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Lopez Rodriguez, Nicolás de Jesús*

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Military Ordinary for the Dominican Republic, was born on October 31, 1936 in Barranca, diocese of La Vega in the Dominican Republic.

Since he was young, his interest in philosophy and theology led him to obtain a baccalaureate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Seminary St. Thomas of Aquinas in Santo Domingo.

He was ordained a priest by Bishop Francisco Panal Ramírez on March 18, 1961 in La Vega. While deeply involved in his pastoral work, he managed to keep his love for the study of sacred texts. He therefore obtained advanced degrees in pastoral sociology from the International Center for Sociological Formation of Clerics and in social science from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the Angelicum).

Returning to the Dominican Republic, he was named Vicar Coadjutor of the Cathedral in La Vega. Thereafter, in the following years, he attended canon law courses at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He served in various diocesan offices upon his return to his home diocese of La Vega. In 1970, he became Pro-Vicar General and successively Vicar General, still demonstrating his zeal and dedication. As such, he was given the pastoral care of the diocese of San Francisco de Macorís when it was erected on January 16, 1978 and was ordained Bishop on February 25, 1978.

In 1979-1981 he was a delegate to the Dominican Bishops' Conference. Even within the Dominican Bishops’ Conference he held various positions: President of the Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, member of the Permanent Commission of the Bishops' Conference, National Chaplain to the Christian Renewal of the Holy Spirit.

From December 1979 to May 1984 he was rector of the Nordestana di San Francisco de Macorís University. Meanwhile, on November 15, 1981, he was promoted to the see of Santo Domingo and took possession of the archdiocese on November 16, 1981. As Archbishop, he brought a new and untiring pastoral dedication. From 1984 until December 2002 he acted as president of the Dominican Bishops’ Conference.

In 1982, having founded the University Catholic Foundation supported by the Catholic University of Santo Domingo, he became Grand Chancellor.

His hard work within the Episcopal Council of Latin America has been constant and always of much responsibility. After having taken part in the Bishops' Commission of the Catechesis Department of CELAM, he worked first as responsible for the secretariat for the military ministry in Latin America, then as vice-president, elected in the ordinary assembly in Ypacarai in March 1987 and finally as president, elected during the XXIII ordinary assembly held in Argentina in San Miguel on April 25, 1991 (until 1995). He has also been active in various meetings of the Synod of Bishops.

He has received many awards. The most significative: the decoration of the Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic, given on July 7, 1989 by His Majesty King John Carlos I of Spain and "honoris causa" degrees from the University of Santo Domingo and from the University of Creighton, Omaha, Nebraska.

As President of the Permanent Dominican Commission, he has also contributed to the preparation and execution of the celebrations held on the V Centennial of the Evangelization of Latin America.

Created and proclaimed cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of June 28, 1991, of the Title of St. Pius X (alla Balduina).

Curial membership:

  • Clergy, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (congregations)
  • Social Communications (council)
  • Latin America (commission)
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