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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 20.04.2008]


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






Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop emeritus of Medellín (Colombia), was born on 8 November 1935 in Villahermosa, diocese of Ibagué (now the diocese of Líbano-Honda), Colombia.

Having moved to Bogotá when he was a young boy, he was already a university student when he attended the local archdiocesan major seminary. He continued his studies in Rome and obtained his doctorate in philosophy from the Angelicum, also taking also courses in theology and sociology and also studying Marxism. After his ordination as priest on 13 November 1960, he continued his studies in Rome for another two years. He returned to Bogotá and taught philosophy for four years at the local major seminary. In 1968, he was pastoral coordinator and was in charge of a special course on the encyclical Populorum progressio of Paul VI that was to be given in all the principal centers in Colombia. That same year was an expert at the second general conference of Latin American Bishops held in Medellín. After the Eucharistic Congress he organized the new pastoral department of the archdiocese of Bogotá and from 1970-1972 he was Vicar General of the archdiocese.

On 25 February 1971 he was appointed by Paul VI titular archbishop of Boseta and Auxiliary of Bogotá and was ordained on 25 March 1971.

He then left the office of Auxiliary to dedicate himself to the General Secretariat of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Conference) of which he was elected general secretary on 22 November 1972 and then reconfirmed on 1 November 1974. Always by Paul VI on 22 May 1978 he was nominated Coadjutor Archbishop of Medellín, becoming Archbishop on 2 June 1979. As general secretary of CELAM he worked intensely in preparing and the carrying out the third general conference of the Latin American Bishops held in Puebla at the beginning of 1979 and in which John Paul II also participated.

Thereafter, he was elected president of CELAM (1979-1983). He participated in numerous assemblies of the Synod of Bishops held in the Vatican.

He was president of the Colombian BishopsÂ’ Conference (1987-1990).

Nominated president of the Pontifical Council for the Family on 8 November 1990 and since 9 January 1991 he was Archbishop emeritus of Medellín.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 2 February 1983, of the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Frascati (17 November 2001). 

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo died on 19 April 2008.

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