Vatican doctrine head, issuer of LCWR order, visits San Francisco

In a low-profile visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and much in the news in recent days for his congregation's April 18 decree calling for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, was the homilist Monday at the Mass marking the 50th year of the ordination of his good friend, San Francisco's Archbishop George Niederauer.

Niederauer succeeded Levada as San Francisco archbishop in 2006.

According to Catholic San Francisco, more than 2,000 attended the Mass of thanksgiving at St. Mary's Cathedral including 13 other bishops and 130 priests.

“Cardinal Levada gave a short history of Archbishop Niederauer’s 50 years of service, most notably his 27 years as a professor of English literature, as well as serving as spiritual director and rector, at St. John’s Seminary College in Camarillo, where he oversaw the formation of many future priests, and on to challenges in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, where he was bishop for 11 years, before heading the Archdiocese of San Francisco...,” wrote CSF reporter George Raine.

Raine noted that Levada and Niederauer both “are expected to retire in the near future, and Cardinal Levada found a poetic reference to the day they look forward to, from Robert Browning: 'Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’'”

Following church law, Niederauer submitted his resignation last June when he turned 75. He will head the archdiocese until a successor is named, officials have said.

Calls to request an interview with Levada were not immediately returned.

An archdiocesan official said today (May 3) that "a technician is still working on making the feed of the live stream recording" of the April 30 Mass available online. When that happens, it will be viewable at

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