Jean-Louis Tauran

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His Eminence
Jean-Louis Tauran
President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Jean-Louis Tauran Vienna 20121126.jpg
Predecessor Paul Poupard and Tarcisio Bertone
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine pro hac vice
Ordination 20 September 1969
by Marius-Félix-Antoine Maziers
Consecration 6 January 1991
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 21 October 2003
by Pope John Paul II
Rank Cardinal Priest
Personal details
Born (1943-04-05) 5 April 1943 (age 73)
Bordeaux, France
Nationality French
Denomination Catholic (Roman Rite)
Previous post
  • Secretary for Relations with States (1990–2003)
  • Librarian of the Holy Roman Church (2003–2007)
  • Titular Archbishop of Telephte (1990-2003)
  • Archivist of the Holy Roman Church (2003–2007)
  • Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals (2011–2014)
  • Veritate et Caritate
  • (For truth and for love)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Jean-Louis Tauran
Coat of arms of Jean-Louis Tauran.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Thelepte (titular see)

Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran (born 5 April 1943) is a French cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Roman Curia. He was made a cardinal in 2003 and was the Cardinal Protodeacon from 2011 to 2014. He has been the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church since 20 December 2014.


Born in Bordeaux, France, Tauran studied at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, earning licentiates in philosophy and theology and a doctorate in canon law. He also studied at Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome and Catholic University of Toulouse, France. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Marius Maziers on 20 September 1969 and worked as a curate in the Archdiocese of Bordeaux before entering the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1975. He was secretary of the nunciatures to the Dominican Republic (1975–1978) and to Lebanon (1979–1983). Tauran became an official of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church in 1983, and then participated in special missions in Haiti (1984), and Beirut and Damascus (1986). He was also a member of the Vatican delegation to the meetings of the Conference on European Security and Cooperation, Conference on Disarmament in Stockholm, and Cultural Forum in Budapest and later Vienna.

Cardinal Tauran suffers from Parkinson's disease.[1]

Secretary for Relations with States[edit]

On 1 December 1990, Tauran was appointed Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State and Titular Archbishop of Thélepte by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 1991 from John Paul II himself, with Archbishops Giovanni Battista Re and Justin Francis Rigali serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilica. As Secretary, Tauran essentially served as the foreign minister of the Vatican. In regards to the Iraqi conflict, he once emphasized the importance of dialogue and the United Nations,[2] and said that "a unilateral war of aggression would constitute a crime against peace and against the Geneva Conventions".[3]

Cardinal-Deacon, Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church[edit]

He was created Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Apollinare alle Terme by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 October 2003. On the following 24 November, he was named Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, overseeing the Vatican Secret Archives and Vatican Library.

In late 2003, Tauran drew attention to the "second-class" treatment of non-Muslims in "many Muslim countries," especially Saudi Arabia.[2] Representing the Pope, Tauran attended the March 2005 dedication of the new Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Tauran was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He was also one of the cardinal electors in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis. In the days prior to the 2013 conclave, the Vaticanologist John L. Allen, Jr. viewed Tauran as a "long-shot" papabile.[4] "On paper," Allen remarked, "Tauran profiles as virtually the perfect anti-candidate, meaning someone who really shouldn't be in the running at all: a history of health scares, a career bureaucrat with zero pastoral experience, and a delicate personality at a time when many cardinals are seeking a strong governor." As the Cardinal Protodeacon or senior Cardinal-Deacon at the 2013 conclave, he announced the election of the new Pope on 13 March 2013 and formally bestowed the pallium on the new pope at his papal inauguration on 19 March.

In his role as Protodeacon for the 2013 conclave Cardinal Tauran said that "people asked 'How do you prepare yourself for the Habemus Papam?' I'd say 'No, I'm preparing myself for the conclave.' The conclave is not like the parliament with a campaign. It's a spiritual meeting. You have to remember the conclave is a liturgical celebration particularly from the morning to the evening. It's a spiritual experience. It was very deep for me. It's the manifestation of the singularity of the Catholic Church. You can feel the richness of the life of the church and how the positive aspects are greater than the negative ones".[5]

Cardinal Tauran exercised his option to be promoted to cardinal-priest[a] and accordingly on 12 June 2014, Pope Francis elevated Tauran to the title of Cardinal-Priest.[6] He was succeeded as Protodeacon by Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino.[6]

President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue[edit]

In spite of having Parkinson's disease, Tauran was appointed as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on 25 June 2007, showing that the disease was not getting worse and he was able to handle more responsibility. He took over this position on 1 September 2007. In this post, he is also in charge of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims.

In addition to his duties as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he is a member of the Secretariat of State (Second Section); the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; the Congregation for Bishops; the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; the Pontifical Council for Culture; the Apostolic Signatura; the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, and the Cardinal Commission for the Supervision of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR).

He was a friend of Anglican Dr. John Andrew, former rector of St. Thomas Church in New York City (died 15 October, 2014). For the fiftieth anniversary of Andrew's ordination in late June 2007, Cardinal Tauran traveled to New York and served as a guest preacher.[2]

He was a friend of Anglican Dr. Roger Greenacre, former Precentor of Chichester Cathedral in England. For Greenacre's fiftieth anniversary of his ordination at Michaelmas (the Feast of the Archangel Saint Michael) of 2005, Cardinal Tauran traveled to Chichester and served as a guest preacher.[7] He was also present at Greenacre's Memorial Requiem in Chichester Cathedral on 23 September 2011.[8]

In an April 2012 message marking the upcoming Buddhist celebration of Vesakh, a feast commemorating the key events in the life of the Buddha, Tauran said that "Young people are an asset for all societies" and called for education about varieties of religious practice in order to allow them to "advance together as responsible human beings and to be ready to join hands with those of other religions to resolve conflicts and to promote friendship, justice, peace and authentic human development".[9]

He went on to describe his role as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, saying, "you have to remember that interreligious dialogue is not dialogue between religions. It's dialogue between believers. It's not a theological, philosophical exercise. First you have to accept that we live in a world that's plural: culture, religion, education, scientific research. Every human being has a religious dimension. Between believers we try first of all to know each other. And the first thing you have to do is to proclaim your faith because you can not build that dialogue on ambiguity. When we are understood, we have to see what separates us and what unites us and to put those commonalities at the service of society. Dialogue is not for the consumption of the community. It's at the service of society. And remember that man doesn't live only on bread. There are spiritual dimensions. Believers have a special role to play in the public dialogue".[5]

In June 2013 Pope Francis named Cardinal Tauran a member of the five-person Pontifical Commission investigating the Institute for the Works of Religion.[10]


Pope Francis named Tauran to replace Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on 20 December 2014.[11] Cardinal Tauran was sworn in as Camerlengo, in the presence of Pope Francis, on 9 March 2015.[12][13]


War in Iraq[edit]

Tauran was a "fierce critic of the United States" over questions of war and peace, according to the British Catholic journal, The Tablet, in an article published on 25 October 2003. He described the American-led invasion of Iraq as a "crime against peace" and a violation of international law if undertaken.[14] He asserted (in August, 2007) that the facts speak for themselves on Iraq, and that, paradoxically, Christians were better protected under Saddam Hussein.[15]

Interfaith relations[edit]

Each year the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a message, signed by its president, to Hindus for the feast of Diwali, which is celebrated during the month of October. In the 2009 message, Tauran called for the promotion of integral development, protection of human life and respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the person.[16]

The Council sends similar messages each year on the occasion of the feasts of Eid ul-Fitr (Islam) and Vesak (Buddhism).


In a breakfast meeting with journalists, in March, 2008, Tauran said Rowan Williams, the then-Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican) had been "mistaken and naive" for suggesting that some aspects of Sharia law in Britain were unavoidable.[17] He also said that he did not want an impression to grow that there are different classes of religion.[18]


  1. ^ Cardinal-deacons who have served ten years as cardinals may opt for the order of priests and be raised to the rank of cardinal-priest with either a new title or their deaconry elevated pro hac vice to a priest title.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Whispers in the Loggia. Tauran Around the City 25 June 2007
  3. ^ TIME Magazine. Fighting the Tide 2 March 2003
  4. ^ L. Allen Jr., John (3 March 2013). "Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b [1]
  6. ^ a b "Assegnazione del titolo presbiterale ad alcuni cardinali diaconi creati nel consistoro del 21 ottobre 2003" (in Italian). 12 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Tauran at Greenacre's 50th anniversary service
  8. ^ Tauran at Greenacre's Requiem
  9. ^ Wooden, Cindy (4 April 2012). "Youths' hopes spur dialogue among adults, cardinal tells Buddhists". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Pope sets up Pontifical Commission to study IOR reform". Vatican Radio. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  11. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (20 December 2014). "Francis names new Camerlengo, interim leader of Vatican at pope's death". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Card. Tauran a Fierce Critic of the US over Questions of War and Peace
  15. ^ Christians safer under Saddam, Vatican official says
  16. ^ Vatican: Cardinal sends message for Hindu holiday
  17. ^ Ex-diplomat Cardinal Tauran pulls no punches now
  18. ^ What the Cardinals believe

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
New office Undersecretary for Relations with States
1 March 1989 – 1 December 1990
Succeeded by
Claudio Maria Celli
Preceded by
Angelo Sodano
Secretary for Relations with States
1 December 1990 – 6 October 2003
Succeeded by
Giovanni Lajolo
Preceded by
Jorge María Mejía
Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
24 November 2003 – 25 June 2007
Succeeded by
Raffaele Farina, SDB
Archivist of the Holy Roman Church
24 November 2003 – 25 June 2007
Preceded by
Paul Poupard
President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
25 June 2007 – present
Preceded by
Agostino Cacciavillan
Cardinal Protodeacon
21 February 2011 – 12 June 2014
Succeeded by
Renato Raffaele Martino
Preceded by
Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
20 December 2014 – present