Born on January 6, 1932 in Gagos de Jarmelo, Portugal.
He was ordained a Priest of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 16, 1957.
On May 26, 1988 he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Thuburnica, and appointed as Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Institutes of Study). He was ordained a bishop on July 2, 1988.
On May 30, 1998 he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
On Febuary 21, 2001 he was appointed Cardinal-Deacon of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore, and Elevated to Cardinal.
He retired from his role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on July 9, 2008, and was appointed as Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina on Febuary 24, 2009. His installation as Cardinal took place on April 19, 2009.