USCCB president on the passing of Cardinal Levada

September 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Daniel Cardinal  DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement today upon the death of Cardinal William J. Levada.

 “Upon the death of William Cardinal Levada, please join me in a prayer of gratitude for a shepherd’s life. His ministry was one of expanding service to those around him. Cardinal Levada’s intellect and pastoral sense called him from parish priest to archbishop to prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was a friend and brother. Eternal rest grant unto him.”


U.S. William Cardinal Levada, former doctrinal head, dies in Rome

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - U.S. William Cardinal Levada, former head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation and retired archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, died Sept. 26 in Rome. He was 83.

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he named then-Archbishop Levada to replace him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged with protecting and promoting the church's teachings on faith and morals. It was the first time a U.S. prelate had headed the congregation, and Cardinal Levada served in that position until 2012.

Cardinal Levada was in Houston in 2016 when he served as the homilist for the ordination and installation Mass for Bishop Steven J. Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which was held at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. 

Before his Vatican appointment, he had served as archbishop of San Francisco since 1995; archbishop of Portland, Oregon, 1986-95, and an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, 1983-86.

William Joseph Levada was born June 15, 1936, in Long Beach, California. His great-grandparents had immigrated to California from Portugal and Ireland in the 1860s.

After seminary studies in California, he was sent to Rome's Pontifical North American College, earning a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica Dec. 20, 1961.

He returned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and worked as an associate pastor, teacher and campus ministry chaplain. In 1976, he returned to Rome as a staff official of the doctrinal congregation. During his six years of service there, he continued teaching theology part-time at Gregorian University.

He returned to California in 1982 and was named secretary of the California Catholic Conference, a public policy agency of the state's bishops. He was named an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in 1983 and was ordained a bishop March 25 of that year.

Pope Benedict elevated him to cardinal in 2006.