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Cardinal William Joseph Levada Cardinal William Joseph Levada 

Pope expresses condolence for Cardinal Levada who died in Rome

The Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith died during the night of 26 September in Rome. He was 83 years of age. Pope Francis has sent a condolence message to the Archdiocese of San Francisco of which Cardinal Levada was former Archbishop.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis has expressed his sadness at the death of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco, USA.

In a telegram to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, the Pope offered his “heartfelt condolences” to the archbishop, the faithful, religious and clergy of the archdiocese.

The Holy Father recalled with “immense gratitude the late Cardinal’s years of priestly and episcopal ministry among Christ’s flock in Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco, his singular contributions to catechesis, education and administration, and his distinguished service to the Apostolic See”.  

In 1983, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed William Levada Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, the city where he was born. He went on to serve as Archbishop of Portland, Oregan, in 1986, and then of San Francisco, in 1995.

During the 1980’s, then-Archbishop Levada worked closely with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on drawing up the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he chose Archbishop William Levada to take over from him as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  

A year later, Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal.

The life and service of William J. Levada

William J. Levada was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica on December 20, 1961. He worked as a parish priest in Los Angeles for five years, serving as the first Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy and teaching theology at St. John's Seminary School of Theology.

In 1976 he was appointed an Official of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In Rome, he taught theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

On 25 March 1983, Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. He received his episcopal ordination on 12 May of the same year.

On 1 July 1986 he was promoted to the Archbishop's See of Portland, in the State of Oregon. During his nine years of pastoral service in Portland, he devoted himself to priestly vocations and to improving the seminary at Mount Angel, where he taught ecclesiology.

In 1995 he became Archbishop of San Francisco. From 1986 to 1993 he was the only American bishop on the editorial board of the Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He is the author of the Glossary published in the second English edition of the Catechism.

In 1997 he participated in the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops and was later appointed a member of the post-synodal council. During the year 2000 he was appointed bishop co-president of the Anglican-Catholic Dialogue of the United States of America (ARC-USA).

In 2003 he organized the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and began the three-year presidency of the Committee of the United States Episcopal Conference on Doctrine

In 2005 he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Benedict XVI, succeeding the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In 2006 he was created Cardinal in the Consistory of 24 March 2006.

Since 2012 he has been Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", President Emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission.

27 September 2019, 08:37