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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 14.04.2013]


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


GRACIAS Card. Oswald


Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India), was born on 24 December 1944 in Mahim, Mumbai, in the archdiocese of Bombay, India. 
He was ordained a priest on 20 December 1970 and holds a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and a diploma in jurisprudence from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He served as chancellor and secretary to the Bishop of Jamshedpur (1971-1976), parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Church, Santa Cruz, Bombay (1976), secretary to the Archbishop of Bombay (1982-1986) and chancellor of the same archdiocese (1982-1997).

On 28 June 1997 he was appointed titular Bishop of Bladia and Auxiliary of Bombay. He was ordained a bishop on 16 September 1997.

On 7 September 2000 he was appointed Archbishop of Agra, and on 14 October 2006, Archbishop of Bombay.

His many activities include teaching and assisting in the establishment of matrimonial tribunals in several dioceses. He was also president of the Canon Law Society of India (1987-1991, 1993-1997), consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

[On 24 June 2008 he was appointed President Delegate of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” (5-26 October 2008). Unable to attend, will be replaced as president delegate by Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.]

On 13 April 2013 he was made a 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’.

He has served as President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) from 2005 until 12 January 2011. He is President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) since March 2010 and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) since 21 October 2011.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Title of San Paolo della Croce a Corviale (St. Paul of the Cross at Corviale).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, for Catholic Education;
  • Pontifical Councils: for Legislative Texts; for Social Communications;
  • XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops; 
  • Committee Vox Clara.

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