Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

Cardinal William Levada dies at age 83

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Cardinal William Levada dies at age 83 on September 25 in Rome.

Vatican City, Sep 26, 2019 / 08:21 am (CNA).- Cardinal William Levada, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, died Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the age of 83. He was the first American to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), one of the most senior positions in the Curia.

Levada was appointed to the position by Pope Benedict XVI, who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, had led the congregation until his election as pope. He served in the role from May 13, 2005, until July, 2012.

As prefect of the CDF, Leveda served as president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission. He was also charged with overseeing the Vatican’s handling of cases of child sexual abuse, and with implementing the 2010 legal reforms to Sacromentorum sanctitatis tutela, which govern the Church’s handling of the most serious canonical offences.

Following the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus by Benedict XVI in 2009, under Levada’s leadership, the CDF was charged with creating the Personal Ordinariates of Walsingham, the Chair of St. Peter, and Our Lady of the Southern Cross, to incorporate groups of former Anglicans, including clergy, into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Born June 15, 1936, in Long Beach California, William Joseph Levada was the younger of two children of Joseph and Lorraine Levada. His sister, Dolores, died in 2007.

Before his appointment to Rome, Levada served as Archbishop of San Francisco for 10 years, from 1995. While in that archdiocese, Levada was known as a vocal defender of the Church’s teaching on marriage as the city of San Francisco expanded domestic partnership benefits to same-sex and unmarried cohabitating couples.