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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 14.12.2011]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.




Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, President emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, was born in Nidastore of Arcevia, Italy on 6 June 1928.

Forced to wait until the end of World War II to enter the seminary, he was ordained a priest on 29 June 1952. He first worked as chaplain to Catholic Action youth groups and as vice-rector of his former seminary.

In 1972, on account of his Bishop’s decision to offer pastoral ministry to the faculty of medicine in the Roman University of the Sacred Heart, he began to be a point of reference for the college community in the field of ethics and medicine, eventually serving as director of the bioethics institute at the faculty of medicine and surgery. From 1990 to 2006 he was a member of the Italian National Bioethics Committee.

On 5 November 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Zama Minor and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He was ordained on 6 January 1993.

On 1 June 1994 he was transferred to the Pontifical Academy for Life as vice-president and on 3 January 2005 he became president until 17 June 2008.

He is the author of the "Manuale di Bioetica", and many other publications on health pastoral care, medical ethics and the family.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 20 November 2010, of the Deaconry of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria.



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