Jeg nevnte den nye erkebiskopen i min kones hjemby nylig, og jeg leste tidligere i dag et ganske grundig intervju med ham i den lokale avisa «The Oregonian«. Han svarer godt for seg; etter å sa sagt en hel del om etterdønningene etter seksuelt misbruk av mindreårige i Oregon, sier han:
Q: Catholics in Western Oregon are divided between those who long to return to traditional liturgies and strict adherence to official church teaching and those who are critical of church teaching, often presenting their cases with careful historical and theological reasoning. What do you have to say to these two groups?
A: I am called to be the shepherd of all of those people. I probably Google-up as a more traditional, strong defender of church teaching kind of person. That shouldn’t communicate that I’m not willing to engage in dialogue. I want to understand people’s perspectives.
Q: Are you bringing a more conservative point of view to the archdiocese?
A: I don’t come in with any sense of stridency. It will take me some time to get to know the church, the people there, the culture of Portland and other areas. My first task is to learn, to listen, to observe, not be like a bull in a china shop.
Q: Why are you a fan of the old rite, or Latin Mass?
A: I am completely a product of the second Vatican Council. That period of renewal and reform in the church is part of who I am. I was in college before I really knew what that older Mass was like. I took a music appreciation class and heard Gregorian chant for the first time. Then five years ago, the holy father asked his bishops to be generous with the traditional liturgy for people who were attached to it. I was a bishop, I needed to know both forms. I got my videotapes and learned to do it privately. I’ve had three opportunities to celebrate it as a bishop. From my experience, the old Mass enriches my understanding of the ordinary, or English, Mass. People don’t need to be worried that I’ll suddenly introduce the traditional liturgy in every parish of the archdiocese. But I will be generous with the folks there who request that form.
Q: Women are active in the archdiocese, as teachers at every level of education, as parish administrators and volunteers. Catholic sisters have played and continue to play a major role. Some of these women have organized to challenge the church to use their gifts more effectively. How do you see the role of women in the church?
A: Aside from the issue of women’s ordination, I’m comfortable, supportive and encouraging. I’ve worked with a lot of women in leadership and we’d be lost without them. The feminine genius needs to be part of the conversation.
Q: Some people wonder if you’ll be here in Western Oregon very long. They’ve read that you are a rising star and might move on quickly to another church post. Cardinal Francis George was here for about a year.
A: Listen, that is the farthest thing from my mind. I wasn’t looking for a move. I have every intention to be there for a long time. I’m even thinking of relocating my 84-year-old mother there.