Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana, Cuba submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Havana on Oct. 18, upon reaching the canonical age of retirement.
According to Canon Law, bishops must submit their resignations upon reaching the age of 75. The Pope has the authority to decide whether to accept the resignation or to allow a bishop to remain in office.
In recent years Cardinal Ortega has become one of the principal mediators with the Cuban government on issues such as the release of political prisoners. Between 2010 and 2011, 115 prisoners were freed, 103 of which traveled to Spain with their family members.
Cardinal Jaime Ortega was born on Oct. 18, 1936. He studied theology at the seminary of St. Albert the Great in Matanzas, Cuba, and at the Seminary for Priests of the Foreign Missions in Quebec, Canada.
He was ordained a priest on Aug. 2, 1964. In 1966 he was imprisoned by the Communist government and held in a work camp until 1967.
In December of 1978 he was named bishop of Pinar del Rio and in 1981 he was appointed Archbishop of Havana. He was president of the Cuban Bishops’ Conference from 1988 to 1990.
The cardinal also hosted John Paul II during his historic visit to Cuba in 1998.