José Policarpo

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His Eminence
José Policarpo
Cardinal, Patriarch Emeritus of Lisbon
Church Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major
Archdiocese Lisbon
Appointed 5 March 1997 (Coadjutor Patriarch)
Installed 24 March 1998
Term ended 18 May 2013
Predecessor António Ribeiro
Successor Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Antonio in Campo Marzio
Ordination 15 August 1961
by Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira
Consecration 29 June 1978
by António Ribeiro
Created Cardinal 21 February 2001
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name José da Cruz Policarpo
Born (1936-02-26)26 February 1936
Alvorninha, Estremadura
Died 12 March 2014(2014-03-12) (aged 78)
Lisbon, Portugal
Nationality Portuguese
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Motto per obedientiam ad libertatem
Styles of
José da Cruz Policarpo
Coat of arms of Jose da Cruz Policarpo.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Lisbon

José da Cruz Policarpo (Portuguese: [ʒuˈzɛ dɐ kɾujʃ poliˈkaɾpu]; 26 February 1936 – 12 March 2014), officially referred to as José IV, Patriarch of Lisbon, though commonly just referred to as "D. José Policarpo", was Cardinal and Patriarch Emeritus of Lisbon. Policarpo held a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He served from March 24, 1998 to May 18, 2013, and upon his resignation being accepted by Pope Francis, he was succeeded as Patriarch of Lisbon by the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto in Porto, Portugal, Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born on 26 February 1936 in Alvorninha, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, the first of nine children of José Policarpo sr. (Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, Lugar do Pego, 18 April 1902 – Lisbon, Odivelas, 20 October 1987) and wife (m. Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, 26 January 1935) Maria Gertrudes Rosa (Alcobaça, Benedita, 17 October 1909 – Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, 6 September 1994), and ordained a priest on 15 August 1961 in Lisbon by Manuel Cardinal Cerejeira. José da Cruz' eight siblings were: Maria do Céu (b. 1939), Maria Adélia (b. 1942), Aníbal, Joaquim, António, Maria da Graça, Maria Edite (b. 1947) and Fernando (b. 1952).

Early career[edit]

Policarpo was director of the seminary in Penafirme, rector of the seminary in Olivais and dean of the Theological Faculty of the Portuguese Catholic University. He later served two terms as rector of the same university (1988–96) and is the author of a number of books and scholarly articles.

Appointed bishop[edit]

On 26 May 1978 Policarpo was appointed titular bishop of Caliabria and auxiliary bishop of Lisbon, receiving episcopal ordination on 29 June. On 5 March 1997 he was appointed Coadjuctor Archbishop of Lisbon and succeeded Cardinal António Ribeiro as Patriarch on 24 March 1998. Cardinal Policarpo is also President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference and Grand Chancellor of the Portuguese Catholic University.


He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, as Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Antonio in Campo Marzio (St. Anthony in the Field of Mars). Cardinal da Cruz Policarpo is a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Pontifical Council for Culture in the Roman Curia.

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Policarpo was considered to be papabile – a possible successor to the papacy. On 11 April 2005, British newspaper The Guardian considered him to be "a dark-horse candidate for pope, capable of bridging the divide between the Europeans and the Latin American Roman Catholic cardinals". The 2005 papal conclave, in which he participated as a cardinal elector, ultimately elected Pope Benedict XVI. He was also a cardinal elector in the conclave of 2013 which elected Pope Francis. Coincidentally, during the Oath of Secrecy at the Conclave, Cardinal Policarpio was next to take the oath, but before him was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who would eventually be Pope Francis.

His age induced resignation was accepted in May 2013 and Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, formerly bishop of Porto was named in his place.[2]

Cardinal Policarpo died in March 2014. Pope Francis sent this official telegram of condolence to the Patriarchate upon learning of the Cardinal's death,: "With regret, I received the news of the death of Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, and I wish to express my fraternal union of prayer with the Patriarchate of Lisbon, and the family of the deceased, and my sorrow, along with many others, at his unexpected death. In entrusting the beloved Cardinal to God's mercy, I recall his precious collaboration in different agencies of the Holy See, and a diligent pastor with a passionate search for the truth. When requested, he put the gifts he had received from the Spirit of the Lord to the service of God's people and his brother Bishops, especially in the years during which he served as President of the Portuguese Bishops' Conference. I give thanks to the Father in Heaven for the gift of his episcopal ministry, in which he lavishly responded, with generosity, driven by the Gospel values, toward those of his people who trusted him and sought him out, and also, with the same zeal, for his exemplary conduct in his previous services, including at the Catholic University of Portugal. With fervent trust in the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, for the soul of the Lord Patriarch and the relief of your sorrow, to all who assisted him in his Ministry, and to all the faithful of the Patriarchate, and those participating in the funeral services, I impart my Apostolic Blessing as a sign of comfort."[3] The Vatican's incumbent Cardinal Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent this message,: "Deeply saddened by the death of Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, I offer my sincere condolences to Your Excellency, extending them to the Auxiliary Bishops, priests, and laity of the Patriarchate of Lisbon, and to the Bishops and faithful of all of Portugal. While I am unable to be with you at the moment, I entrust to the mercy of God the Heavenly Father the soul of this zealous Pastor, who with both his great wisdom and generosity, served both your own people in this Local Church in the Patriarchate, and in Portugal, as well as the Universal Church. I pray also that his example of faithful ministry to the people, following the example of the Gospel, might inspire all Christians to reinstate their own dedication to building up the Kingdom of God in Christ, in Truth and in Charity."[4]


Pro-choice politicians[edit]

His refusal to excommunicate those who called themselves Catholics and who openly supported legalisation of abortion was also criticised by many pro-life Catholics for being one the main reasons of the legalisation of abortion in Portugal, in 2007. However, he did not openly deny the right to the Portuguese Roman Catholic priests to refuse them communion, which many in fact did.[5] Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, who chose not to veto the law that legalised abortion in Portugal, is a Roman Catholic, but he was never openly criticised by Cardinal Policarpo for his attitude.

Marriages with Muslim men[edit]

On 14 January 2009, the cardinal directed a warning to young women to "think twice" before marrying Muslim men: Christians should learn more about Islam and respect Muslims, but marrying a Muslim man is getting into a lot of trouble, that not even Allah knows where it would end, if the couple moved to an Islamic country.[6][7][8] He also said that dialogue "with our Muslim brothers" is difficult, because it is possible to dialogue only with those who want to have dialogue.[6] Human rights group Amnesty International criticized Policarpo for inciting "discrimination" and "intolerance", and a representative of the Muslim community in Portugal said they were hurt and surprised by his words, but remarked that his words could be interpreted as a call to respect differences and get to know the other religion.[9] A spokesman for the Portuguese Episcopal Conference said the cardinal had offered "realistic advice" rather than "discrimination" or "contempt for another culture or religion".[7]

Ordination of women[edit]

Cardinal da Cruz Policarpo in June 2011 stated in a magazine interview that, while there is no fundamental theological obstacle to ordination of women, there is, in fact, an obstacle regarding the strong tradition dating from Jesus. There will certainly be no change in our lifetime, he said, and so the question ought not to be raised – it provokes many reactions.[10][11] Nearly two weeks after giving the interview, he issued a clarification of his comments, in which he unequivocally reaffirmed the teaching of Pope John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ a b "Portugal cardinal warns of marriage with Muslims". Reuters. 14 January 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Portuguese Catholic Leader: 'Think Twice about Marrying a Muslim'". Der Spiegel. 15 January 2009. 
  8. ^ Portuguese Church: 'Think twice about marrying Muslims' (Daily Mail, 15 January 2009)
  9. ^ Controversy over Christian-Muslim marriages in Portugal (Trend, Azerbaijan, 15 January 2009)
  10. ^ "Não foi por acaso que Jesus escolheu para apóstolos homens e deu às mulheres outro tipo de atenção [...] teológicamente não há nenhum obstáculo fundamental [...] O problema põe-se noutra ótica, numa forte tradição, que vem desde Jesus [...] Não é com certeza para a nossa vida, hoje então, no momento que estamos a viver, é um daqueles problemas que é melhor não levantar...suscita uma série de reações" (Text of the interview, in Portuguese).
  11. ^ The Patriarch of Lisbon: "There are no theological reasons for excluding women from the priesthood" (La Stampa, 25 June 2011)
  12. ^ Statement from the Patriarchate of Lisbon
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
António Ribeiro
Patriarch of Lisbon
Succeeded by
Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente
New title Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Antonio in Campo Marzio