|Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster|
|Appointed||3 December 1956|
|Term ended||22 January 1963|
|Successor||John Carmel Heenan|
|Ordination||28 October 1916|
|Consecration||21 December 1938
by Raffaele Carlo Rossi
|Created Cardinal||15 December 1958|
25 July 1889|
|Died||22 January 1963
|Parents||George and Mary Godfrey|
William Godfrey was born in Liverpool to George and Mary Godfrey. His father was a haulage contractor. He leaned towards the priesthood from an early age, never taking another career into serious consideration. After studying at Ushaw College, Durham, and the English College, Rome, he was ordained on 28 October 1916 in Rome. He then finished his studies in 1918, obtaining his doctorates in divinity and philosophy in 1917, and did pastoral work in Liverpool until 1919. He taught Classics, Philosophy and Theology at Ushaw from 1918 to 1930, the year when he was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness (28 October), with the title of monsignor, and appointed rector of the English College. At the College, the strict priest was known to his students as "Uncle Bill". In 1935, Godfrey was made a member of the Pontifical Commission to Malta, and he was in official attendance at the 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
On 21 November 1938, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Cius and first Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain, Gibraltar and Malta. Godfrey, who was the first papal representative to England since the Reformation, received his episcopal consecration on the following 21 December from Cardinal Raffaele Rossi, OCD, with Archbishop Luigi Traglia and Bishop Ralph Hayes serving as co-consecrators, in the chapel of the English College. He was also chargé d'affaires of the Holy See to the Polish government-in-exile in London in 1943, and was made Archbishop of Liverpool on 10 November 1953.
Pope Pius XII named Godfrey as Archbishop of Westminster, and thus the ranking prelate of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, on 3 December 1956. During his installation, Godfrey condemned communism and professed his mission as returning England "back to the love of Christ". He also called for English Catholics to feed their pets less during Lent, and was vehemently opposed to birth control. Godfrey was created Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo by Pope John XXIII in the consistory of 15 December 1958.
Godfrey, who enjoyed the piano and sports, lived long enough to attend only the first session of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, and died from a heart attack in London, at age 73. He is buried in Westminster Cathedral and had his portrait sculpted by Arthur Fleischmann.
- Miranda, Salvador. "William Godfrey". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
- TIME Magazine. The New Cardinals 22 December 1958
- TIME Magazine. New Archbishop 18 February 1957
- TIME Magazine. Pope & Democracy 5 December 1938
- TIME Magazine. Lent for Man & Beast 24 February 1961
- TIME Magazine. Milestones 1 February 1963
|Catholic Church titles|
|Archbishop of Liverpool
John Carmel Heenan
|Archbishop of Westminster
John Carmel Heenan
Celso Benigno Luigi Costantini
|Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo