Franjo Šeper

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His Eminence
Franjo Šeper
Cardinal
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Archbishop of Zagreb
The Primate of Yugoslavia
Franjo Šeper.jpg
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Zagreb
Appointed 8 January 1968
Term ended 25 November 1981
Predecessor Alfredo Ottaviani
Successor Joseph Ratzinger
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of SS Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense
Orders
Ordination 26 October 1930
by Giuseppe Palica
Consecration 21 September 1954
by Josip Antun Ujcic
Created cardinal 22 February 1965
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1905-10-02)2 October 1905
Osijek, Austria-Hungary
Died 30 December 1981(1981-12-30) (aged 76)
Nationality Croatian
Previous post
Coat of arms Franjo Šeper's coat of arms
Styles of
Franjo Šeper
Coat of arms of Franjo Šeper.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Zagreb

Franjo Šeper (2 October 1905, Osijek – 30 December 1981, Rome) was a Croatian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1968-81, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965.

Life and Ministry[edit]

Born in Osijek, in the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (present-day Croatia), he and his family moved to Zagreb in 1910; his father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress. Studying in Zagreb and Rome (including the Pontifical Gregorian University), Šeper was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Giuseppe Palica on 26 October 1930. He did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Zagreb and, in 1934, was appointed private secretary to the Archbishop. In 1941 Father Šeper became the rector of the archdiocesan seminary, a post which he held for the next decade. On 22 July 1954 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Zagreb and Titular Archbishop of Philippopolis; he received his episcopal consecration on the following 21 September from Archbishop Josip Ujčić of Belgrade.

Archbishop of Zagreb[edit]

He succeeded Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac as Archbishop of Zagreb on 5 March 1960, and was created Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of 22 February 1965. He resigned as Archbishop of Zagreb on 20 August 1969. He had advocated religious liberty and the introduction of the vernacular into the liturgy during the Second Vatican Council. In one speech to the Council he said: "We must admit that Christians who defended the established order and the unchangeableness of social structures too stubbornly, wrongly appealing to God's authority, are partly responsible for modern atheism."[1]

During his visit to the United States in 1966, he received an honorary doctorate from Villanova University.

Prefect of the CDF[edit]

He was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 8 January 1968. Šeper was the author of the document Mysterium Ecclesiae, which was written in order to re-orient the ecclesiology of the post-Vatican II period. Šeper was also the President of the International Theological Commission from its inception in April 1969.

In 1974, the Congregation published a "declaration on procured abortion", re-asserting the Church's opposition to the procedure since the publication of Humanae Vitae. It later published the document Persona Humana[2] on the topic of sexual ethics.

In 1976, he was responsible for writing the statement Inter Insigniores, which firmly rejected the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. In 1980, he also wrote the CDF's declaration on Euthanasia, explaining the Church's view on ending life.[citation needed]

Cardinal[edit]

He was a cardinal elector in the August and October conclaves of 1978.

Death and legacy[edit]

Pope John Paul II accepted Šeper's resignation as Prefect on 25 November 1981. He died on 30 December in Gemelli Hospital, where had been hospitalized for a month.[3] John Paul presided at his funeral Mass, and Seper's body was later transferred to Zagreb, where it is buried beside the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ottaviani Steps Down" (PDF). New York Times. 9 January 1968. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  2. ^ Persona Humana, vatican.va; accessed 18 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Cardinal Seper Dies in Rome; Vatican Guardian of the Faith". New York Times. 31 December 1981. Retrieved 8 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alojzije Stepinac
Archbishop of Zagreb
1960–1970
Succeeded by
Franjo Kuharić
Preceded by
Alfredo Ottaviani
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
1968–1981
Succeeded by
Joseph Ratzinger
Preceded by
Titular Church Created
Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense
1965–1981
Succeeded by
Ricardo Vidal