Zenit interviewed Archbishop Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston on the eve of his getting the cardinal’s hat. Archbishop DiNardo showed us the kind of thinking we should hope to find in a cardinal who holds graduate degrees in the study of the Fathers.
Q: As a patristic scholar, you have a deep appreciation for the Church’s sacred Tradition. Benedict XVI has in his pontificate underlined the importance of not rupturing with the Church’s past, and to provide continuity with its rich liturgical and theological traditions. In what ways can bishops implement the Holy Father’s program in their dioceses?
Archbishop DiNardo: When I arrived in the archdiocese, I really didn’t find a lot of instances of discontinuity or rupture. There are always complaints with the way Mass is celebrated in some places, but my predecessor bishops were great moderating forces. Thus, the diocese avoided some of the problems found elsewhere associated with a rupture from the past.
With regard to the liturgy, I think we can take a cue from the liturgical piety of the Church Fathers. In the Fathers, you see an emphasis not only on the words said at Mass, but also the importance of the gestures of the liturgy. In other words, say the black, do the red.
I also always emphasize unity in faith, meaning unity in the Creed. The Creed allows the Church to unite around a common set of beliefs. And knowing the Creed and what it means helps root the faithful in the great Tradition of the Church.
As I tell my seminarians, it is not enough to have the right sentiments about God; you actually have to know something. You have to know what the Church teaches and what theologians such as St. Augustine or St. Thomas said about particular doctrines…