September 26, 2019  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Southern California native Cardinal William J. Levada, former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation and retired archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, died today in Rome. He was 83. Visit Angelus News for the full story

In a message to the priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez called Cardinal Levada “one of the most distinguished Church leaders of our time,” citing among other achievements the Cardinal’s work on the 1992 “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

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 studying at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, 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. Levada, is one of three graduates of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo who have gone on to become cardinals.

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.

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The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest Archdiocese in the United States with approximately five million Catholics. For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts visit Follow us on social media at LACatholics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Video archives and footage of Masses celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez are also available.