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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 10.04.2012]


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






Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez, Archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico,  was born 4 August 1922 in Lajas, in the diocese of Ponce (now the diocese of Mayagüez) and he completed his studies at the major seminary of the archdiocese of Boston. 

In Boston, he was ordained to the priesthood on 10 April 1950. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the United States. He spent the first three years of his priesthood in the curia of Ponce as secretary of same, and for many years as a parish priest in the same diocese where he was very much appreciated and beloved by the Bishop and faithful.

Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez is the first Cardinal native of Puerto Rico, as well as the first Bishop native of the island.  He was named titular Bishop of Lares on 23 July 1960 and appointed Coadjutor possessing the right of succession to the residential See of Ponce. He received episcopal ordination on 12 October 1960 and on 18 November 1963 he became Bishop of Ponce.

On 4 November 1964, he was promoted to Archbishop of San Juan, succeeding Archbishop James P. Davis, who was transferred to Santa Fe. Cardinal Aponte Martínez is the 57th pastor of the 450 year old archdiocese with over a million Catholics.

He was also President of the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference. As Bishop he carried out on an intensive pastoral activity in all areas of the archdiocese and the island, and has often spoken out strongly on all the most urgent social problems, giving their varied religious and moral ramifications. In particular, he spoke out against government programs for birth control and sterilization on the island.

Archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico, 26 March 1999.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 5 March 1973, of the Title of Santa Maria della Provvidenza a Monte Verde (St. Mary of Providence in Monte Verde).

Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez died on 10 April 2012.

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