Now that the rumor has been proven accurate that Pope Benedict XVI has tapped Archbishop William J. Levada to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. of the <shudder>National Catholic Reporter</shudder> has some helpful analysis on the possible reasons Abp. Levada was offered the job:
"First, he has a solid theological background. He wrote his doctoral thesis in theology at Rome’s Gregorian University under the direction of Jesuit Fr. Francis Sullivan, widely regarded as one of the best minds in ecclesiology of the 20th century. The subject of Levada’s dissertation was ‘The Infallible Church Magisterium and the Natural Moral Law,’ examining how the magisterium understands natural law, and especially its binding force. Levada reviewed a range of theological opinions and drew what one observer described as ‘balanced, judicious’ conclusions. Given the way that moral questions, especially on sexual issues and biotechnology, are among the most contentious matters the doctrinal congregation handles, it’s a background that would serve Levada well.
"At the same time, because Levada has not spent his career as a professional theologian, he has not developed a deep specialization in any one area. A theologian in Rome described him as a very capable ‘general practitioner.’
"Jesuit Fr. Gerald O’Collins at the Gregorian, who remembers Levada as an industrious doctoral candidate, said that Levada now phones him to keep tabs on his own men.
"’He keeps in touch,’ O’Collins said. ‘He says, "How is he doing?" … I feel it kind of encourages the student to finish, because the archbishop needs him back.’
"O’Collins described Levada as ‘an extremely decent human being.’"
(Nod to the reader who mentioned Allen’s column in a post comment down yonder.)