Cardinal Levada, a Menlo Park resident, charged with DUI in Hawaii


A resident of St. Patrick's Seminary & University in Menlo Park, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, has been charged with drunken driving after being stopped on Aug. 20 by a police officer on a street in Kailua-Kona in Hawaii.

Cardinal Levada, 79, is out of custody after posting $500 bail and is expected in court on Sept. 24, according to the Hawaii Tribune- Herald. He was on vacation with friends, according to a church spokesman.

At the time he was pulled over by police, Cardinal Levada was alone and driving a 2015 Nissan Altima, the story said.

The seminary has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Cardinal Levada's long career with the Roman Catholic Church includes terms as archbishop of San Francisco and archbishop of Portland, Oregon. He is currently the Prefect Emeritus of the Conclave of the Faith.

He has held a position of great power within the church, succeeding Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) in May 2005 as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This office within the curia -- the Pope's cabinet -- has a mission to "promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world," according to

The church changed the office's original name -- the Congregation for Universal Inquisition -- in 1908, and again in 1965 to its present name, according to a historical summary at the website.

Cardinal Levada, who retired in July 2012, was the first U.S. prelate to hold the Prefect position, the Tribune-Herald story said. He was also a voting member of the College of Cardinals when that body elected Pope Francis in March 2013.

— Dave Boyce

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4 people like this
Posted by balance
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 27, 2015 at 8:02 pm

I wonder, with all the DUIs that are given to local folk and never reported in the news, why this has such a huge article and photo?

3 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Maybe because he is charged with a mission to "promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals whole Catholic world,"

Sorry, but no one is above the law....certainly not a man of the cloth.

Like this comment
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:43 am

He's only human, but it would be interesting to know if he just had too much wine with dinner or had too much beer at a beach party.

6 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2015 at 9:15 am

really? is a registered user.

If he was really in touch with the Big Man upstairs, he would have turned his wine back into water before being breathalized.

3 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2015 at 10:16 am


William Levada is no ordinary priest.

He was the former prefect (head) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, commonly known as the Holy Office (a.k.a. Holy Inquisition). Thus, both Levada and Ratzinger were in effect Chief Inquisitors.

The original mission of this office was to hunt down and eradicate heretics. Its roots can be traced back to the Church's military actions against the Cathars and the twenty-year-long Albigensian Crusade in the 12th century.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is one of the oldest and most powerful offices in the Roman Catholic Church. As prefect, Levada was on a short list to become the Pope.

Like this comment
Posted by Familiar name
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

I knew I'd seen Lavada's name somewhere. A Google check shows that he has been a controversial figure for his mishandling of sex abuse cases by priests. He's mentioned in this London Guardian piece: Web Link

Cardinal William Lavada, head of the CDF, whose handling of previous sexual abuse cases has been criticised in the past.

Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Water is a registered user.

As a not-so-active Catholic, I'd love to know what the mission is for modern day Inquisitors? Certainly it's not drinking and driving! That can take out the faithful as well as heretics.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a great example of modern day sensationalist journalism - If it bleeds it leads.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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