Cardinal Levada to Bless New Chapel of the Northern American FSSP Seminary
by Gregor Kollmorgen
The new chapel of the Northern American Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in Denton, Nebraska, will be dedicated on 3 March 2010.
The ceremony will be performed by His Eminence Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, since last year’s motu proprio Ecclesiae unitatem, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. This will be, as far as we are aware, the first public function in the usus antiquior which Cardinal Levada carries out in his new capacity.
Appearantly he has had a change of heart since he was Archbishop of San Francisco back in 1999, according to San Francisco Faith (or perhaps the Pope has strongly ‘encouraged’ a ‘change of heart’?):
Pope John Paul II asked bishops again this last year to show “pastoral attention” to Catholics attached to the Latin Mass. But in San Francisco the Latin Mass is forbidden. The reason: San Francisco Archbishop William Levada refuses to grant the Pope’s indult.
“I’m not suprised by it,” says a source who knows Levada. “He is keenly aware of priestly backlash…And he knows, like most American prelates, that traditionalists are an expendable group, what with their lack of money and institutions.”
Levada, observers suspect, is afraid to anger and alienate priests attached to his predecessor’s policies. Quinn vehemently opposed the Latin Mass, saying of the indult, “Not in my diocese.” Quinn also called the indult “divisive” in a letter to a diocesan priest who petitioned for it in 1984.
I asked Maurice Healy, the archdiocesan spokesman, to explain Levada’s refusal to grant the indult, especially since smaller dioceses like Santa Rosa and Stockton have granted it. “There is no groundswell of support,” he said, adding, “He is not going to move forward on a timetable set by you.”
In fact, San Franciscans have approached Levada on the issue, but he put them off. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a papally recognized Latin Mass order, appealed to the Archbishop, offering to send a priest to San Francisco. Unlike Sacramento Bishop William Weigand who welcomed the order, Levada rejected the offer.
“That story is accurate,” said Jude Huntz, a spokesperson for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. “He just gave a very brief negative reply.” Huntz finds it puzzling that prelates would treat the Latin Mass like a threat to Vatican II. “That doesn’t make sense because the Pope” approves of it. Huntz invites prelates who consider the Latin Mass a loser cause to visit their packed-to-overflowing “seminary.” He points out that the group is now in “19 dioceses” in America and is in the process of building a new seminary in Lincoln, Nebraska.