Thomas Williams grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he attended grade school at Saint Hugo of the Hills, run by the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and high school at Birmingham Brother Rice High School, run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, where he graduated in 1980.
Williams went on to study economics and finance at the University of Michigan where he earned a five-year degree in managerial economics in 1985. Shortly afterward, Williams entered the seminary of the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Connecticut. He went on to study classical humanities and ancient and modern languages in Salamanca (Spain), earning a diploma in Classical Studies at the Colegio de Ciencias Humanísticas in 1988. He moved to Rome to study philosophy and theology, earning a licenciate degree in philosophy from the Gregorian University in 1994, and a doctorate in theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum in 2001, summa cum laude. Williams was ordained a Catholic priest in 1994 and later granted a dispensation by the Holy See in order to marry in the Church.
Williams has taught Philosophical Ethics at Duquesne University, the University of Saint Thomas, and Saint John’s University in Rome and was the Dean of the Theology School for seven years at Regina Apostolorum University, where he taught courses in Catholic Social Thought, Moral Theology, Dignity and Human Rights, Bioethics, and Christology. He has also taught as a visiting lecturer in Ireland, Poland, Peru, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, Côte D’Ivoire, and the USA.
In 2007, Williams was invited to become a corresponding academician at the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas and he later became a founding member of the Society of Thomistic Personalism in 2010.
Williams served as analyst and commentator on faith, religion and the Vatican for several television news networks, including CBS, NBC and Sky News in the United Kingdom, and has appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Dateline, and The Early Show. He also starred in and helped produce MSNBC's ten-part special series The Ethical Edge. In this capacity, Williams covered the final illness and death of Pope John Paul II, the 2005 papal conclave, the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the U.S. Papal visit of Pope Benedict in 2008, Benedict's trip to the Holy Land in 2009, and the papal trip to the UK in 2010.
He was appointed by the Holy See as official spokesperson for two Synods of Bishops (1997 and 2001). He is currently Rome Bureau Chief for Breitbart News.
In 2002 and 2003 Williams served as theological consultant to Mel Gibson for the making of the film The Passion of the Christ. He was also the founding publisher of the Zenit News Agency, a post he held for thirteen years.
Williams is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, and French, and possesses moderate proficiency in German, Portuguese, and Latin as well as familiarity with ancient Greek.
One of the more prolific writers of the English language, Williams has published more than 3 million words among his 17 books and over 5,000 articles, essays, and book collaborations on a broad range of topics. He has given numerous lectures and speeches on subjects that range from religious freedom to Vatican finances to media ethics to immigration to Christian persecution to the new atheism.
Among others, his articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, First Things, Sacerdos, Crux, The National Catholic Register, Catholic Dossier, Seminarium, The Irish Catholic, Inside the Vatican, Logos, Crisis Magazine, Alpha Omega, National Review, Sapientia, The Human Life Review, Katholische Wochenzeitung, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Catalunya Cristiana, Ecclesia, The Denver Catholic Register and Famiglia Cristiana. He has also been interviewed and cited in The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, The Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and Zenit News Service.
Williams completed a two-year sommelier program with the Italian Sommelier Association in Rome and was certified as a wine expert by the same foundation as well as by the World Sommelier Association in March of 2016. He has since completed two further specialization courses on the wines of Bordeaux and the wines of Burgundy.
Thomas Williams lives in Rome with his wife Elizabeth Lev and their family.