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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 18.11.2010]


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






Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico, was born on 6 June 1942 in La Purísima, Tepehuanes, Archdiocese of Durango, Mexico. His parents were Ramón Rivera Cháidez and Soledad Carrera de Rivera.

After having finished his primary studies in La Purísima in 1955 he entered the seminary of Durango, where he did his classical studies, philosophy and a year of theology.

He earned a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He was ordained a priest on 3 July 1966 by Pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s Basilica.

After serving as a curate in Rio Grande, he taught dogmatic theology for 18 years at the major seminary of Durango, where he was also prefect of discipline. He also taught sacred scripture and pastoral and spiritual theology. In 1982 he became professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical University of Mexico.

He was also founder of the Movement for the Days of Christian Life; chaplain of San Martín de Porres; involved with building the parish of Santa Rosa de Lima and the church of Maria Auxiliadora; member of the Presbyteral Council, having been coordinator for two successive terms; diocesan secretary of the pastoral commission; member of the diocesan council and diocesan consultor; director of the social communications of the Archdiocese.

On 5 November 1985 he was nominated Bishop of Tehuacán by John Paul II. On 21 December 1985 he received episcopal ordination in the diocesan minor seminary.

From 1989 to 1995 he was chairman of the Mexican Episcopal Conference’s Commission for the Family. He was also member of the superior council of the Pontifical University of Mexico.

From April 1993 to 1995 he headed the Family Section of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).

On 13 June 1995 he was appointed Archbishop Primate of Mexico and was installed on 26 July 1995. He is also an Apostolic Visitor for seminaries.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 1998, of the Title of S. Francesco a Ripa Grande (St. Francis of Assisi at Ripa Grande).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy;

  • Pontifical Council for the Family;

  • Pontifical Commission for Latin America;
  • Council of Cardinals for Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

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