2012 Consistory – 22 New Cardinals


Fernando Filoni

Fernando Filoni

Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Italy

Newly named Italian Cardinal Fernando Fil­oni was born in Manduria (Taranto), Italy, on April 15, 1946, the son of Salvatore and Severina Baglivo. He has one sister and one brother. After spending his first years in his hometown, he went to live in Galatone (Lecce), his family’s place of origin, and attended primary school there. He went to secondary school at the minor seminary of Nardò, whose diocesan bishop at the time was Monsignor Corrado Ursi, future archbishop and cardinal of Naples. Subsequently, he attended high school in Molfetta, at the “Pius XI” Puglia Regional Seminary, and studied theology at the Santa Maria della Quercia Seminary in Viterbo.

He was ordained a priest in the chief church of Galatone by Bishop Antonio Rosario Mennonna, bishop of Nardò, on July 3, 1970.

Mennonna allowed Filoni to continue his studies in Rome, where he attended the Pontifical Lateran University, graduating in canon law, and at Rome’s secular university “La Sapienza,” where he graduated in philosophy. Subsequently, he obtained a diploma in sciences and techniques of public opinion, specializing in journalism, at the “Pro Deo” (today “Luiss”) University. During his years in Rome, he was assistant parish priest at St. Titus, in an area south of Rome, not far from the Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls, where he spent nine years, taking care of the education of young people and teaching at the liceo classico high schools “Vivona” and “Socrate.”

After completing his studies, on returning to his diocese, the then-cardinal vicar of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, asked him to join the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for Vatican diplomats. His first assignment was in 1981 in Sri Lanka. He stayed for three years.

After a stint in Iran from 1983 to 1985, he was called back to the secretariat of state, where he served in the office for international organizations. In 1989, he was transferred to Brazil, where he remained until 1992, when he was formally stationed in the Philippines, but with residence in Hong Kong. Here the Holy See had opened a mission to follow closely the situation of the Church in China in a time of great social and religious change, after years of Maoism.

He remained in Hong Kong until January 2001, when Blessed John Paul II appointed him titular archbishop of Volturno and apostolic nuncio to Jordan and Iraq.

He stayed in Baghdad during the last two years of the regime of Saddam Hussein, during and after the war, until March 2006, when Benedict XVI appointed him as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.

He remained there for a year, until June 2007, when he was called back to the Vatican as the deputy secretary of state.

His office lasted until May 10, 2011, when the Pope appointed him prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He is also the grand chancellor of the Pontifical Urban University.


Manuel Monteiro de Castro

Manuel Monteiro de Castro

Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Portugal

Pope Benedict XVI has named Portu­guese Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, the 73-year-old secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, to head the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Church court dealing with indulgences, serious sins and matters of conscience. The Vatican announced the appointment January 5. The head of the office is normally a cardinal.

Archbishop Monteiro de Castro was born March 29, 1938, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 for the archdiocese of Braga in Portugal.

He earned a degree in canon law and entered the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1967, working at nunciatures in Panama, Guat­emala, Vietnam, Australia, Mexico and Belgium.

In 1985, Pope John Paul II named him an archbishop and nuncio to eight Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas.

Five years later, he was named nuncio to El Salvador and Honduras, although he served in the double post only for one year before a new nuncio was named to Honduras.

Blessed John Paul next sent him to South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho in 1998 as nuncio, a position he held for two years before being named nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

Archbishop Monteiro de Castro was named to the Congregation for Bishops in 2009. The apostolic penitentiary also coordinates the work of the confessors in the major basilicas of Rome.

Santos Abril Castello

Santos Abril Castello

Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Spain

Santos Abril y Castelló will be the tenth Spanish cardinal, the fifth Spanish cardinal elector and the fourth elector chosen by Pope Benedict XVI. At the beginning of last year, on January 20, he became Vice Camerlengo (Vice Chamberlain) of Holy Roman Church, with the delicate and important task of assisting the Chamberlain, now Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, to govern the Holy See after a Pope’s death. On November 22, he succeeded American Cardinal Bernard Francis Law at the post of archpriest of Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome.

Santos Abril was born on September 21, 1935 in Alfambra, in the Spanish region of Aragón. He was ordained a priest on March 19, 1960 for the diocese of Teruel y Albarracín. He continued his academic formation in Rome studying social studies and canon law.

The cardinal then entered the service of the Holy See. He joined the Vatican diplomatic service in 1967, working at the apostolic nunciatures in Pakistan and Turkey. Then he came back to Rome to work at the Spanish section of the secretariat of state.

This work, requiring him to present Spanish groups at papal general audiences, gave him an opportunity to grow closer to Pope John Paul II. The Polish Pope once asked him after a general audience how many faithful speak Spanish; Filoni told him it was spoken by about half the Catholics in the world, and that the Pope had to learn the language. From that moment young Monsignore Abril became Spanish teacher to John Paul II, preparing him for his first international trip to Mexico in 1979 so perfectly that the new Pope was able to speak in the language spontaneously as well as read the texts of the speeches. He accompanied the Polish Pope on that trip and many others to Hispanic countries. Today, the cardinal remembers that his unique pupil was an “excellent student.”

On April 29, 1985, Santos Abril was named titular archbishop of Tamada and apostolic nuncio to Bolivia. He was ordained bishop on June 16, 1985.

In 1996 he was moved to Yugoslavia. Four years later he came back to the Latin American continent to represent the Holy See in Argentina. In 2003 he was sent to the Balkans, first to Slovenia, then to Bosnia and Herzegovina, then to Macedonia. Today he is considered a specialist on the situation in the Balkans.

In 2011 he went into retirement but stayed in Rome to continue his service to the Holy See at St. Mary Major.

Cardinal Abril, as a typical Aragón native, is determined to the point of being stubborn, but at the same time he has a warm and open heart. His native land is very proud of him.


Antonio Maria Vegliò

Antonio Maria Vegliò

President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Italy

“Official communiqués can say everything or say nothing. This time, the official communiqué says everything: the nothing expressed in it is the truth.” Antonio Maria Vegliò was the one who cracked this joke. It was 2007, and he was secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. The background was a meeting between the Holy See and Israel to discuss the 1993 “Fundamental Agreement” between the two parties, which still has not been completely settled after 18 years. Since the situation seems to be deadlocked, Vegliò made this comment. The joke reveals, in some ways, whoAntonio Maria Vegliò is.

Born 73 years ago in Macerata Feltria (Italy), his career has been in the Vatican diplomatic service. Among his most important posts: apostolic nuncio in Senegal and in Lebanon. He is one of the Vatican’s leading experts on the Middle East. Two years ago, Benedict XVI moved him from his role as secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, to replace Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino at the head of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. The choice of Benedict XVI marked the end of the era in which the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace had the same president.

Now that Vegliò is receiving the red hat, the transition process is complete, and the two Pontifical Councils have presidents of equal dignity.

A pleasant person, Vegliò is a long-standing friend of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and of many cardinals in the Roma Curia. He leads his Pontifical Council with passion. “The migratory phenomenon,” he recently said, “ causes a mixture of cultures and races, and this is an opportunity for evangelization. We must understand this so we Christians are able to accept this opportunity and truly evangelize.”


Giuseppe Bertello

Giuseppe Bertello

President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President of the Governatorate of the same State, Italy

For many Italian journalists, Monsignor Bertello was for years “the face” of the Holy See in Italy.

Giuseppe Bertello arrived in September at the governatorate, after 40 years of diplomatic service, directly from the post of nuncio to the Italian Republic. Bertello has been head of mission in different parts of the world for 24 years, working in very different environments, continents and cultures, dealing with different issues and acquiring much experience, both in bilateral and multilateral relations specific to international organizations. He put his expertise at the service of peace and used his culture and innate sense of hospitality as a means to promote delicate mediations. His pastoral sensitivity has helped him spread the Gospel and increase the sense of connection of the particular Churches with the Apostolic See.

Particularly important was his presence in Latin America and Africa (in Benin), where he recently accompanied Benedict XVI during his apostolic visit to that country.

A native of Foglizzo, in the province of Turin, born in 1942, he was ordained a priest on June 29, 1966. in 1967 he was admitted as a student to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. His diplomatic career began in Sudan and continued in Turkey, Venezuela and Switzerland, where he served on the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

In 1987 he was head of the Delegation of Observers at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement in Pyongyang. On October 17, 1987, Pope John Paul II appointed him apostolic nuncio to Ghana, Togo and Benin and created him an archbishop. He was consecrated by Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the great diplomat of the pontificate of John Paul II.

In 1991, John Paul II appointed him nuncio in Rwanda. It was at the terrible moment of the civil war between the ethnic Hutus and Tutsis, which resulted in genocide. Bertello labored tirelessly, and vainly, for peace.

In 1995, Bertello returned to Geneva as a permanent observer at the Office of the United Nations.

In 2002, as nuncio to Mexico, he received John Paul II when the Pope made his fifth visit to the Latin American country and canonized Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the visionary of Guadalupe.

In January 2007 Benedict XVI appointed him nuncio to Italy and San Marino, and on September 3, 2011, he choose him as president of the Governorate and the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City.

Francesco Coccopalmerio

Francesco Coccopalmerio

President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Italy

The bells of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Sermio, a small town in Northern Italy, rang for about half an hour on January 6 to celebrate the choice of Francesco Coccopalmerio, 74, one of the sons of that land, to be a cardinal. His life has been dedicated to the study of canon law and to prayer. Luigi Battista, delegate of the Italian Union of Catholic Jurists — Coccopalmerio is the spiritual assistant of the association — says that the new cardinal “is a very spiritual, almost ascetical person. I have seen him praying for more than an hour on his knees in the front of the Eucharist.”

Born in San Giuliano Milanese, where his family was displaced during World War II, he passed a great part of his infancy in Sermio, his mother’s town. Ordained a priest in 1962, he took a doctorate in canon law at Gregorian University in 1968, and a degree in law at the University of Milan.

In 1986, Coccopalmerio was named general pro-vicar for juridical affairs for the archdiocese of Milan, and in 1993, auxiliary bishop. When Cardinal Martini, then archbishop of Milan, announced the appointment of Coccopalmerio, he underlined “the meaning of the presence, among the Italian episcopate, of an expert of juridical, ecclesiological and ecumenical issues.”

Since 2000, Coccopalmerio has been a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. In 2007, he was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, replacing Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado, who had passed the retirement age of 75.

About the duties and the aims of his office, Coccopalmerio said: “We could say that the Pontifical Council in recent years has been consolidated with the elaboration and implementation of the new Code of Canon Law. The Pontifical Council assists the Holy Father in his duty to maintain unity and consistency with regard to canon law.”


Joao Braz de Aviz

Joao Braz de Aviz

Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Brazil

“There are not big servants or small servants of God; being cardinal is just part of my being a priest. So, I am here, at the service of the Church.” These are the first words João Bráz de Aviz uttered after the Angelus on the 6th of January, when the Pope announced the consistory during which he will receive a red hat.

This former archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil, was named in 2010 prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome.

A member of the Focolare Movement and a soccer player in his youth (according to his former teammates, he was a good left back), Bràz lives with his body nearly destroyed by 130 bullets which struck him in a gun battle he had nothing to do with, but found himself by chance in the middle.

As archbishop of Brasilia, João Bráz de Aviz has given great space to ecclesial movements. “If members of the bigger movements wish to humiliate and annihilate the smaller ones in order to grow even further, this is not from God,” he once said.

Bishop since 1994, Bràz was auxiliary in Vitoria and Ponta Grosa, and then bishop of Maringa, before being named to the Brasilia archdiocese in 2004.

In his post in the Curia, he oversees all the religious orders in the Church. The first dossier he inherited in his new post dealt with women’s orders in the United States.

“There was a lot of distrust at the outset,” he said. “We began listening to them. We are not saying problems never existed. But there is a different way to face them.”

Words that, now that the inspection is over, suggest that there seems to be a willingness on the part of the Congregation to create ties with the nuns and to help them improve in a constructive manner without appearing to be an external censor whose sole purpose is to correct errors.

Edwin F. O’Brien

Edwin F. O’Brien

Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, USA

One of two Americans to be elevated to the rank of cardinal by the Pope is the former archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin O’Brien, but he was born and raised in the Bronx, a borough of New York City (the other American cardianl is Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York). O’Brien is current head of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, following the late Cardinal John Foley of Phildelphia.

O’Brien, 72, spent many years as the head of the Military Ordinariate in the US, making him the “chief chaplain” for the US armed forces. He exercises regularly on a treadmill, and, according to friends, is so devoted to the idea of doing what he asks others to do that he learned how to parachute before serving as a military chaplain in Vietnam half a century ago. The newly-named cardinal made 15 jumps before reaching Vietnam, all because he wanted to be closer to the kinds of soldiers he met while working at West Point, according to published reports.

“I was marrying them in June and burying them a year later because they’d be shipped to Vietnam,” he told the New York Times in a recent telephone interview from Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI’s selection of Archbishop O’Brien among the 22 prelates he elevated to cardinal was not unexpected since it typically goes with the title he has held for the past six months: pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. This is a largely lay order, dating to the Crusades in the 11th century, of 30,000 members, half of them in North America, and his ornate title essentially means he is the Pope’s representative to Catholics in the Holy Land — a diplomatically sensitive job. He is also chief fundraiser for the preservation of that region’s sacred sites.

O’Brien began his priestly service in 1965 in the parish of Our Lady of Solace in the northeast Bronx, then became a military chaplain in Vietnam, where he traveled by helicopter into jungle outposts to minister to troops, then did doctoral studies in moral theology in Rome, and returned to New York to work as secretary or communications director for Cardinals Terence Cooke and John O’Connor. He was also rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers for some time.

In 1997, he was named archbishop for the US military services, making him the spiritual shepherd for 1.4 million Catholics.

In 2007, he was installed as archbishop of Baltimore, an archdiocese he has continued to administer until a successor is named and one he said it will be sad to leave.

“You get attached,” he said. “They say it’s like a marriage. I expected to be there until I retired or went to God.”

Archbishop O’Brien was born April 8, 1939, in an Irish Catholic family that lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx area of New York City. His father died when he was 14.

In Baltimore, O’Brien made it clear that he is a firm supporter of Church doctrine, calling abortion the “greatest civil rights issue of our time” and opposing same-sex marriage.

According to Sean Caine, the archdiocesan communications director in Baltimore, O’Brien took over a parochial school system with 10,000 empty seats and closed 13 schools, leaving the archdiocese with 70.

He removed at least two priests who were accused of molesting children. He has not abandoned his Bronx roots. He has shown up at Our Lady of Solace almost yearly to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. According to the church’s pastor, Robert Badillo, he tells the seventh graders, “You’re not standing up for something but for someone and that someone is Christ.”


Domenico Calcagno

Domenico Calcagno

President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, Italy

The atmosphere of the small town near Alessandria in Piedmont where Domenico Calcagno went to elementary school has remained in his heart, and to this day his greatest passion is taking care of farm land on the outskirts of Rome. Whenever he can, Calcagno jumps on the tractor and takes care of the olive trees on the estate of St. Joseph owned by APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. The olive oil is sold in the canteen for employees inside the Vatican, and is good quality.

Born in 1943, he went to the minor seminary in Genoa, graduated from the Gregorian University with a study on original sin in Erasmus of Rotterdam, in relation to the Council of Trent. A part of the thesis was published under the title: “Fallen and Redeemed Man in Erasmus of Rotterdam.”

He began his priestly career in 1968 as an assistant in a parish in Uscio near Genoa. At the same time he taught Psalms, Wisdom Literature and Hebrew at the major seminary of Genoa. The following year he became rector of the Oratory of St. Erasmus of Genoa Quinto. He taught moral philosophy, natural theology, introduction to theology and fundamental moral theology. For many years he was secretary of the priests’ council of the diocese of Genoa.

After the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law he was part of the working group that studied the adaptation of diocesan structures to the needs of the new code. In 1985 he organized the visit of John Paul II to Genoa. This success earned him the title of Monsignor.

Differnent assignments in the diocese followed each other, especially in the financial field, with both Cardinal Giuseppe Siri and Giovanni Canestri.

Transferred to Rome, from 1989 to 1996 he was director of the national office for missionary cooperation between the Churches. From the end of 1998 to March 2002, he served as treasurer of the Italian bishops’ conference and as chairman of the board of auditors of the Institute for the Sustenance of the Clergy.

He became president of the board of auditors of the Italian charity “Caritas” and a member of the boards of the Vatican Publishing House and of the Council for Economic Affairs of the Italian bishops’ conference. In 2002 the Pope appointed him bishop of the diocese of Savona-Noli, a position held until 2007. Then he returned to Rome as secretary of APSA, of which he became president last July.


Giuseppe Versaldi

Giuseppe Versaldi

President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Italy

Ordained in 1967, Giuseppe Versaldi was born in Villarboit, a small town near Vercelli in Piedmont. After working first as a parish priest, he came to Rome for the first time in 1972 to study psychology and canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In 1976 he returned to his diocese to establish the Diocesan Family Counseling Center, where he became director. He was subsequently appointed president of the Piedmont Regional Association of family counseling centers of Christian inspiration.

He was back at the Gregorian in 1980 as a professor of canon law and psychology, and the year after that he became a lawyer with the Roman Rota and became a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.

In 1994, Versaldi met the then-Archbishop of Vercelli Tarcisio Bertone, who appointed him vicar general of the archdiocese. In the diocese, he worked with legal and economic questions.

He has written several articles on marriage.

On April 4, 2007 he was appointed bishop of Alexandria.

Last September, the Pope appointed him president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

It seems clear that the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Bertone, desired to have one of his own men oversee the financial accounts of the Holy See.


George Alencherry

George Alencherry

Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly for Syro-Malabars, India

Archbishop Major George Al­en­cherry of the Syro-Malabar Church is the eleventh Indian and the fourth Syro-Malabar cardinal, after Joseph Parekkattil in 1969, Antony Padiyara in 1988, and Varkey Vithayathil in 2001. He is the first elected head of the Syro-Malabar Church. Before his election as the major archbishop, he was the bishop of Thuckalay in Tamil Nadu.

Cardinal Alencherry was born on April 19, 1945, in Thuruthy in the Archeparchy of Changanacherry, in India, in a Syro-Malabar Catholic family as the sixth of 10 children.

He was ordained a priest on November 19th, 1972. Then he became secretary to the archbishop of Changanacherry, vice-parish priest of the cathedral and director of the “Sunday Schools” of the Archeparchy. He studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Seminary of St. Joseph in Alwaye, Kerala, and earned a doctorate from Paris, where he specialized in catechesis.

On his return from Paris he was nominated the director of the Catechetical Center of the Archeparchy of Changanacherry and then directed the Pastoral Orientation Centre, Cochin, the interritual center of the bishops’ conference of Kerala.

On November 11, 1996, Mar Alencherry became the first bishop of the newly-established diocese of Thuckalay. He was consecrated a bishop on February 2, 1997. On May 24, he was canonically elected archbishop major of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabrese, being the first elected head of the Church and succeeding Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, who died on April 1. His elections was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI four days later on May 25.

Currently, there are two cardinals from India, one being Ranchi Archbishop Telespor Toppo and Mumbai’s Archbishop Oswald Gracias.

The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the 22 sui iuris Eastern Churches in full communion with Rome and dates back to St. Thomas the Apostole. Today there are 4 million Syro-Malabar Catholics mostly in India, but also in the United States (Chicago), Europe and the Gulf countries.


Thomas C. Collins

Thomas C. Collins

Archbishop of Toronto, Canada

Archbishop Thom­as Christopher Col­lins was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, in the heart of Canada, where his father was the circulation manager of the Guelph Mercury and his mother was a legal secretary. He is the youngest of three siblings and the only son. His childhood home was situated behind the Church of Our Lady, where he attended and served morning Mass.

Collins considered being a teacher or a lawyer but was profoundly inspired by his Grade 11 English teacher, Father Newstead, at Bishop Macdonnell Catholic High School, who, knowing him, suggested that he should consider the priesthood. In 1969 he obtained a bachelor of arts (English) from St. Jerome College in Waterloo. In 1973 he obtained two degrees, an M.A. (English) from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor of theology from St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario. That same year he was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1973 in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, by Most Reverend Paul Reding.

While studying in Rome, specializing in Sacred Scripture and the Book of Revelation, he received his licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1978 and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in 1986.

After holding various academic appointments, in 1997 he was appointed bishop of Saint Paul, Alberta.

Two years later, he was named the Archbishop of Edmonton. In 2007 he became the archbishop of Toronto.

His episcopal motto is Deum Adora (“Worship God”), taken from the Book of Revelation 22:9.

When St. John seeks to worship the angel who has shown him the great visions of the book, the angel rebukes him, saying: “Worship God.” It is God who claims our adoration and loyalty, in worship and in action, Collins stresses.

St. Thomas More expressed this when in his last words before martyrdom he said: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Our priorities in life must be clear and determined by our adoration of the Lord, Collins maintains.


Dominik Duka

Dominik Duka

Archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic

For the past two years, since February 2010, a Dominican who spent years as a factory worker has held the ancient see of St. Adalbert in Prague, held before him by Cardinals Beran, Tomasek and Vlk (his immediate predecessor). Dominik Jaroslav Duka will now become a cardinal in their footsteps. The Pope decided that he should become a cardinal now, though Cardinal Vlk will not turn 80 until May 17 (usually the Church does not have two cardinals under age 80 in the same city). This is a clear sign of the importance the Czech Church has for the Pope.

Duka was born on April 26, 1943, in Hradec Králové in eastern Bohemia. After his secondary school studies he entered the military service and then worked in a factory. But he still sensed his priestly calling.

In 1965 he began his theological studies at the seminary of Litomierice, and then decided to become a Dominican, entering the order on January 6, 1969. As a Dominican friar, he changed his name from Jaroslav to Dominik. On June 22, 1970 he was ordained a priest. In 1975, the Communist authorities deprived him of authorization to carry out his priestly work, and he was compelled to work for 15 years in the Skoda auto factory in Plze as a car designer until the fall of Communism in 1989.

During these years, he taught theology secretly to Dominican novices, and for this activity in 1981 he was arrested and served one and a half years in prison.

On June 6, 1998, he was appointed bishop of Hradec Králové and on September 26, 1998, he received episcopal ordination.

On February 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Prague. On his appointment, Duka said: “The Church must engage in a dialogue with society and must seek reconciliation with it. Twenty years ago, we were euphoric about freedom; today we live in an economic and financial crisis, and also to a certain extent in a crisis of values. So the tasks are going to be a little more difficult. But thanks to everything that’s been done, it will not be a journey into the unknown.”


Willem J. Eijk

Willem J. Eijk

Archbishop of Utrecht, Holland

The newly appointed Cardinal Wil­lem Jacobus Eijk is the current archbishop of Utrecht, Holland.

He was born on June 22, 1953, in Duivendrecht, the Netherlands.

After graduating in medicine in 1978 from the University of Amsterdam, he studied to become a priest at the major seminary of Rolduc in Kerkrade (diocese of Roermond).

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985 and was incardinated in the diocese of Roermond. Then he went to work as a curate in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Venlo-


In 1987, he completed a PhD degree in medicine, with a dissertation about euthanasia, subsequently earning another PhD degree in philosophy from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome in 1990, with a thesis on genetic engineering. That same year, he also gained a license of theology at the John Paul II Institute in Rome.

From 1990 to 1999 he was professor of ethics and moral theology at the major seminary of Rolduc, and from 1991-1997 he was prefect of studies at the same institute. From 1997 to 1999, he was professor of moral theology at the Faculty of Theology in Lugano, Switzerland. From 1997 to 2002 he was a member of the International Theological Commission.

When on July 17, 1999, he was appointed bishop of Groningen-Leeuwarden, he chose the motto Noli recusare laborem (“Do not refuse labor”). He was ordained a bishop on November 6, 1999. Since then, he is referent for medical-ethical questions on behalf of the Dutch bishops’ conference. After a difficult start, the apostolate of Bishop Eijk was marked by signs of growth in all parts of his diocese. For example, the Groningen cathedral changed from a church which was closed on weekdays, into a lively and open church community. The number of ordinations to the diaconate and the priesthood has risen in recent years.

He has been criticized in Holland because his Catholic faith has been seen as “extreme” by many of the Dutch people, especially his views on abortion and homosexuality, but he has done nothing other than restate official Roman Catholic teachings.

On December 11, 2007, he was appointed metropolitan archbishop of Utrecht and installed in its cathedral on January 26, 2008 as the 70th successor of Saint Willibrord (658-739) in the See of Utrecht.

In May 2008 Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Eijk as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy in addition to his duties as archbishop of Utrecht. In 2009 he also became a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture. In 2011 he was elected president of the Dutch bishops’ conference.

Giuseppe Betori

Giuseppe Betori

Arcbishop of Florence, Italy

A few months ago he found himself threatened with a gun in the entrance hall of the curia of Florence, after his secretary was wounded by a shot fired from the same weapon. Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence and now also cardinal, is a familiar face to Italians. His “career” took place entirely in the leadership of the Italian bishops’ conference until he arrived in Florence in 2008. Betori is from Foligno in Umbria, and will turn 65 years old on February 25. He replaced Cardinal Ennio Antonelli in Florence who was called to lead the Pontifical Council for the Family. Betori has himself said that he went to Florence the first time when he was 19 as a “Mud Angel” to help after the devastating flood of 1966.

He was ordained in 1970 and oversaw the publication of the different volumes of the catechism of the Italian bishops’ conference. He organized the Ecclesial Convention




Timothy M. Dolan

Timothy M. Dolan

Archbishop of New York, USA

Timothy Michael Dolan, the current head of the US bishops’ conference, is arguably the leading official Catholic voice in the United States today. He was named archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on February 23, 2009, and now, on being made a cardinal, his voice will only have greater authority.

He had previously served as archbishop of Milwaukee (since 2002).

Born February 6, 1950, Dolan was the first of five children born to Shirley Radcliffe Dolan and the late Robert Dolan.

In 1964, he began his high school seminary education at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South in Shrewsbury, Missouri. His seminary foundation continued at Cardinal Glennon College, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. He then completed his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he earned a licentiate in sacred theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas.

Dolan was ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1976. He then served as associate pastor at Immaculata Parish in Richmond Heights, Missouri, until 1979 when he began studies for a doctorate in American Church history at the Catholic University of America. Before completing the doctorate, he spent a year researching the late Archbishop Edwin O’Hara, a founder of the Catholic Biblical Association. Archbishop O’Hara’s life and ministry were the subject of Dolan’s doctoral dissertation.

In 1987, Archbishop Dolan was appointed to a five-year term as secretary to the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C. When he returned to St. Louis in 1992, he was appointed vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

In 1994, he was appointed rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he served until June 2001. While in Rome, he also served as a visiting professor of Church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

On June 19, 2001 – the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood – then Father Dolan was named the auxiliary bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II. The new Bishop Dolan chose for his episcopal motto the profession of faith of St. Peter: Ad Quem Ibimus (“Lord, to whom shall we go?”), from John 6:68.

Dolan served as chairman of Catholic Relief Services from January 2009 – November 2010. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. On November 16, 2010, Dolan was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In this post he succeeds Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.


Rainer Maria Woelki

Rainer Maria Woelki

Archbishop of Berlin, Germany

He will become the youngest cardinal of the Sacred College, but the events of recent weeks may already have aged Rainer Maria Woelki beyond his 55 years. Since his appointment as archbishop of Berlin last year, the former auxiliary of Cologne has been under intense attack.

Berlin’s homosexual community and liberal media reacted with dismay to his appointment, saying the Cologne-based prelate was “backwards-minded” and the wrong man for such a prominent post in the free-wheeling German capital. At a press conference to clarify his positions and intentions, he said he was “simply a Catholic” and denied being a member of Opus Dei, though he did his doctorate at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, which is run by Opus Dei. (That part of his biography led to media reports that he was a “reactionary.”)

“The Church is not a moral institution that goes around pointing its finger at people,” Woelki said. “The Church is for me a community of seekers and believers and the Church would like to help people find happiness in life.”

Archbishop Woelki was born in Cologne in 1956 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. In 2003 he was ordained to be one of

the auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese of Cologne alongside Cardinal Meisner. In his time in Cologne he served as private secretary to the cardinal and director of the Collegium Albertinum for seminarians.


John Tong Hon

John Tong Hon

Bishop of Hong Kong, China

John Tong Hon, the seventh Chinese cardinal, was born to non-Catholic parents in Hong Kong on July 31, 1939, the first of three children. Two years later the Japanese invaded Hong Kong and the family moved first to Macau, and afterwards they sent him to his grandparents in Guangzhou province, mainland China.

After the war ended, on August 15, 1945, he began primary school in Canton. But then his father got tuberculosis and his mother became a teacher to support the family.

Not long afterwards, she was baptized, and soon the whole family became Catholic.

At that time, the Communists and Nationalists were fighting for control of China and the young Tong witnessed how foreign missionaries helped many victims of that fierce conflict. One of these missionaries helped him enter a Catholic primary school, and there his priestly vocation gradually developed.

After the Communists came to power in China, the priests encouraged him to go to Macau to pursue his vocation, and in 1951 he entered the local seminary. His father died the following year.

In 1957, he began studying philosophy and then theology at Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong, and in 1964 went to Rome to continue theology studies and earn a doctorate at the Pontifical Urban University. He was ordained by Paul VI in January 1966.

Since 1970, he has taught at Hong Kong’s seminary. In the 1970s too, he studied Chinese philosophy at the Chinese University, Hong Kong. From 1980 to the present day he has headed the Holy Spirit Study Centre, the main Catholic research center on China and the Church in China.

On January 30, 2008, he was appointed bishop of Hong Kong, following Cardinal Zen’s resignation for reasons of age.

Over the Age of 80 and thus Non-Electors:


Lucian Muresan

Lucian Muresan

Major Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Iulia for Romanians, Romania

Major Archbishop Lucian Mur­­esan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia (Romania) is the second archbishop of the Eastern rite Catholic Churches elevated by the Pope to the cardinalate in this consistory. Born on May 23, 1931, in the village of Ferneziu in the territory of the Eparchy of Maramurefl in Romania, the 10th of 12 children of Peter and Maria, he is already over 80 years old. Lucian Muresan is a major archbishop of the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic, and the third Romanian to become a cardinal.

He entered elementary school in his home town and then continued at George Sincai High School in Baia Mare. Before entering seminary, he attended vocational school.

Ordained on December 19, 1964 as one of five clandestine Greek Catholic seminarians, Father Mursan began his pastoral service in the underground at the diocese of Maramures as at that time confessing and practicing the faith in Romania was forbidden by the Communist regime.

On March 14, 1990 he was appointed bishop of Maramurs and consecrated the following May 27. Four year later on July 4, he was elevated to archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Iulia, succeeding Cardinal Alexandru Todea. The archdiocese on December 16, 2005, was elevated to the rank of Major Archbishop Church, and Archbishop Muresan received the title of major archbishop.

Between 1998 and 2001 and again in 2004, Mursan was president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Romania, which brings together the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of both rites, Latin (Roman Catholic) and Eastern (Greek Catholic).

On May 26, 2003, he was named by Pope John Paul II a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Now there are five living Eastern Catholic hierarchs who are part of the Sacred College of Cardinals: His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop Emeritus of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church; His Beatitude Cardinal Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church; His Beatitude Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, Patriarch Emeritus of the Syrian Catholic Church and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches; His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch Emeritus of the Maronite Catholic Church; and His Beatitude Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.


Msgr. Julien Ries

Msgr. Julien Ries

Expert on history of religions, Belgium

Father Julian Ries is one of four cardinals not electors (because over age 80) chosen by Pope Benedict XVI in this consistory. He was chosen because of his profound scholarly contributions to the study of religion and the history of religion over his lifetime. Almost 92, he is emeritus professor of the history of religion at Louvain in Belgium.

He was born April 19, 1920 in Arlon, Belgium, and ordained a priest on December 8, 1945, for the diocese of Namur. He then dedicated his life to the history of religion at his Belgian alma mater, the Université Cath­olique di Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL).

After graduating with a doctorate in philosophy and receiving a licentiate in philology and Oriental history, Ries taught at the university from 1960 to 1968.

After the university split in 1968, he taught at the French-speaking Université catholique de Louvain, founding the Centre d’Histoire des Religions at that university, of which he is chairman. During that period, he was also a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue from 1979 to 1985.

In 1986, Ries was awarded the Dumas Millier prize of the Académie Française for his work.

In 1987, he was also awarded the Furtado Prize.

In 1990, Ries retired from active work.

In 2009, Ries donated his library, all his manuscripts, notes and documents relating to courses, and the correspondence he had with religious historians across the globe, to the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan.

On October 27, 2010, the Catholic University of Milan rewarded Ries’ work with an honorary doctorate in philosophy and bioethics, because of “the intricate value of his study” and his “tireless scientific and cultural activity.”

As a distinguished expert of history of religion, Fr. Ries was a member of the editorial staff of the Dictionnaire des Religions published in Paris in 1984, and he guided a monumental work on the “anthropology of the sacred” which involved experts from around the world. In 2009 the series reached its 10th volume.

He has published 114 books.

Fr. Prosper Grech

Fr. Prosper Grech

Biblical scholar, Malta

The island of Malta is rejoicing as one of their “own” is becoming a cardinal. Among the four “outstanding Churchmen” over age 80 elevated by Pope Benedict to the dignity of cardinal is 86-year-old Maltese Augustinian Father Prosper Grech, a well-known and highly respected Scripture scholar whom then-Cardinal Prefect Joseph Ratz­inger collaborated with at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (from 1984 on he was one of the CDF’s consultors).

Fr. Grech is the first Augustinian to become a cardinal since the nomination of Sebastiano Cardinal Martinelli in 1901, while he was serving as apostolic delegate in the United States of America.

His baptismal name is Stanley. He first wanted to be a doctor, beginning studies in medicine at the University of Malta in 1842, but he abandoned that plan during the first year. In the meantime, he served in the University Home Guard, and as an anti-aircraft gunner during World War II. He chose the name Prosper when he entered the Augustinian Order in 1943 in Malta. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 25, 1950, at the Lateran Basilica in Rome.

He did his philosophy studies at the Priorato San Marco of Rabat in Malta, and then moved to Rome to continue studies at the International College of St. Monica, completing theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He obtained his Ph.D. there in theology in 1953 with a thesis “The Atonement and God in Modern English Theology” and a year later his licentiate summa cum laude in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome, taking an extra year in preparation for the doctorate. In the same year he made an archeological visit to the Holy Land. He attended a summer course on educational psychology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 1951.

In 1957 he obtained a British Council scholarship to Oxford where he read Hebrew with Prof. G. Driver. The following year he was invited to the University of Cambridge as a research assistant to Professor A.J. Arberry to help him in his studies on Maltese literature. There he continued his Hebrew studies under Prof. Winton-Thomas.

Fr. Grech spent his life studying and teaching about the Word of God: hermeneutics and biblical theology. He passed his time between his native Malta and Rome (especially the Biblicum, but also the Lateran and Gregorian Universities) and also Cambridge in England. He has been a long-time resident at the International College of St. Monica in Rome. Together with Fr. Agostino Trapè he co-founded and then became the first president of the Patristic Institute at the Augustinianum. He was a member of the commission for the preparation of the document Sapientia christiana, the magna carta of all pontifical universities, and of the Societas Novi Testamenti.

In 1998 he was nominated apostolic visitor for seminaries in India.

In 2003 he was nominated member of the Pontifical Theological Academy and in 2004 member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He was a member of ecumenical commissions for talks with the Orthodox in Sofia in 2002-2003.

Fr. Prosper is the author of many books. He speaks six modern languages: Maltese, English, Italian, French, German and Dutch, and three ancient: Latin, Greek and Hebrew. His other interests include art history and classical music. His great passion is photography.


Jesuit Fr. Karl Josef Becker

Retired professor of dogmatic theology, Germany

Karl Josef Becker (born April 18, 1928 in Cologne, now age 83) is the fourth cardinal named by Pope Benedict who is above age 80 and so will not have the right to vote in a papal conclave. Becker is a German Catholic theologian and has been a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since September 15, 1977. He has also taught at Rome’s Gregorian University.

Becker was chosen because he enjoys the respect and trust of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the former prefect of the doctrinal congregation.

More than one theologian in trouble has been advised to “go see Fr. Becker.”

It is widely believed, for example, that Becker was involved in the Vatican’s investigation of fellow Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis and his work on religious pluralism.

Becker has written important essays about the various interpretations of the Latin word “subsitit” used in Lumen Gentium, and has favored an originalist approach to the expression, arguing that its author, Sebastian Tromp, was clearly referring to the Catholic Church as the subsisting Church of Christ.

In 2009, it was announced that Becker would participate in the doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See.

On January 6, 2012, Pope Benedict announced his intention to create Fr. Becker a cardinal of the Roman Church in the course of a consistory on February18 and 19, 2012.

Becker’s theological work is notable for the importance that history has in his theological expositions and for his setting of the Catholic faith as the point of departure for the theological task.

Becker has not created a school and his students situate themselves within different theological climates, orientations and styles. Benedict XVI evidently values highly Fr. Becker’s balanced scholarship, his generous assistance to the Church, and his courage in defending unpopular positions.

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