Cardinal Levada, former Archbishop of Portland embroiled in priest abuse cases, has died at 83

By Michael Rollins
September 29, 2019

Cardinal William Levada gestures during a media conference Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at St. Patrick's seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. Levada says retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony should participate in the process of the selection of the next pope. Cardinal Levada made the comments on Monday ahead of his trip to the Vatican to help with the selection of the next pope. His comments came in the wake of a grass-roots campaign to shame Mahony into refraining from participating because of his role protecting sexually abusive priests. Mahony has been shown to have covered up for other priests who raped and molested children.
Photo by Ben Margot

Cardinal William J. Levada died September 25, according to Catholic News Service.

Cardinal William J. Levada, who oversaw the Archdiocese of Portland during turbulent years that eventually brought to light, child abuse by priests, has died at age 83, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Levada died September 25, according to the story with a Vatican City dateline. He served as the Portland archbishop from 1986 to 1995, when he became archbishop of San Francisco. Levada was named a cardinal in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

"I was very saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor as Archbishop of Portland, Cardinal Levada. We are sincerely grateful to God for his years of service here as our shepherd. He is fondly remembered. May God grant him the reward of a good and faithful servant," current Archbishop of Portland Alexander K. Sample said in a Facebook post.

In 2004, the archdiocese declared bankruptcy, paying out over previous years about $53 million to over 100 victims who claimed child abuse by priests, which  Levada reportedly learned of after he came to Portland. It was the first bankruptcy of an American diocese to deal with the financial fallout of priest abuse.

In 2005 Pope Benedict named him the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the highest rank ever achieved by an American bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.

In that position, considered to be part of the inside circle of advisers for the papacy, he became responsible for  enforcing church doctrine, including the discipline of clergy worldwide. He stepped down from the position in 2012.


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