Santos Abril y Castelló

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His Eminence
Santos Abril y Castelló
Cardinal-Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Appointed 21 November 2011
Predecessor Bernard Francis Law
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of San Ponziano; Titular Archbishop of the Diocese of Tamada
Ordination 19 March 1960
Consecration 16 June 1985
by Agostino Casaroli
Created Cardinal 18 February 2012
by Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Santos Abril y Castelló
Born (1935-09-21) 21 September 1935 (age 82)
Alfambra, Spain
Denomination Roman Catholic
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Coat of arms
Styles of
Santos Abril y Castelló
Coat of arms of Santos Abril y Castello.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Santos Abril y Castelló (born 21 September 1935) is the archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore since his appointment on 21 November 2011.[1] He was elected by his fellow members of the Commission of Cardinals of the Institute of Works of Religion as their President on Tuesday, 4 March 2014 (the IOR's- one of the Vatican's banks- reform board, who were appointed by Pope Francis in January 2014 to 5-year terms and meet at least twice a year); he continues his other duties.[2]

Abril y Castelló was born in Alfambra, Spain.[3] He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Teruel and Albarracín on 19 March 1960. In 1961, he went to Rome to study and obtained a doctorate in social sciences at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He attended the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. He worked in Pakistan, Turkey and the Second Section of the Secretariat of State in Rome.

On 29 April 1985 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia and Titular Archbishop of the Diocese of Tamada. He received episcopal consecration on 16 June 1985 from Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli. He later served as papal nuncio in other countries: Cameroon (1989–1996), Yugoslavia (1996–2000), Argentina (2000–2003), and Slovenia and Macedonia (2003–2011).

On 22 January 2011, soon after reaching the obligatory retirement age of 75 for nuncios, he was appointed Vice-Camerlengo of the Apostolic Chamber or Vice-Camerlengo (Chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church. During a vacancy in the Papal See, he is first in authority after the cardinals and is entrusted with the surveillance of the conclave, to which no one is admitted without his permission. On 2 April 2011 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Bishops.[4] In this role he advises on the names of Latin Church non-missionary candidates to fill vacancies.

On 21 November 2011 he was named Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Papal Basilica associated with Archbishop Abril y Castello's native country of Spain, whose King, currently Felipe VI, is Protocanon of the Basilica's chapter.[5] On 23 July 2012, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata was named by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed Cardinal Abril y Castelló as Vice-Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.[6]

It was announced on 6 January 2012 that Archbishop Abril y Castelló would be created a cardinal on 18 February in Rome by Pope Benedict. He was created Cardinal-Deacon of San Ponziano. On 21 April 2012 Cardinal Ayril y Castello was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.[7] He lost rights to attend these dicastery meetings and to vote in a papal conclave on his 80th birthday in 2015.

On 28 July 2012, Cardinal Abril y Castelló was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as his special envoy to the celebrations of the 950th Anniversary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sapë (Sappa; the seat of the Diocese is the town of Vau-Dejës, Shkodër County).[8]

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

On 15 January 2014, he was named member for the next quiquennium of the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). On 4 March 2014, the members of the Cardinals' Commission overseeing the Institute for the Works of Religion (I.O.R.) nominated him as their president.


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alfio Rapisarda
Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia
29 April 1985 – 2 October 1989
Succeeded by
Giovanni Tonucci
Preceded by
Ubaldo Calabresi
Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina
4 March 2000 – 9 April 2003
Succeeded by
Adriano Bernardini
Preceded by
Giuseppe Leanza
Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 April 2003 – 21 November 2005
Succeeded by
Alessandro D’Errico
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bernard Francis Law
Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
21 November 2011 – present