Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
His Eminence
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino
Cardinal, Archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Cristóbal de la Habana
Appointed 21 November 1981
Predecessor Francisco Ricardo Oves Fernández
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Aquila e Priscilla
Ordination 2 August 1964
by José Maximino Eusebio Domínguez y Rodríguez
Consecration 14 January 1979
by Mario Tagliaferri
Created Cardinal 26 November 1994
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino
Born (1936-10-18) 18 October 1936 (age 79)
Jagüey Grande, Cuba
Nationality Cuban
Denomination Catholic
Previous post
Motto Sufficit Tibi Gratia Mea (My grace is sufficient for you)
Styles of
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino
Coat of arms of Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See San Cristobal de la Habana

Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino (born October 18, 1936 in Jagüey Grande, Matanzas, Cuba) is the Latin Rite Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Havana and a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the second Cuban elevated to Cardinal.

Early life and ordination[edit]

He studied for priesthood at the Seminary of San Alberto Magno in Matanzas and in the Seminary of the Fathers of Foreign Missions in Quebec, Canada. He was ordained a priest on 2 August 1964 by Bishop Jose Maximino Dominguez-Rodriguez of Matanzas. He was assigned to various parishes in the Diocese of Matanzas from 1964 to 1966. He was imprisoned by the Communist government from 1966 to 1967. From 1967-1969, pastor of Jagüey Grande, his native city; as all the pastors in Cuba, due to a severe shortage of priests in those years, he served in several parishes and churches at the same time. Pastor of the cathedral of Matanzas, and at the same time, assisted the parish of Pueblo Nuevo and two other churches in the countryside; he was also president of the Diocesan Commission of Catechetic and realized an active apostolate with the youth of the diocese; in those years, which were even more difficult for the pastoral work of the church, he began a youth movement that included, among other forms of apostolate, a summer camp for the youth, and a work of evangelization through theatrical works performed by the same youth. At the same time, he was professor at San Carlos y San Ambrosio Interdiocesan Seminary, Havana, where he traveled every week to teach moral theology for several years.

Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal[edit]

On December 4, 1978, Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of the Diocese of Pinar del Rio. He was consecrated bishop on January 14, 1979 by Mons. Mario Tagliaferri, Titular Archbishop of Formia, Pro-Nuncio in Cuba and assisted by Mons. Francisco Oves-Fernandez, Archbishop of Havana and Mons. Domínguez-Rodríguez, Bishop of Matanzas. His episcopal motto is Sufficit tibi gratia mea. He was later promoted to Archbishop of Havana in 1981. He was proclaimed Cardinal-Priest of Santi Aquila e Priscilla on 26 November 1994. He served as president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba from 1988 to 1999. In 1996, he presided the commission for the process of postulation of the cause of beatification of the Servant of God Fr. Félix Varela y Morales. Cardinal Ortega y Alamino was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

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

On Saturday, June 15, 2013, Pope Francis named Cardinal Ortega y Alamino as his Special Envoy to the closing ceremony of the National Eucharistic Congress in El Salvador, scheduled for August 11, 2013.[1]


In 2004, the Humanitarian Institution of Merit in Barcelona, Spain awarded him with the "Gran Cruz al Mérito Humanitario." He has been given an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Saint Thomas, Fordham University, Barry University, University of San Francisco, Providence College, Boston College, St. John's University and Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla


Ortega y Alamino has been critical of both capitalism and communism. Like John Paul II, he has urged his nation not to construct a post-communist future on the basis of hyper-capitalist principles. In 1998, he warned of the insidious influence in Cuba of a "species of American subculture that invades everything: It is a fashion, a conception of life."[2] In September 1993 the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Cardenal Ortega, published the message "El amor todo lo espera" (Love endures all things), extremely critical of the Cuban Communist government and asking for a new direction of the country. In April 2010 he said that Cuba was in crisis.[3]

Political activism[edit]

On May 20, 2010, Archbishop Dionisio Guillermo García Ibáñez and Cardinal Ortega met with Cuban President Raúl Castro to discuss issues concerning jailed political dissidents.[4][5][6] While the rare four hour meeting was potentially seen as being hopeful, Ortega y Alamino said that there "will be a process and this process has to start with small steps and these steps will be made."[4] While the Curia has called for meetings and concessions on these issues before, press conferences to discuss high level meetings like this had not been done so quickly thereafter.[4][5][6] Cardinal Ortega will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, August 14, 2015, prior to Secretary Kerry's visit with the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez; after visiting with Cardinal Ortega and Foreign Minister Rodriguez, Secretary Kerry will meet with a select group of Cuban dissidents. Secretary Kerry is in Havana for the official flag raising of the U.S. flag at the Embassy of the United States, Havana, and for official meetings regarding U.S.-Cuba relations.[7]

Cuba Thaw[edit]

In an effort to free Alan Gross members of Congress, unaware of the ongoing secret talks between the Obama administration and the Cuban government met at the White House to press for action to free Gross. Senator Durbin suggested appealing to Pope Francis for help. Senator Leahy, who had met Cardinal Ortega, sent a letter asking him to raise the issue with Pope Francis and another to Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley of Boston. By the time President Obama met with Francis at the Vatican in March 2014, Gross and the Cuban Five were on both men’s agendas, as was a broader reconciliation between the two countries. Francis followed up with letters to Mr. Obama and Mr. Castro urging a resolution, hand-delivered by Cardinal Ortega, who was quietly whisked to the White House after an appearance at Georgetown University that had been hastily arranged as a cover story for his visit. As the cardinal met with Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, on his West Wing patio along with Ben Rhodes and Mr. Zuniga, Mr. Obama dropped by to receive the letter.[8]



  • The Miami Herald, April 13, 2005, From Enemy to Possible Pope

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francisco Oves-Fernandez
Archbishop of San Cristóbal de la Habana
21 November 1981–present