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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 16.12.2013]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


CORDES Card. Paul Josef



Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, was born on 5 September 1934 in Kirchhundem, Paderborn, Germany. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1961 and holds a doctorate in theology.

In 1972 he was appointed Secretary of the Pastoral Commission of the German Episcopal Conference and thus took part in the 1972-75 Diocesan Synod.

On 27 October 1975, Paul VI appointed him titular Bishop of Naissus and Auxiliary of Paderborn. He was ordained a bishop on 1 February 1976.

John Paul II named him Vice-President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 1980, and later made him responsible for the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office and the Neo-Catechumenical Way, a post he held until December 1995.

Involvement with the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre which opened on 13 March 1983 led him to plan a World Youth Meeting. It was held on Palm Sunday 1984, which thus marked the beginning of the World Youth Days.

On 2 December 1995 he became Archbishop and appointed President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.

President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, 7 October 2010

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of San Lorenzo in Piscibus (St. Lawrence in Piscibus).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for the Causes of Saints; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for the Clergy; 
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

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