Pope Benedict XVI announced today that Archbishop William Joseph Levada, until now Archbishop of San Francisco, is succeeding him as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Archbishop William Joseph Levada is a fourth-generation Californian, born in Long Beach on June 15, 1936.
Except for a three-year interval when his family lived in Texas, he attended elementary and high schools in Long Beach, followed by four years of Seminary College in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
In 1958, he was sent to pursue his seminary formation in Rome at the North American College, and took his graduate theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, receiving a doctorate in sacred theology magna cum laude.
Following ordination to the priesthood in St. Peter's Basilica on December 20, 1961, he spent five years in parish work in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, including part-time high school teaching and college campus ministry.
After receiving his doctorate, he taught theology at St. John's Seminary School of Theology, located at Camarillo in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
During these six years he also served as the first Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy in the Archdiocese.
Serving at the Vatican
In 1976, he was appointed an Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. During his six years of service, he continued teaching theology part-time as an Instructor at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In 1982, he was assigned to be Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops in Sacramento, the public policy arm of the Church in California. During his two years there, he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, and was ordained with the title Titular Bishop of Capri on May 12, 1983.
Returning to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1984, he served as Episcopal Vicar for Santa Barbara County until his 1986 appointment as Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia.
On July 1, 1986, he was appointed eighth Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, and was installed on September 21.
During his nine years in Portland, Archbishop Levada was able to devote time to the recruitment of priestly vocations and enhancement of the seminary at Mt. Angel, where he taught Ecclesiology.
Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of San Francisco on August 17, 1995, Archbishop Levada was installed on October 24 that year, and succeeded Archbishop John Quinn, as seventh Archbishop of San Francisco on December 27, 1995.
Since his ordination as a Bishop, he has been active on many committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as on the governing boards of the Catholic University of America, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Drafting the Catechism
From 1986 to 1993 he served as the only American bishop on the Editorial Committee of the Vatican Commission for a Catechism of the Catholic Church; he authored the Catechism's Glossary, which was published in the English-language second edition of the Catechism.
In 1997, he participated in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America, and was subsequently named to its post-Synodal Council.
From July 1999, to May 2000, he was assigned additional duties as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.
During 2000, he was designated Bishop Co-Chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States (ARC-USA). In November the Vatican announced his appointment as a Member of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
In November 2003, he began a 3-year term as Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine.
He also serves as Grand Prior of the Northwest Lieutenancy (USA) of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and as Conventual Chaplain for the Western Association (USA) of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. He currently serves on the USCCB Delegation to the Mixed Commission for the Charter and Essential Norms for the Protection of Children and Young People, and on the Task Force on Catholics in Political Life.