Stanisław Ryłko

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His Eminence
Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
Appointed 4 October 2003
Predecessor James Francis Cardinal Stafford
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re
Ordination 30 March 1969
by Karol Józef Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II)
Consecration 6 January 1996
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Born (1945-07-04) 4 July 1945 (age 69)
Andrychów, Poland
Nationality Polish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Archbishop of Novica (1995–2007)
  • Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (1995–2003)
  • Lux Mea Christus
  • (Christ, My Light)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko
Coat of arms of Stanisław Ryłko.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Stanisław Ryłko (born 4 July 1945) is a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007.


Early life and ordination[edit]

Stanisław Ryłko was born in Andrychów to Władysław and Aurelia Ryłko. He has two siblings: a brother, Władysław (d. 2007), and a sister, Jadwiga. He graduated from the Lyceum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in Andrychów in 1963 before entering the seminary in Kraków, later obtaining his licentiate in moral theology. Ryłko then studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned his doctorate in social sciences. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) on 30 March 1969 in Wawel Cathedral, and then did pastoral work in Poronin until 1971.

Pastoral work[edit]

Ryłko served as vice-rector of the Kraków seminary before teaching practical theology at the Pontifical Theological Academy of Kraków. He was secretary of the lay apostolate commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference as well. In 1987, he returned to Rome and was charged with the section for the youth of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; during this time, he organized of the World Youth Day of 1989 and of 1991. He was then transferred to the Polish section of the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1992.


On 20 December 1995, Ryłko was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Titular Bishop of Novica by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 1996 from John Paul II, with Archbishops Giovanni Re and Jorge Mejía serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilica. As Secretary, Ryłko served as the second-highest official of that dicastery, successively under Eduardo Francisco Pironio and James Cardinal Stafford.

He was later named President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 4 October 2003. Upon the death of John Paul II on 2 April 2005, Ryłko and all major Vatican officials, in accord with custom, automatically lost their positions during the sede vacante. He was then confirmed as President of the Laity by Pope Benedict XVI on the following 21 April.


Pope Benedict created him Cardinal-Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re in the consistory of 24 November 2007. Ryłko remains eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves until his eightieth birthday on 4 July 2025.

On 12 June 2008 in addition to his main duties he was appointed by Benedict as a member of congregations in the Roman Curia [1]. These are: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. On 5 January 2011 he was appointed among the first members of the newly created Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.[1] On Tuesday, 10 March 2015, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Rylko to be a Member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.[2][3]

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

Besides his native Polish, the Cardinal speaks Italian, English, and German.


Relations with the secular world[edit]

Cardinal Ryłko has said that the time has come for Christians to free themselves from their false inferiority complex against the so-called secular world, to be courageous disciples of Christ.[4]

External links[edit]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Paul Josef Cordes
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
Succeeded by
Josef Clemens
Preceded by
James Stafford
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity