Thomas Williams (cardinal)

Last updated

His Eminence

Thomas Stafford Williams

Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Wellington
Tom Williams ONZ (cropped).jpg
Williams in 2011
Appointed30 October 1979
Installed20 December 1979
Term ended21 March 2005
Predecessor Reginald Delargey
Successor John Atcherley Dew
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Gesù Divin Maestro alla Pineta Sacchetti
Ordination20 December 1959
by  Gregorio Pietro Agagianian
Consecration20 December 1979
by  Owen Snedden
Created cardinal2 February 1983
by John Paul II
Personal details
Born (1930-03-20) 20 March 1930 (age 89)
Wellington, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealander
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous postOrdinary of the Military Ordinariate of New Zealand (1995-2005)
MottoUnity in Christ
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Thomas Stafford Williams.svg

Thomas Stafford Williams ONZ ChStJ (born 20 March 1930) is a cardinal in the Catholic church and before his retirement in 2005 the fifth Archbishop of Wellington.

Order of New Zealand organization; order of chivalry of New Zealand

The Order of New Zealand is the highest honour in New Zealand's royal honours system, created "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity". It was instituted by royal warrant of 6 February 1987. The order is modelled on the British Order of Merit and Order of the Companions of Honour.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington Catholic archdiocese in New Zealand

The Latin Rite Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington is the Metropolitan Archdiocese of New Zealand. Catholics number about 83,214. Parishes number 22 and the archdiocese extends over central New Zealand between Levin and Masterton in the north to Kaikoura to Westport in the south.


Early life and education

Williams was born in Wellington, New Zealand and educated at Holy Cross Primary School, Seatoun; SS Peter and Paul School, Lower Hutt; St. Patrick's College, Wellington; and St. Kevin's College, Oamaru. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Victoria University, Wellington, and worked for some years as an accountant. During his studies, he was deeply involved in the Catholic Youth Movement (YCW) and for a period worked full-time for the movement. In 1954 he commenced studies for the priesthood at the National Seminary, Holy Cross College, Mosgiel, Dunedin. In 1956 he was sent to the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, where he obtained a licentiate in theology and was ordained a priest on 20 December 1959. Later he received a social sciences degree from University College Dublin. [1]

Wellington Capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. It is the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.

Lower Hutt Place in Wellington, New Zealand

Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Administered by the Hutt City Council, it is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area.

Victoria University of Wellington public university in New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington is a university in Wellington, New Zealand. It was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a constituent college of the University of New Zealand.


Returning to Wellington, he served as assistant pastor and as Director of Studies at the Catholic Enquiry Centre. He left that post when he volunteered to serve as a missionary in Samoa (today the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia), where he was parish priest for 5 years. He returned to New Zealand in 1963 and became parish priest at St. Patrick's in Palmerston North for two years. This was followed by four years as Director of the Catholic Enquiry Centre in Wellington. In 1971 he moved to Leulumoega, Samoa and returned to New Zealand in 1976 to the Holy Family Parish in Porirua East. [2] [3]

Palmerston North City in North Island, New Zealand

Palmerston North is a city in the North Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Manawatu-Wanganui region. Located in the eastern Manawatu Plains, the city is near the north bank of the Manawatu River, 35 km (22 mi) from the river's mouth, and 12 km (7 mi) from the end of the Manawatu Gorge, about 140 km (87 mi) north of the capital, Wellington. Palmerston North is the country's seventh-largest city and eighth-largest urban area, with an urban population of 86,600.

Leulumoega Village District in Aana, Samoa

Leulumoega Tuai is a village situated on the northwest coast Upolu island in Samoa. The village is part of the A'ana Alofi II Electoral Constituency which formas part of the larger A'ana political district.

Porirua city in New Zealand

Porirua, a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand, is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area. It almost completely surrounds Porirua Harbour at the southern end of the Kapiti Coast. As of June 2018 Porirua had a population of 56,700.

Church leader

He became Archbishop of Wellington on 20 December 1979 – his 20th anniversary of priestly ordination [4] – following the death of Reginald Cardinal Delargey. His principal consecrator was Owen Snedden, long-term Auxiliary Bishop of Wellington. Williams was created Cardinal-Priest of the titular church of Jesus the Divine Teacher at Pineta Sacchetti by Pope John Paul II on February 2, 1983. [5]

Consecrator bishop who makes a person into a priest or another bishop

In the Roman Catholic Church, a consecrator is a bishop who ordains a priest to the episcopal state. The term is also used in Eastern Rite Churches and in Anglican communities.

The Right Reverend Owen Noel Snedden, MBE was Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand. He was the first Auckland-born priest to be consecrated a Roman Catholic bishop.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

Styles of
Thomas Stafford Williams
Coat of arms of Thomas Stafford Williams.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Wellington (emeritus)

He was additionally appointed Military Ordinary in 1995. He received New Zealand's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand in 2000. [6]

Moral campaigns

He campaigned strongly against the passage of the law allowing civil unions in New Zealand saying it would turn New Zealand into a "moral wasteland". [7] He also campaigned against the expansion of casinos. [8]

Conclave and retirement

Williams was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. [9] He resigned as Archbishop of Wellington on 21 March 2005 having reached the age of 75 years and was succeeded by the then Coadjutor Archbishop, John Atcherley Dew. [10]

Selected works

See also

Related Research Articles

Catholic Church in New Zealand

The Catholic Church in New Zealand is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope in Rome.

James Stafford Catholic cardinal

James Francis Stafford is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary from 2003 to 2009. He previously served as President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (1996–2003), Archbishop of Denver (1986–1996), Bishop of Memphis (1982–1986), and Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore (1976–1982). He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

Daniel DiNardo Catholic cardinal

Daniel Nicholas DiNardo is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the second and current Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, serving since 2006. He previously served as Bishop of Sioux City from 1998 to 2004. On November 12, 2013, he was elected as the Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On November 15, 2016, he was elected as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, exercising a leading administrative role in the Catholic Church in the United States, although the Archbishop of Baltimore is considered honorarily "prerogative of place".

Reginald Delargey Catholic cardinal

Reginald John Cardinal Delargey was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, and later Cardinal, Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand. His title was Cardinal-Priest of Immacolata al Tiburtino.

William Edward Cousins was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Peoria (1952-1958) and later Archbishop of Milwaukee (1958-1977).

John Dew (cardinal) Roman Catholic prelate

John Atcherley Dew is a Roman Catholic bishop. He is the sixth Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and the Metropolitan of New Zealand, serving since 2005. He was also created a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015.

Francis William Mary Redwood SM, was the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington, Metropolitan of New Zealand.

Peter Thomas Bertram Cardinal McKeefry was the third Archbishop of Wellington (1954–73) and Metropolitan of New Zealand and its first Cardinal.

Michael Francis Burbidge Catholic bishop

Michael Francis Burbidge is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who is the current Bishop of Arlington. On October 4, 2016, Burbidge was appointed as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Arlington. He was installed on December 6, 2016.

Giovanni Panico Italian cardinal and diplomat

Giovanni Panico was an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as nuncio to several countries during his career, and was created a cardinal in 1962.

Thomas Joseph Murphy was an American bishop in the Catholic Church who served as Bishop of Great Falls from 1978–1987, Coadjutor Archbishop of Seattle from 1987–1991, and Archbishop of Seattle from 1991 until his death.

The Military Ordinariate of New Zealand is a military ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church located in Wellington. Immediately subject to the Holy See, it provides pastoral care to Roman Catholics serving in the New Zealand Defence Force and their families.

Michael Verdon was the 2nd Catholic Bishop of Dunedin (1896–1918).

Denis William Hanrahan was the 6th Roman Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Christchurch on 25 March 1984 by Pope John Paul II, succeeded to the see of Christchurch on 4 July 1985 on the retirement of his predecessor Bishop Ashby and died in office on 1 February 1987.

Charles Drennan 21st-century Catholic bishop

Charles Edward Drennan is the Second Catholic Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand.


  1. "Williams, Thomas Stafford". CNA (Catholic News Agency). Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  2. "Archbishop Emeritus". Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. "Williams, Thomas Stafford". Catholic News Agency (CNA). Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  4. "Wellington Cardinal celebrates 50 years of priesthood". New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  5. "Williams, Thomas Stafford". Catholic News Agency (CNA). Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  6. "Cardinal Thomas S Williams ONZ DD". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  7. "NZ gay law 'to make moral wasteland'". 7 August 2004. Archived from the original on 7 August 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  8. "News Features - Catholic Culture". 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  9. Johnston, Martin. "NZ prelate backs bags for Rome". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  10. "Wellington Cardinal celebrates 50 years of priesthood". New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Reginald Delargey
Archbishop of Wellington
Succeeded by
John Atcherley Dew