|Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches|
|Appointed||9 June 2007|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari|
|Ordination||2 December 1967
by Juan Carlos Aramburu
|Consecration||11 October 1997
by Angelo Sodano
|Created Cardinal||24 November 2007|
18 November 1943 |
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Motto||Ille fidelis (He [remains] faithful)
— 2 Timothy 2:13
|Coat of arms|
Leonardo Sandri (born 18 November 1943) is an Argentine Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Roman Curia, having previously served as Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela (1997–2000), Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico (2000) and Substitute for General Affairs (2000–2007). He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. The press named Cardinal Sandri as a papabile (a possible or likely successor for election to the Papacy) following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, effective 28 February 2013. He was not elected, but his fellow Argentine, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, instead took the papacy.
Early life and ordination
Sandri was born in Buenos Aires to Antonio Enrico Sandri and Nella Righi, who had emigrated to Argentina from Ala, a village in Trentino in Italy. He studied humanities, philosophy and theology at the Metropolitan Seminary of Buenos Aires, and earned a Licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina. On 2 December 1967, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu.
He then served as parochial vicar of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Villa Urquiza and secretary to Archbishop Aramburu until 1970, when he was sent to further his studies in Rome. He there attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained a doctorate in canon law, and the Pontifical Latin American College. In 1971, he entered the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains papal diplomats.
He then served in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as secretary of the Substitute for General Affairs, from 1977 to 1989; and in the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States, as permanent observer of the Holy See before the Organization of American States, from 1989 to 1991.
He became regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household on 22 August 1991, and assessor of the Section for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State on 2 April 1992. On 22 July 1997, Sandri was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela and Titular Archbishop of Aemona by Pope John Paul II.
He received his episcopal consecration on the following 11 October from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, with Cardinal Aramburu and Archbishop Giovanni Battista Re serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter's Basilica. He selected as his episcopal motto: "Ille Fidelis", meaning, "He (Christ) remains faithful" (2 Timothy 2:13). After two years in Venezuela, he briefly served as Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico from 1 March to 16 September 2000, when he was named Substitute for General Affairs.
Secretariat of State
As Substitute, Sandri held the third most important position within the Vatican (after the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Pope himself), serving essentially as the chief of staff of the Secretariat of State.
During the time of John Paul II's declining health, he would read the texts that the Pope could not personally deliver; he later announced the Pope's death to the world from St. Peter's Square on the evening of 2 April 2005, saying, "Our Holy Father John Paul has returned to the house of the Father...We all feel like orphans this evening."
Congregation for the Oriental Churches
On 9 June 2007, Sandri was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches by Pope Benedict XVI. Succeeding Ignatius I Daoud, he heads the curial congregation that handles matters regarding the Eastern Catholic Churches and is the ex officio Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
Sandri, who visited the Holy Land in February 2008, has lamented the emigration of Christians from that region, saying, "This lack of peace makes Christians emigrate and leave their land behind. So we're left with a purely geological, physical presence of Jesus, and not with the presence of those that grew with him and lived his faith, and that continue to follow him today like disciples of his very homeland." Some have attributed the delay in the canonization process for John Paul II to Sandri's apparent reluctance to testify in the effort.
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Benedict XVI created him Cardinal-Deacon of S. Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari in the consistory of 24 November 2007. He delivered the message of thanksgiving to the Pope on behalf of the new cardinals.
In addition to his duties as Cardinal Prefect, Cardinal Sandri is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Pontifical Commission for Latin America and Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. On 2 March 2010 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Bishops, and gets to assist in the appointment of Latin Rite bishops in non-missionary dioceses. On 31 May 2011 he was appointed a member of the Apostolic Signatura. He is eligible to participate in a papal conclave until he reaches the age of 80 on 18 November 2023.
Cardinal Sandri, in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, was named by Pope Benedict XVI be one of two co-presidents of the special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, to be held at the Vatican in October 2010.
Sandri has said that although the regime of Saddam Hussein was dictatorial, it is undeniable that Iraqi clergy and laity felt more secure under his regime and that their liturgical life went on undisturbed.
- "Pope: Runners and riders". BBC News (BBC).
- "SANDRI Card. Leonardo". Holy See.
- "Leonardo Cardinal Sandri". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
- "SANDRI, Leonardo". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
- O'Connell, Gerard (11 June 2007). "Key Vatican appointment signals that Benedict's chosen team fully in place". UCA News.
- "Pope John Paul II dies in Vatican". BBC. 3 April 2005.
- "World Mourns Passing of Pope John Paul II". Fox News. 3 April 2005.
- "RINUNCIA DEL PREFETTO DELLA CONGREGAZIONE PER LE CHIESE ORIENTALI E NOMINA DEL SUCCESSORE". Holy See. 9 June 2007.
- "Vatican Prelate Visiting Eastern Catholics in Holy Land". Catholic World News. 27 February 2008.
- "Vatican asks for help in stopping exodus of Christians from Holy Land". Rome Reports. 8 April 2009.
- Roberts, Tom (3 June 2009). "What's behind delay in JPII canonization?". National Catholic Reporter.
- "INDIRIZZO DI OMAGGIO DEL CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI". Holy See. 24 November 2007.
- Press Office of the Holy See
- NOMINA DI MEMBRI DEL SUPREMO TRIBUNALE DELLA SEGNATURA APOSTOLICA
- ZENIT article
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leonardo Sandri.|
|Apostolic Nunico to Venezuela
22 July 1997–1 March 2000
André Pierre Louis Dupuy
Justo Mullor García
|Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico
1 March 2000–16 September 2000
|Catholic Church titles|
Giovanni Battista Re
|Substitute for General Affairs
16 September 2000–1 July 2007
|Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
1 July 2007–present