Holy Father, Pope Francis
The first Pope of the Americas, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, hails from Argentina. The 81–year–old Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a prominent figure throughout the continent, yet remains a simple pastor who is deeply loved by his diocese, throughout which he has travelled extensively on the underground and by bus during the 15 years of his episcopal ministry.
“My people are poor and I am one of them,” he has said more than once, explaining his decision to live in an apartment and cook his own supper. He has always advised his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. The worst thing that could happen to the Church, he has said on various occasions, “is what de Lubac called spiritual worldliness,” which means, “being self–centered.” And when he speaks of social justice, he calls people first of all to pick up the catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. His project is simple: if you follow Christ, you understand that “trampling upon a person’s dignity is a serious sin.”
Despite his reserved character–his official biography consists of only a few lines, at least until his appointment as Archbishop of Buenos Aires–he became a reference point because of the strong stances he took during the dramatic financial crisis that overwhelmed the country in 2001.
He was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father Mario was an accountant employed by the railways and his mother Regina Sivori was a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children. He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On March 11, 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965, he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967 to 1970, he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.
On December 13, 1969, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He continued his training between 1970 and 1971 at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and on April 22, 1973, made his final profession with the Jesuits. Back in Argentina, he was novice master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel; professor at the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus and also Rector of the Colegio Máximo of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology.
On July 31, 1973, he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, an office he held for six years. He then resumed his work in the university sector and from 1980 to 1986 served once again as Rector of the Colegio de San José, as well as parish priest, again in San Miguel. In March 1986, he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis; his superiors then sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba as spiritual director and confessor.
It was Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who wanted him as a close collaborator. So, on May 20, 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular bishop of Auca and auxiliary of Buenos Aires. On May 27, he received episcopal ordination from the Cardinal in the cathedral. He chose as his episcopal motto, miserando atque eligendo, and on his coat of arms inserted the ihs, the symbol of the Society of Jesus.
He gave his first interview as a bishop to a parish newsletter, Estrellita de Belém. He was immediately appointed episcopal Vicar of the Flores district and on December 21, 1993, was also entrusted with the office of Vicar General of the Archdiocese. Thus it came as no surprise when, on June 3, 1997, he was raised to the dignity of Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Not even nine months had passed when, upon the death of Cardinal Quarracino, he succeeded him on February 28, 1998, as Archbishop, Primate of Argentina and Ordinary for Eastern–rite faithful in Argentina who have no Ordinary of their own rite.
Three years later at the Consistory of February 21, 2001, John Paul II created him Cardinal, assigning him the title of San Roberto Bellarmino. He asked the faithful not to come to Rome to celebrate his creation as Cardinal but rather to donate to the poor what they would have spent on the journey. As Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Argentina, he is the author of the books: “Meditaciones Para Religiosos” (1982), “Reflexiones Sobre la Vida Apostólica” (1992) and “Reflexiones de Esperanza” (1992).
In October 2001, he was appointed General Relator to the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Episcopal Ministry. This task was entrusted to him at the last minute to replace Cardinal Edward Michael Egan, Archbishop of New York, who was obliged to stay in his homeland because of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. At the Synod he placed particular emphasis on “the prophetic mission of the bishop,” his being a “prophet of justice,” his duty to “preach ceaselessly” the social doctrine of the Church and also “to express an authentic judgement in matters of faith and morals.”
All the while Cardinal Bergoglio was becoming ever more popular in Latin America. Despite this, he never relaxed his sober approach or his strict lifestyle, which some have defined as almost “ascetic.” In this spirit of poverty, he declined to be appointed as President of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference in 2002, but three years later he was elected and then, in 2008, reconfirmed for a further three–year mandate. Meanwhile in April 2005 he took part in the Conclave in which Pope Benedict XVI was elected.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires–a diocese with more than three million inhabitants–he conceived of a missionary project based on communion and evangelization. He had four main goals: open and brotherly communities, an informed laity playing a lead role, evangelization efforts addressed to every inhabitant of the city, and assistance to the poor and the sick. He aimed to reevangelize Buenos Aires, “taking into account those who live there, its structure and its history.” He asked priests and lay people to work together. In September 2009, he launched the solidarity campaign for the bicentenary of the Independence of the country. Two hundred charitable agencies are to be set up by 2016. And on a continental scale, he expected much from the impact of the message of the Aparecida Conference in 2007, to the point of describing it as the ‘evangelii nuntiandi’ of Latin America.
Until the beginning of the recent sede vacante, he was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He was elected Supreme Pontiff on March 13, 2013.
His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, was born in Schiavon (Vicenza) on January 17, 1955. He was ordained a priest on April 27, 1980, and incardinated into the diocese of Vicenza. He holds a degree in canon law.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on the July 1, 1986, beginning work at the pontifical representations in Nigeria and Mexico and at the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. Cardinal Parolin was appointed Under–Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State on November 30, 2002.
On August 17, 2009, he was appointed as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela and, at the same time, elevated to the dignity of archbishop and assigned the titular see of Acquapendente. He received Episcopal ordination from Pope Benedict XVI on September 12 of the same year. On August 31, 2013, Pope Francis appointed him as Secretary of State, beginning his mandate on October 15.
Cardinal Parolin is the member of the group of cardinals established to advise Pope Francis in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, ‘Pastor Bonus.’
Cardinal Parolin was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of February 22, 2014, of the Title of Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela. Cardinal Parolin is a member of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith; for the Oriental Churches; for the Evangelization of Peoples; and congregation for Bishops, and Cardinal Commission for the Supervision of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).
His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi
Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi is an Italian prelate, a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves in the Roman Curia as president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
He attended the seminary of Milan and was ordained as a priest on June 28, 1966. He continued his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He spent summers in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey working as an archaeologist with such figures as Kathleen Kenyon and Roland de Vaux. He later served as a professor of exegesis of the Old Testament at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy in Milan. From 1989 to 2007, he was prefect of the Ambrosian Library.
In 2007, at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI, he composed the Good Friday meditations for the public procession of Stations of the Cross led by the Pope at the Colosseum. On September 3, 2007, Cardinal Ravasi was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and titular archbishop of Villamagna in Proconsulari. He was also named president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology. He received his Episcopal consecration as an archbishop on the following September 29 from Benedict XVI.
On November 20, 2010, he was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
His Excellency Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia was born in Boville Ernica (Frosinone, Italy) on April 21, 1945, and obtained the degree in theology and philosophy from the Lateran University and another one in pedagogy from the University of Urbino.
He was ordained as priest on March 15, 1970, and from 1981 to 2000 served as parish priest in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome; he was also the ecclesiastical assistant of the Community of Sant’Egidio and is the postulator of the cause of beatification of the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero.
On April 2, 2000, he was ordained as Bishop of Terni Narni Amelia in the Cathedral of St. John Lateran. Since 2002, he has been president of the International Catholic Biblical Federation and, from 2004 to 2009, he was also chairman of the Commission Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
He has played an important role in the dialogue between the Vatican and the Russian and Romanian Orthodox Church, and followed with particular care the situation in the Balkans. He was the first priest to receive the permission to enter Albania before the free elections in March 1991. He was a member of the Pontifical Delegation for the first Pastoral Visit in Albania and, as such, obtained the reopening of the seminary and the restitution of the Cathedral of Scutari. His action was particularly intense in matters concerning the Kosovo, where he succeeded in reaching the only agreement between Milosevic and Rugova for the standardization of the school–education system in the region and obtaining the release of Rugova during the war of 1999.
For his work in peace he received, in 1999, the UNESCO’s Gandhi Medal in 2003 the Mother Teresa Prize of Albanian Government.
He was also awarded the San Valentino d’oro, the Premio per il Dialogo Città di Orvieto, as well as the Grinzane Terra d’Otranto and “Ernest Hemingway Lignano Sabbiadoro” prizes and from Patriarch Alexis the award for the Third Century of Saint Daniel Prince of Moscow.
He has collaborated with the Department of Contemporary History at the Sapienza University of Rome and has published studies and articles on the social and religious history as well as on the history of poverty.
On June 26, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the dignity of archbishop and appointed him president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
On August 17, 2016, he was appointed President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
On October 4, 2017, he was appointed member of Congregation for evangelization of people and on January 11, 2018, member of Congregation for Causes of Saints.
Monsignor Tomasz Trafny
Monsignor Tomasz Trafny serves as head of the Science and Faith Department of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture as well as general secretary of the Science and Faith – STOQ Foundation. Monsignor Trafny completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. Ordained as a priest in 1996 for the Archdiocese of Lublin, he served as a parish assistant in Kazimierz Dolny (Archdiocese of Lublin), as a chaplain at the Hospice for Terminally Ill Patients and as a chaplain at the Medical University of Lublin. He continued his postgraduate studies in philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin and afterward at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
Since 2006, he has served as an official at the Pontifical Council for Culture, head of Science and Faith Department (Vatican City State) and executive director of STOQ Project. His focus is on matters related to the wide–ranging dialogue between science and religion, especially cultural analysis of scientific advancements, but his interests also include philosophy and theology of nature as well as environmental and climate change issues. He served as director of the STOQ Project Research Series and chairman of STOQ International and currently serves as the general secretary of the board of trustees of the Science and Faith – STOQ Foundation. With Dr. Robin Smith and Dr. Max Gomez, Monsignor Trafny co–authored “The Healing Cell: How the Greatest Revolution in Medicine is Changing Your Life,” which was released April 2, 2013, in the United States.
Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò
Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 27, 1962. He was ordained a priest in Milan by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini on June 13, 1987. He graduated summa cum laude from the Salesian Pontifical University in 1993. Monsignor Viganò completed his doctorate at the Salesian Pontifical University in 1997.
Monsignor Vigano was prefect of the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See between June 27, 2015 and March 21, 2018. He was previously director of the Vatican Television Center – CTV, from January 22, 2013 to December 21, 2015. Since September 29, 2016, he has been a member of the Congregation for the Clergy and of the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See.
From 2004 to 2013, Monsignor Vigano was president of the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo – FEdS and director of the Rivista del Cinematografo, as well as president of the National Commission for Evaluation Film – CNVF of the Italian Episcopal Conference. From 2006 to 2011, he was a member of the sub–commission for the recognition of the Cultural Interest – feature film section – of the General Directorate of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. Between 2008 and 2012, Monsignor Vigano was also director of the Experimental Cinematography Center, with delegations to the National Film Library and Publishing.
Monsignor Viganò is a professor of Communication Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, where he also served as dean of the Pastoral Institute Redemptor Hominis from 2006 to 2012. He was also director of the Lateranense Interdisciplinary Center (2006 to 2012) and of the Center Lateran High Studies – CLAS (2012 to 2013). Since 2013, he and Emilio Carelli have directed the master’s in digital journalism program at the Pontifical Lateran University.
Monsignor Vigano has been a lecturer and member of the scientific committee of the Writing School for Cinema and Television, LUISS Creative Business Center – LUISS Business School, of the LUISS Guido Carli University since 2014.
At the LUISS Guido Carli, from 2005 to 2015, he was a lecturer in cinema at the department of political sciences. He was also a member of the steering committee of the Massimo Baldini Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS).
From 2004 to 2012, he was also a lecturer and scientific director, with Francesco Casetti (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan), of the ANICEC advanced e–learning course for the Animators of Communication and Culture, organized by the Pontifical Lateran University, from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and the Communication and Culture Foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
He was a lecturer in charge of Film and Audiovisual Semiotics and Semiotics and Business Communication from 1998 to 2005 at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the LUMSA University of Rome.
He was professor in charge, from 1997 to 1999, of ethics and media deontology at the High School of Specialization in Communication at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
Since 2010, he has been a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. He is the author of numerous studies dedicated to the analysis of the relationship between the media and the Catholic world, with a focus on cinema.