.- The spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco dismissed as "rumors" recent reports announcing that Archbishop William Joseph Levada was about to be appointed as the new Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Mr. Maurice Healy, spokesman for the San Francisco diocese, dismissed the speculation as rumor, telling the Associated Press that the recent meeting between the Archbishop and Pope Benedict XVI was just a “courtesy call.”
Time magazine reported Tuesday that Benedict already had asked Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco, a doctrinal expert, if he were interested in leading the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Last week, both The Oregonian and Religion News Service reported on Benedict's meeting with Levada and speculated that he was a contender for the job.
But Time magazine also quoted an unidentified senior Vatican official as saying that if Levada isn't appointed, "it means somebody got to (the Pope) and convinced him to change his mind."
As a priest, Archbishop Levada joined the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1976 and served for six years, leaving shortly after the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took over as Prefect in 1981.
Levada, a friend of Pope Benedict, is since 2000 one of the five bishops serving on the Congregation's board.
The Archbishop was also a leading figure in drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Levada, 68, has been Archbishop of San Francisco since 1995; after serving as the Archbishop of Portland, Ore.