Card. Levada on separation of faith from life

Prefect of the CDF, William Card. Levada – from recent remarks in Los Angeles where he gave a talk at a prayer breakfast on 16 September 2008:

"Of course, what is essential is a correct understanding of the just autonomy of
the secular order, an autonomy which cannot be divorced from God the Creator and his
saving plan (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36). Perhaps America’s brand of secularism poses a
particular problem: it allows for professing belief in God and respects the public role of
religion and the Churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a
lowest common denominator. Faith becomes a passive acceptance that certain things
‘out there’ are true but without practical relevance for everyday life. The result is a
growing separation of faith from life: living ‘as if God did not exist’. This is aggravated
by an individualistic and eclectic approach to faith and religion: far from a Catholic
approach to ‘thinking with the Church’, each person believes he or she has a right to
pick and choose, maintaining external social bonds but without an integral, interior
conversion to the law of Christ. Consequently, rather than being transformed and
renewed in mind, Christians are easily tempted to conform themselves to the spirit of
this age (cf. Rom 12: 3). We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given
by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion."




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  1. Michael says:

    May God bless His Eminence.

  2. TomG says:

    His Eminence nails it. Absolutely “magisterial” (sorry!)

  3. John V says:

    To be clear, this is a quote from the Holy Father’s response to one of the questions posed by the United States Bishops when they met at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on 16 April. It’s good to see Cardinal Levada bringing it to the fore again at this time. Of particular note, I think, is the use of the term “scandal” in reference to “Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion.”

  4. TNCath says:

    This is exactly what many of us experience every day in our interactions with people–both Catholic and non-Catholic. While most would contend that religion is “important” to them, there is a huge disconnect between belief and practice in this country. Moreover, I’m not so sure a lot of Catholics (a la Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden) fully know and/or understand what they believe, much less practice. So much for our catechesis the last forty years. Finally, in the “spirit of this age,” the cult of the individual and “primacy of conscience” seems to takes precedence over objective Truths and Faith, which makes it very frustrating to explain the concept of “thinking with the Church” to Americans.

  5. Tito Edwards says:

    Cardinal Levada can speak from personal experience. He suffered this similar condition while he was archbishop of San Francisco.

    Why was he so weak in standing up for the faith while as archbishop, but now as the head of CDF he writes as though he is one of its staunchest defenders.

    My friends tell me that Pope Benedict chose him specificaly because, outside of personal friendship, he knows how weak of a leader he was hence Papa Bene still pulls the strings over at CDF with Cardinal Levada as his puppet.

    This is an interesting theory, but it would explain the thoroughly orthodox pronouncements that comes out of the CDF. It also explains many among us that scratch our heads and wonder where was this “version” of Cardinal Levada in San Francisco as he succumbed in his duties as Bishop.

    When St. Ambrose called out Emperor Theodosius for the massacre of 7,000 persons in Thessalonica, yet Archbishop Levada caved in to allow homosexuals to adopt children at Catholic Charities.

    He’s either making up for his poor leadership in San Francisco or he is a plain careerist trying to further his aspirations in the Vatican. Hopefully it’s neither and that he has had a change of heart and is returning to the Church and embracing Her teachings.

  6. I guess possibly, getting the Cardinal away from San Francisco was precisely what was needed for him to come back to the Faith.

    God Bless Cardinal Leveda for speaking the Faith, may he continue to do so.

  7. Brian says:

    If the Holy Father is speaking through Cardinal Levada, I hope the Archbishops of San Francisco and Wilmington are listening.

  8. TerryC says:

    The thought that always crosses my mind when contradictions like those concerning Cardinal Levada is that often times a bishop will be convinced by his councilors that an issue is either not worth standing up for, or will cost too much in loss to fight. So you get those who make the case that it is better to make a concession and be allowed to keep adoption agencies open rather than fight and take the chance the state will close them down. This, of course, loses sight of the fact that it is the Churches business to save souls and not save bodies. Yes it might be bad for the Church adoption agencies to be shut down by the state, but it is worse to lose souls by giving in. To many bishops behave like CEOs rather than shepherds. Perhaps time in Rome reminded the Cardinal of his position. I welcome the change and do not cast stones.

  9. Tito Edwards says:


    If casting stones is pointing out inconsistancies and dereliction of pastoral duties, then I freely admit it.

    You gave a very “nuanced” and “delicate” response to my comment. I must say you should run for congress, you would do well to dance around hard political dalliances with your acrobatic use of the English language.

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