Celestino Aós Braco

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Celestino Aós Braco

Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago de Chile
Aós in 2021
ChurchCatholic Church
Appointed27 December 2019
Installed11 January 2020
Term ended25 October 2023
PredecessorRicardo Ezzati Andrello
SuccessorFernando Chomalí Garib
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo (2020–)
President of the Chilean Episcopal Conference (2021-)
Ordination30 March 1968
by Ignacio Larrañaga Lasa
Consecration18 October 2014
by Ivo Scapolo
Created cardinal28 November 2020
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Born (1945-04-06) 6 April 1945 (age 78)
Artaiz, Unciti, Navarra, Spain
Previous post(s)
Alma materUniversity of Barcelona
University of Zaragoza
MottoAmar y servir
("To love and to serve")
Coat of armsCelestino Aós Braco's coat of arms

Celestino Aós Braco OFMCap (born 6 April 1945) is a Spanish prelate of the Catholic Church who served as Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago in Chile from 2019 to 2023, after being apostolic administrator there for nine months. He was previously Bishop of Copiapó in Chile from 2014 to 2019. He was made a cardinal in 2020.

A member of the Franciscans, he has worked in Chile since 1983.


Aós Braco was born in Artaiz (Unciti) in the province of Navarra, Spain, on 6 April 1945. He studied philosophy in Zaragoza and theology in Pamplona. He took his initial vows as a Capuchin on 15 August 1964 at Sangüesa and his final vows on 16 September 1967 in Pamplona. He received his priestly ordination on 30 March 1968. He then fulfilled assignments in Spain as professor in Lecaroz–Navarra and vicar in Tudela.

He earned his licentiate in psychology at the University of Barcelona in 1980. In 1980-1981, he held a fellowship that allowed him to conduct psychological research at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.[1] Returning to Spain he was professor in Pamplona and vicar in Zaragoza. He was transferred to Chile in 1983 where he was appointed parochial vicar in Longaví, diocese of Linares. Two years later, he was elected superior of the Capuchin community in Los Ángeles and subsequently he was transferred to Recreo (Viña del Mar), becoming the episcopal vicar for the consecrated life of the Diocese of Valparaíso. Other responsibilities included economic provincial of the Capuchins in Chile, Promotor of Justice of the ecclesiastical tribunal of Valparaíso, judge of the ecclesiastical tribunal of Concepción, and treasurer of the Chilean association of canon law.

In 2007, while promoter of justice in Valparaiso, he heard but judged "implausible" a complaint of sexual abuse made by a former seminarian against a former rector of the seminary, and the seminarian did not file a formal complaint to press the issue.[2][3]

Pope Francis named him Bishop of Copiapó on 25 July 2014, and he received his episcopal ordination on 18 October from the apostolic nuncio to Chile, Ivo Scapolo.[4]

On 23 March 2019, Francis gave him the additional position of Apostolic Administrator of Santiago,[4][5] and Aós took up his responsibilities at a Mass there the next day.[6]

On 18 April 2019, Aós Braco refused communion to at least two people who knelt to receive it, though norms allow communicants to stand or kneel.[7] A week later he distributed Communion to people kneeling. In mid-May he told an interviewer:[8]

Communion is not simply a union with God but with the community. There is a Spanish saying that says: ‘Where you are going, do whatever you see.’ If I go to a place where everyone receives communion on their knees, I do so too. And if everyone goes to communion standing up, this is normal too. A week later, as I celebrated Mass in the Sanctuary of Mercy, there were some who received communion on their feet, others on their knees, it was given to all. I believe that Jesus Christ is in the Holy Host, whether I’m standing or kneeling. At that time there was a reaction, some said I humiliated [these people] by asking them to get up. If they felt humiliated, I ask forgiveness, it was not the intent. But despite this incident, I’m calm.

On 27 December 2019, Pope Francis named him Archbishop of Santiago.[9] At Aós Braco's installation as archbishop on 11 January 2020 a small group of protestors lit gas canisters in the cathedral as part of the ongoing anti-government protests, targeting him as "the highest Catholic authority in the country for his silence and complicity with the government".[10]

On 25 October 2020, Pope Francis announced he would raise him to the rank of cardinal at a consistory scheduled for 28 November 2020.[11] At that consistory, Pope France made him Cardinal-Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo.[12] On 16 December he was named a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.[13]

Pope Francis accepted his resignation as archbishop on 25 October 2023.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nuestro Obispo". Diocese of Copiapó (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ Undurraga, Juan (23 March 2019). "Quién es Celestino Aós, el obispo español que asumirá como administrador apostólico de Santiago tras salida de Ezzati". El Mercurio (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  3. ^ San Martín, Inés (9 April 2019). "Ending abuse means changing hearts, not just decrees, Chile leader says". Crux. Archived from the original on 9 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019. Asked about allegations that he didn't act properly when he was Promotor of Justice in the diocese of Valparaiso, where several ex-seminarians accused priests and even then-Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of abuse and cover-up, Aos said he has a "clear conscience" about having done the work he'd been asked to do. He said that as a Promotor of Justice, it wasn't his role to give a sentence, which pertains to a judge.
  4. ^ a b "Resignations and Appointments, 23.03.2019" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  5. ^ San Martín, Inés (23 March 2019). "Pope accepts resignation of Chilean cardinal facing abuse cover-up probe". Crux. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  6. ^ Bastante, Jesús (25 March 2019). "Celestino Aós: "No bastan retoques de maquillaje, necesitamos reformas y cambios profundos"". Religión Digital (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  7. ^ San Martín, Inés (25 April 2019). "Chilean prelate denies communion to faithful who kneel down". Crux. Archived from the original on 25 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Chile bishop says pope's criticism created 'painful,' 'unfair' image". Crux (Interview). Interviewed by Inés San Martín. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 27.12.2019" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Protesters interrupt installation Mass of new Chilean archbishop". Catholic News Agency. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  11. ^ O'Connell, Gerard (25 October 2020). "Pope Francis names 13 new cardinals, including Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington D.C." America. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico: Assegnazione dei Titoli, 28.11.2020". Holy See Press Office (in Italian). 28 November 2020. Archived from the original on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 16.12.2020" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 16 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 25.10.2023" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 25 October 2023. Retrieved 26 October 2023.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Kizito Bahujimihigo
Bishop of Copiapó
25 July 2014 – 23 March 2019
Succeeded by
Ricardo Basilio Morales Galindo
Preceded by Archbishop of Santiago
27 December 2019 – 25 October 2023
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo
28 November 2020 –
Preceded by
Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales
President of the Chilean Episcopal Conference
28 July 2021 –