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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.




Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez, Archbishop of Bogotà (Colombia), was born in Bogotá, on 22 September 1942. He studied for the priesthood at Immaculada Concepción Archdiocesan seminary of Ibagué. In 1962 he was sent to perfect his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where four years later earned a licence in dogmatic theology.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Ibagué on 20 May 1967 and exercised his priestly ministry as spiritual director and teacher at the Colegio Tolimense. In 1968 he became Vicar Cooperator in the Parish of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro. That same year he returned to Rome to study at the Pontifical Biblical Institute where, in 1971 he earned a licence in biblical sciences.

Back in Colombia, from 1972 to 1987 (and from 1990 to 1992) he was professor of Scared Scripture at the Major Seminary. From 1973 he served for three years as chaplain of the male reformatory in Ibagué and, from 1976 to 1978, as parish priest of Immaculado Corazón de María and chaplain of an infantry battalion. In 1987 he became director of the National Secretariat of Social and Pastoral Ministry of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference. He was also a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" and a representative of the Bolivarian countries in the executive Council of Caritas Internationalis until 1990. In that year he became parish priest of Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá and Pastoral Vicar of the Archdiocese.

On 11 February 1992 he was appointed Bishop of Cúcuta and was ordained a bishop on the following 25 March. Three years later he was appointed Apostolic Administrator, first of the Prelature of Tibú and, from 1998 to 1999, of the Archdiocese of Nueva Pamplona. From 1996 to 1999 he headed the Doctrinal Commission of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference.

On 18 March 1999 he was appointed Archbishop of Barranquilla. 

A member of the administrative council of the Bishops’ Conference from 2002 to 2005, he spent the next three years as President of the Pastoral and Social Commission and of Caritas
In 2008 he was elected President of the Bishops of Colombia and his three-year mandate was renewed in 2011. 
He is also first Vice-President of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

On 8 July 2011, he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Bogotá.  

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2012, of the Title of San Gerardo Maiella (St. Gerald Majella).


Member of:

  • Congregation for Bishops;
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace;
  • Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

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