American Succeeds Pope in Former Office

Archbishop Levada New Prefect for Doctrinal Congregation

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI named the archbishop of San Francisco to succeed him as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.



The Vatican announced today that Archbishop William Levada, 68, will fill the vacancy left by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger upon his election to the papacy.

The Pope and Archbishop Levada worked together from 1986 to 1993 on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The archbishop was the only American bishop on the editorial committee. He also authored the Catechism's glossary, which was published in the second English-language edition of the Catechism.

Archbishop Levada has been a bishop-member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2002, and worked under Cardinal Ratzinger as an official of the congregation when the cardinal became prefect in 1981.

Born William Levada in Long Beach, California, June 15, 1936, he attended entered the seminary in Los Angeles.

In 1958, he was sent to further his seminary formation in Rome at the North American College, and received a doctorate in sacred theology "magna cum laude" from the Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica Dec. 20, 1961, and worked five years in parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

After receiving his doctorate, he taught theology at St. John's Seminary School of Theology, located at Camarillo, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Father Levada was appointed as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1976, and during his six years of service, he taught at the Gregorian University.

In 1982, he was assigned to be executive director of California's bishops' conference 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 May 12, 1983.

Returning to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1984, he served as vicar for Santa Barbara until 1986, when he was appointed archbishop of Portland, Oregon.

Archbishop Levada returned to California in 1995 as coadjutor archbishop of San Francisco, and since then has been active on many committees of the U.S. bishops' conference, the Catholic University of America, the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

He participated in the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America in 1997, and was subsequently named to its post-synodal council.

He was designated bishop co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States in for the year 2000.

In November, 2000 the Vatican announced his appointment as a member of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and two years later, in 2003, he began a 3-year term as chairman of the U.S. bishops' conference Committee on Doctrine.

Founded in 1542 by Pope Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the curia's nine congregations.