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CardinalPrefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithArchbishop of Zagreb|
The Primate of Yugoslavia
|Appointed||8 January 1968|
|Term ended||25 November 1981|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of SS Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense|
26 October 1930|
by Giuseppe Palica
21 September 1954|
by Josip Antun Ujcic
|Created cardinal||22 February 1965|
2 October 1905|
|Died||30 December 1981(aged 76)|
|Coat of arms|
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
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
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
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."
Prefect of the CDF
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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 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.
Death and legacy
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. 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.
- "Ottaviani Steps Down" (PDF). New York Times. 9 January 1968. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
- Persona Humana, vatican.va; accessed 18 March 2016.
- "Cardinal Seper Dies in Rome; Vatican Guardian of the Faith". New York Times. 31 December 1981. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
|Catholic Church titles|
| Archbishop of Zagreb
| Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Titular Church Created
| Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense