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Biographical notes

[Updated: 01.02.2007]


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


JAVIERRE ORTAS Card. Antonio María, S.D.B.

© Gregorz Galazka



Cardinal Antonio María Javierre Ortas, S.D.B., Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was born on 21 February 1921 in Siétamo, diocese of Huesca (Spain). A professed member of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco in 1940, he was ordained a priest on 24 April 1949.

He finished his primary and secondary studies in Huesca, Zaragoza and Barcelona. He took courses in philosophy in Girona, Barcelona and Salamanca; in pedagogy in Girona and Santander; theology in Salamanca, Rome, and Louvain, earning a doctorate in sacred theology.

From 1951 to 1976 he was professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical Salesian Atheneum of Torino. He was dean of the faculty of theology from 1959 to 1971, and chancellor from 1971 to 1974. During those years, the Pontifical Salesian Atheneum was elevated to the level of a Pontifical University with its headquarters in Rome.

His academic activities were particularly intense during these years. He occupied the chair of dogmatic theology and dedicated many years of teaching and research at this ecumenical seminary. He was often invited to other atheneums of Rome (Regina Mundi, the Angelicum, Marianum, Gregorian, and Lateran) and to other cities (Salamanca, Lima, Guatemala-Marroquín, Navarra). He also gave lectures at the Polish universities of Lublin and Warsaw.

He participated in many congresses dealing with fundamental theology, and was also creator, founder and secretary general of the Symposiums held on fundamental theology in Louvain and Gazzada.

As a result of his efforts in the ecumenical field, he was called as an expert of the Spanish Episcopacy to the working sessions of the Second Vatican Council. He was a Consultor to the Secretariat for Christian Unity, and for three years he was a member of the Faith and Constitution conference committee of the World Council of Churches. He participated in three world conferences of the WCC, held in New Delhi, Upsala, and Nairobi. He took part in several "Faith and Constitution" conferences, in particular those in Montreal, Louvain, and Accra, and participated in one on "Church and Society" in Geneva. He spoke at many meetings of the central committee of the WCC, i.e. in Paris, Geneva, Utrecht, Heraclion.

On 20 May 1976 he was elected titular Archbishop of Meta and appointed secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He received episcopal ordination on the following 29 June.

Within the Roman Curia he has contributed his knowledge and experience to various dicasteries. As chaplain, he has worked with groups of university professors and religious educators, sharing his competence in theology and of the apostolate in the world of culture.

On 1 July 1988 he was appointed Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church until 24 January 1992 , when he was named prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Prefect emeritus of the Congregation, 21 June 1996.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1988, of the Title of S. Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio (St. Mary Liberator in Monte Testaccio), deaconry elevated pro illa vice to presbyteral title on 9 January 1999.

Cardinal Antonio María Javierre Ortas, S.D.B. died on 1 February 2007. 

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