There were few surprises in Benedict's list on Wednesday. The group includes a second American, William Joseph Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco, who was virtually guaranteed a spot because Benedict named him last year to fill his old job as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Alberto Melloni, an Italian historian who often writes about the church, said he was most surprised that one person who did not make the list: Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Paris, a city that traditionally has been led by a cardinal.

His being passed over was particularly striking, Mr. Melloni said, given the two Americans on the list and because many in the Vatican feel that Americans are already overrepresented. That reservation, he said, apparently does not apply to Benedict, who has repeatedly spoken of his interest in the American church.

"For the Holy Father to keep the number of Americans small, this is not on his agenda," Mr. Melloni said.

The men will formally become cardinals at a ceremony called a consistory, which Benedict said would take place on March 24.

In general, cardinals advise the pope, head Vatican departments, hold great sway over policies in their home regions — and perhaps most important, elect new popes, who almost always come from their ranks.

Only cardinals under 80 take part in the secret conclave that elects popes, and Benedict named 12 under that age and 3 others above.

The other cardinals announced Wednesday are Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, longtime secretary to Pope John Paul II; Franc Rode of Slovenia, prefect of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Agostino Vallini of Italy, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela; Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila; Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France; Antonio Cañizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain; Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, archbishop of Seoul, South Korea; and Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna.

Those 80 or over are Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo of Italy, former Vatican nuncio to Italy; Peter Poreku Dery, archbishop emeritus of Tamale, Ghana; and P. Albert Vanhoye, secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Ian Fisher reported from Turin for this article, and Keith Bradsher from Hong Kong.


Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, who has played a leading role in efforts to open diplomatic relations between Beijing and the Vatican, was named a cardinal.


Cardinal-designate Levada to be first to get red hat from pope

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal-designate William J. Levada was Pope Benedict XVI's first major appointee as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Now, because of his rank and experience, the archbishop will be the first in line to receive his red hat at a special consistory March 24 at the Vatican. The pope announced names of the new cardinals Feb. 22.

Cardinal-designate Levada, 69, was appointed last May as the pope's successor to head the doctrinal congregation, the Vatican agency charged with protecting and promoting the church's teachings on faith and morals.

It was the first time a U.S. prelate has headed the congregation, which is the oldest of the Vatican's nine congregations and is considered primary in responsibility and influence.

Archbishop Levada chaired his first plenary session of the congregation in early February. The meeting examined bioethical questions and the challenges posed by relativism and religious syncretism to the church's evangelizing mission.

In an interview last year, the archbishop said he hoped to bring a pastoral perspective to the doctrinal challenges facing the church.

His amount of pastoral experience is unusual among Vatican officials. Before his Vatican appointment, he had served as archbishop of San Francisco since 1995; archbishop of Portland, Ore., 1986-95, and an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, 1983-86.

For decades, he was a frequent collaborator with the Vatican and with the future pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He was a doctrinal congregation staff member from 1976 to 1982 and has been a bishop-member of the congregation since 2000.

In the 1980s, he worked with then-Cardinal Ratzinger as one of a small group of bishops appointed to write the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."

The archbishop has been a key figure in the church's efforts to eliminate priestly sexual abuse. He heads the Vatican agency that oversees the handling of priestly sexual abuse cases; in some "grave and clear cases," the doctrinal congregation can dismiss the priest from the priesthood by decree, without a formal church trial.

In 2002, he was a member of the U.S.-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 laicization of priests who have sexually abused minors.

In San Francisco, he dealt with another issue that has drawn increasing attention from the Vatican's doctrinal congregation: same-sex marriage proposals. In 2004, he helped lead a prayer rally for the defense and promotion of marriage after the city of San Francisco decided to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

In 1997, he opposed a city ordinance requiring all agencies contracting with the city to provide spousal benefits to domestic partners of their employees. Noncompliance could have jeopardized the church's social service contracts with the city.

At the archbishop's urging, the city changed the ordinance so that employees of church agencies could designate any legally domiciled member of their household for spousal benefits.

William Joseph Levada was born June 15, 1936, in Long Beach, Calif. His great-grandparents had immigrated to California from Portugal and Ireland in the 1860s.

After seminary studies in California, he was sent to Rome's Pontifical North American College, earning a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica Dec. 20, 1961.

He returned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and worked as an associate pastor, teacher and campus ministry chaplain. In 1976, he returned to Rome as a staff official of the doctrinal congregation. During his six years of service there, he continued teaching theology part-time at Gregorian University.

He returned to California in 1982 and was named secretary of the California Catholic Conference, a public policy agency of the state's bishops. He was named an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in 1983 and was ordained a bishop March 25 of that year.
Tags: benedict xvi, ecclesiology, magisterium, papacy, theological notebook
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