Vatican Cardinal Says Catholics Must Risk Discipleship

Mass Booklet
Cardinal Levada

Cardinal William J. Levada reads a letter conveying Pope Benedict’s greetings to the convention.

In societies that are becoming more secular and technological, Knights of Columbus, along with all Catholics, must bear witness to the fact that only God’s word can give “life-giving refreshment” to satisfy the human heart, said Cardinal William Levada in a homily on Wednesday.

A special guest at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, Cardinal Levada is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. Formerly Archbishop of San Francisco, he was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to replace himself as Prefect of the congregation in 2005.

The principal celebrant at the Mass, offered on the Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.

Cardinal Levada said that the City of God, the “New Jerusalem” that is promised in Scripture to descend from heaven at the end of time, is not built by human hands. “The New Jerusalem does not rise up to heaven from the earth; that city is Babel, not Jerusalem,” he pointed out. “Rather, it comes down from heaven to us … we do not build heaven on earth; we simply prepare the site to welcome the New Jerusalem which comes from God.”

He made a suggestion that he said applies especially to American Catholics. Despite the many blessings and material wealth of the United States, he noted, “at times that abundance can blind people to our utter dependence on God, and the need to seek to do his will first and always.”

Bearing witness to spiritual realities and unpopular truths can make Catholics a target within the culture. “That is the cost of discipleship,” Cardinal Levada said. “As Catholics, especially in America, we can and should work with all people of good will, regardless of their religious beliefs, to improve the lot of others.” But this cooperation must not mute the voice of Catholics who proclaim that only God satisfied the human heart, he concluded.