Levada is an enigma

Levada is an enigma

The appointment of Archbishop Levada to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith still raises some questions. Obviously there’s more to his appointment than meets the eye. Still, I keep hearing things that make me uncomfortable.

For instance, a newspaper that caters to gays in San Francisco named Most Holy Redeemer parish as the city’s “gay-friendly parish” and quoted its pastor:

Some observers call Levada, who will join Benedict in Rome in August, a politician. Others say enigma. But, said the pastor of the city’s gay-friendly parish, Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro district, he is like most American bishops, in a difficult straddle between the Vatican’s hard-line orthodoxies and the wishes of his diocesan flock.

... When Ratzinger was elevated to pope, the reaction at Most Holy Redeemer was horror.

“I went into retreat for a week,” joked the pastor, Father Stephen Meriwether, in his homily the next Sunday.

But Most Holy Redeemer is the only place in the San Francisco Bay Area where life-long Catholics can be enthusiastically gay and lesbian too—even with what amounts to a wink and a nod from the archdiocese.

“It’s don’t ask, don’t tell for Catholics,” said Gino Ramos, the head of San Francisco’s chapter of Dignity, an organization of gay Catholics.

So why is this rejection of the Church’s teaching on sexuality given a wink and a nod at Most Holy Redeemer parish? Could it be that the pastor, Father Stephen Meriwether, is also the chancellor of the archdiocese? That’s an awful big wink and nod from Levada.

  • Someone needs to call this baby’s parents; whatever the sensibilities of the parties involved (and I’m sure they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this), this baptism is most likely invalid.

  • The sad thing is that my reaction is “yea, what’s new?”.  There’s really nothing that would surprise me these days. 

    Any priest that does this, though, needs to be called on the carpet, but I’m sure that won’t happen.

    As any parent can testify, taking the diaper off of a baby is risky – you never know what might happen.  Let’s say that this baby fouls the water.  Then what?  What does Father “New Ideas” do, if he’s got (it appears) more babies to dunk?

  • Progressive churchmen used to shun minimalism and aim for authenticity in liturgical symbols.  However, this strange procedure doesn’t have it.

    It doesn’t have the symbolic authenticity of full immersion, and it doesn’t fit into the tradition as does pouring.  Since the water was moving across the body, it might be valid. 

    If minimalism is “in” now, let’s hope it applies to his preaching too.

  • If this kind of “partial immersion” or “immersion by parts” is invalid, Rome will get involved quickly.  My guess is that it is illicit.

    You don’t give any link.  Is it clear that they are doing a partial immersion?  I think the Eastern Churches immerse infants.

    Where does this come from?  I suppose they put in this fancy bathtub font and it turns out they mostly have babies to baptize and they are worried about drowning them.


  • Why on earth would the parents go along with this?  My husband has done lots and lots of baptisms, and never once has he undressed a baby.  This is too weird.

  • The parents are obviously misinformed Catholics, which would cover most parishoners these days.

  • Well, the priest looks like he might be from India. It’s quite possible that in certain parts of the country you want to avoid putting your face in the lake or river water.

  • I believe in Eastern baptisms, the child is held under the arms and lowered into the water feet first. The child is *immersed* in the water in the font.

    “Father, we brought an extra shell, just in case. Well, the doctor said Timmy shouldn’t catch a chill. Of course, pouring is quite valid for us as Roman Catholics. I just happen to have a *Catechism* with me here. We’ll wait while you look it up . . .”

  • From http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9401fea1.asp:
    “As the head is the principal part where life integrally resides, to baptize anyone on another part of the body is at least doubtfully valid and, if done in case of necessity, the head should be baptized later conditionally, if possible.” 

    I have looked into this issue in the past, and this is not the only place I’ve seen this stated. I’ve also heard of at least two local children from different parishes being conditionally baptized after the initial (doubtful) baptism was done elsewhere than than the head because of health conditions at birth.

    Don’t know what the connection is between the baby or the parish and the person who sent the photo, but would that person be interested in taking it up with someone who can do something to address the situation?

  • Thanks Aristotle, I found this quote of interest:

    Crisis also quotes Kellenyi’s classmate Fr. Joseph Marcoux as saying, “I certainly never experienced a gay subculture at Louvain. I never saw anything like that.” Like what? Fr. Marcoux, ordained in 2001, and now Assistant Pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, N.Y., himself conducts gay/lesbian workshops. For example, according to the newsletter of the Diocese of Rochester’s Gay and Lesbian Ministry, Fr. Marcoux conducted one last year at Our Lady of Peace entitled “Gay and Lesbian People in the Church.”

    And check out the pictures of Fr. Marcoux’s ordination- afterwards he is wearing a CORSAGE- no it’s not a boutinere but a corsage.  I can just hear it now, Mom and Dad I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is I’m gay but the good news is I’m going to become a priest.

  • Skim-skimminy, skim-skimminy, skim-skim-skaree,
    Your butt will get baptized as I count to three!
    Skim-skimminy, skim-skimminy, skim-skim-skaroo, “the wet head is dead” as I’m proving with you!



  • Poor little baby. This picture is going to be so embarrassing one day. No wonder he’s crying.

    There’s one question I’d like answered. How are the adults be baptised? There’s no way I’d be willing to go near a font that had just held a grown person’s butt.

  • I guess it will take their children contracting e -coli before they realize their foolishness.

    I think the health department should be contacted as the water is probably filthy.  I suspect the child’s soul still in a state of original sin.  Woe to these parents and their priest!

    This is how they honor to the Most Blessed Trinity?  Savages!

  • Mary Alexander: this pic plus your citations pretty much – in my mind anyway, absolves Michael Rose.

    Dopey parents. Kooky priest. Dodgy bishop. Poor kid.

  • Mary Alexander, ahh…this priest was a liturgical dancer. I have a question for those of our hierarchs who make a very big deal about how they are fixing the sex thing, and who are egregious violators of Roman norms concerning sacraments: “Who do you think you’re fooling?” If I could trust you in a little thing (liturgy?) I might trust you in a big thing (homosexual priests having sex with adolescent boys).

  • Lord, grant me the courage to change those things I can, to tolerate those things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    …or words to that effect.

    As Abp Dolan has found in Milwaukee, there’s a lot that simply cannot be fixed, although it’s possible that more EFFORT could be applied.

    So the question:  did Abp Levada simply discern that some things cannot be changed, OR did he simply not make an effort?

  • As archbishop he certainly can remove or not appoint a chancellor. He can also remove a pastor who is teaching blasphemy or heresy.

    If an archbishop cannot change these things, then what is the point of being arcbishop?

  • What makes the situation more of a puzzle, is that Levada was a bishop under JPII’s curia, and they did not have a good record of backing a Bishop, when he acted to reform his diocese. Remember the Cardinal Schoborne (sp?) controversy, when he was made Archbishop of Vienna. The priests just would not accept him, so his diocese was altered to appease the liiberals. There is nothing that makes me believe that the Curia under JPII would have backed any Bishop who tried to fix his diocese without the support of the priests. If a future bishop tries to the fix the diocese of SF, he will have to show up with at least 200 priests from outside the diocese and many more lay people and religious to replace the vast majority of his employees who will have to be fired if he wants to make any real changes. He will also have to have a green light from the Curia to do it (something I am not sure he will receive).

  • That’s a depressing comment.  Not that it’s not true.  What does a chancellor do anyway?

  • Enigma?  This style is typical of the JP2 bishop – orthodox teaching combined with spineless administration.  The only thing unusual about the Levada situation is the extreme environment in which this leadership style is played out.

    Now why do you suppose O’Malley and not Bruskewitz is the archbishop of Boston?  Bruskewitz would clean house day one and not count the cost.  The Vatican did not have the stomach for this and that is why (among other reasons perhaps) such an appointment was not made.

    Taking Pope Benedict’s statements at face value, he is more willing to pay the price of a smaller church to achieve a more faithful church.

    How much stomach does Levada have for confrontation?  I suppose Benedict knows and perhaps that is the reason Levada is in a staff job that is well suited to his talents.

  • As I have said before, we have to wait to see how these situations will play out before we will have any idea just what BXVI has in mind.  I have little doubt that he does indeed have something in mind, but we’ll have to see if that something is more of the same or some real reform. 

    I will be interested to learn who our Holy Father picks to replace Levada in the SF See.

  • I’m in an Oregon parish.  My pastor is the most orthodox you could possibly want, and I am very proud of him and Bishop Vasa.  When my pastor announced the selection of Archbishop Levada for the CDF, he said he was proud of knowing the archbishop, and mentioned that he had taken classes from him.  He would never make a negative statement if that’s what he felt, but the fact that he made positive statements tells me that he trusts Levada to hold the right principles.  Let’s wait till we see what he does to second-guess Levada.

  • Enigma?  This style is typical of the JP2 bishop – orthodox teaching combined with spineless administration.  The only thing unusual about the Levada situation is the extreme environment in which this leadership style is played out.

    It was the style practiced all the way to the top where the actions often didn’t match the words, and you know what they say about actions.  It would not surprise me if the new administration continues business as usual.  Cdl. Ratzinger defended orthodoxy in words, but how many priests did he defrock?

    We are getting heterodoxy in actions and symbols while the words remain orthodox in many areas of the faith.  That bothers me.  A lot.

  • Me too. I find it incredible that the most lavender priest of the most lavender city in North America was the chancellor under the man who is now going to be the Catholic Church’s chief of doctrine, and of investigating clerical sex abuse.

    Business. As. Usual. Or so it seems to me.

  • It sure would be nice to have a source within the San Francisco clergy to ask about things like this-  anybody know someone they could talk to?
    Rod- wait and see; there may be method to Benedict’s madness.

  • Obviously there is a problem here. It seems everyone agrees about that. One thing I have NOT seen mentioned is that this picture should not be posted here. There are perverts out there who will save this photo, or who will just visit this site in order to see the photo. It is/will be humiliating to the baby-person in question. It seems contrary to the dignity of this person to have the genitals exposed to the view and the jokes-comments of well-meaning visitors. All the jokes-comments about dirty water, liturgical dancing, gay priests, ignorant parents, remaining original sin, invalid baptism, etc are all too sad. I think the photo should be removed. Please…

  • Is there any priest other than Father John Conley the Archbishop Levada removed at discretion?

    Fr. Conley’s crime in the eyes of the Archbishop was to report what he saw with his own eyes to the police: Fr. Aylward “wrestling” with a boy in a dark rectory room.

  • [ Rod- wait and see; there may be method to Benedictnt_author_IP>
    2005-05-24 17:16:45
    2005-05-24 21:16:45
    Rod- wait and see; there may be method to Benedict_parent> 0 post 28163
    2005-05-23 10:09:17
    2005-05-23 14:09:17
    Two observations:

    1) I’m glad I was baptized as a baby.  This would be quite embarrassing and ungainly in my current body.

    2) I’ve done that while waterskiing.  Twice.  Not enough for a complete buttbaptizing, I guess.

  • Well, well.  Something is wrong here.  More than just funky baptisms.  This runs deep.  This is just one movement away from Orthodoxy, there are many others, i am guessing, within this parish.  I agree, also, with Robert Heath on his point, too.  Not right.  Well, good luck Thomas Coolberth, I hope there is a rise in the number of people going to this 1:30 St. Stanislaus Mass.  I pray Benedict XVI may bring an end to such trechery within the Church.

  • My first thought was, is the child supposed to be gay or something?

    I simply don’t understand why the baby is naked if he’s not to be immersed. 

    I did a couple of web searches.  One “Puritan” argues that baptism by dipping three times is valid, provided the subject is naked. 

    St. Thomas mentions dipping, passim, and allows for single or trine immersion (citing Gregory).  But St. Thomas finds the outward sign to be “washing with water”, the form of which is accidental to the sacrament. 

    The Church does not allow dipping today (though this prohibition might not affect validity).  If one could hazard a guess as to why dipping is prohibited, it could be because dipping may sometimes produce the necessary outward sign of “washing with water” and may sometimes fail to do so.  My subjective opinion is that butt-skimming fails to produce the sign of “washing with water”, whereas a thorough dipping of the head or face might suffice. 

  • Has anyone brought the doubtful baptisms to the attention of the local authorities? Even if they are not expected to be concerned, that’s the place to start, no? (Aside from the parents .)

  • I took this photo.  It was taken on Pentecost Sunday, 5/15/05.  Frankly, we came to oppose the reception of Communion by Rainbow Sash, which did occur that day.  We took video and photos of both irregularities.  We are in process of alerting Papa Benedetto XVI of these calamities in Rochester diocese, specifically Sacred Heart Cathedral.  Bishop Clark is hell bent to a forward position into a new age religious context.  Some of your comments about Marcoux were more than I knew. Thank-you.  Both local Fox news and Democrat and Chronicle rejected this story on Rainbow Sash after initialing contacting this writer for interview.  Some heavyweights killed this story.
    Michael F. Brennan
    Rochester, NY

  • That’s good to know, Michael, that the Vatican is being informed.  The only thing that surprises me about the Democrat and Chronicle is that they contacted you for an interview in the first place.

  • Abraham,
    Perhaps you could help. We have requested The Wanderer to print in its “News Notes” our request that Catholics across the country respectfuly write Bishop Matthew H. Clark, 1150 Buffalo Road – Rochester, NY 14624-1899, and ask him to inform the parents of the three possibly invalid baptisms of their infants [Pentencost, 5-15-05] so that they be baptized properly without the scandal of naked indiscretion.  (Note CC1239 and CC1278 as Dom states above) Preliminary indication is that our request may get printed. In the meantime, we are pursuing that and other channels.  These “baptisms” are indicative of a full court press into the new age of gnostic reasoning and philosophy replacing the Faith of our Fathers.  As preposterous it seems, there is purpose and meaning behind the modernist agenda.  They depend on Catholics to complain to each other then “pray and hide.”  It has worked very well for them.

    MF Brennan

  • So have faithful of the Rochester diocese already written and not yet received a response?