Thomas Stafford Williams
Church positions
See Wellington
Title Cardinal Archbishop of Wellington
Period in office December 1979 — March 2006
Successor John Atcherley Dew
Created cardinal February 1983
Date of birth 20 March, 1930
Place of birth Wellington

Thomas Stafford Williams, ONZ, ChStJ (born 20 March 1930) is a New Zealand Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Wellington. His title is Cardinal-Priest of Gesù Divin Maestro alla Pineta Saccheti.

Early life and education

Cardinal 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 studied for 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, in Mosgiel, Dunedin. In 1956 was sent to the Pontifical Urban University in Rome where he obtained a licentiate in theology and was ordained a priest on December 20, 1959. Later he receiving a Social sciences degree from University College in Dublin.


Returning to Wellington, he served as assistant pastor and 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 where he became the 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, one of the Archdiocese's most multi-cultural parishes.

Church Leader

He became the Archbishop of Wellington on 20 December 1979 - his 20th anniversary of priestly ordination - following the death of Cardinal Reginald Delargey. He was subsequently created a Cardinal By Pope John Paul II at the consistory of 2 February 1983 and received the titular church of Jesus the Divine Teacher at Pineda Sacchetti.

Styles of
Thomas Williams
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Wellington (emeritus)

He was additionally appointed as bishop for the Military Ordinariate in 1995. He received New Zealand's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand in 2000.

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" [1]. He also campaigns against the expansion of casinos [2].

Conclave & Succession

Williams was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He resigned on 21 March 2005 and was succeeded as Archbishop of Wellington by the then Co-Adjutor Archbishop John Atcherley Dew. He now lives in retirement on the Kapiti Coast. Cardinal Williams still has a number of international responsibilities, retaining membership of three Vatican bodies that will require travelling to Rome from time to time. Until the age of 80 he will be eligible to vote in a papal conclave.

Selected works

External links

la:Thomas Stafford Williams

no:Thomas Stafford Williamsru:Уильямс, Томас Стэффорд

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