Monday, May 16, 2005

SF archbishop's appointment: a "tribute" to the US church

Just returned yesterday and learned that SF's Archbishop Levada has been appointed as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the post previously held by Benedict. In his official statement, the Archbishop saw his appointment partly as "a tribute to the Church in the United States, and a recognition of our important contribution to the work of the universal Church." He also mentions that he "will be sorry to have to leave San Francisco, where [he has] served almost ten years." Well, admittedly this is indeed a difficult town to leave, so I understand those words.

Well, the city and the Bay Area will certainly be losing a competent archbishop and metropolitan, one who was able to serve and lead a very diverse, intelligent, and cosmopolitan local Church.

And it is interesting to read the various comments from people concerning him. "During his near-decade at the spiritual helm of the San Francisco Archdiocese, Levada ushered in critically needed stability. And he won -- if not adulation -- then the respect of many," says the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper also printed comments from others.

"He is not a run-with-the-herd kind of person...He is certainly a defender of tradition, but he has an independence of thought," according to Monsignor Robert McElroy, the pastor at St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo, a few minutes south from SF.

And from the mayor of San Francisco himself, Gavin Newsom: "He has a remarkable ability to adapt in difficult conditions, particularly when it comes to his strong theological beliefs in a city that doesn't always share his thinking." How very true.

And with regards to how he has handled the many difficult tasks that has come to his desk, there is this from city supervisor Angela Alioto: "I think he had a very, very tough few years here -- tough in terms of dealing with lawsuits, issues that archbishops have never dealt with -- and I think he handled it very well, very elegantly."

So, the city will have a vacancy pretty soon: "Wanted: A New Archbishop. Qualifications--ability to listen, to pastor, to adapt, and to lead a diverse and sophisticated community of Catholics."

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