Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne

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His Eminence
Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne
Cardinal, Archbishop of Lima
Cardenal cipriani.JPG
Archdiocese Lima
See Lima
Appointed 9 January 1999
Predecessor Augusto Vargas Alzamora
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Camillo de Lellis
Member of Council for the Economy
Ordination 21 August 1977
Consecration 3 July 1988
by Juan Landázuri Ricketts
Created Cardinal 21 February 2001
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne
Born (1943-12-28) 28 December 1943 (age 73)
Lima, Peru
Nationality Peruvian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Enrique Cipriani Vargas
Isabel Thorne Larrabure
Previous post
Alma mater Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería
Coat of arms
Styles of
Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne
Coat of arms of Juan Luis Cipriani.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Lima

Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne (born 28 December 1943) is a Cardinal Priest and Archbishop of Lima in the Roman Catholic Church. He is one of two cardinals who are members of Opus Dei, the other being Julián Herranz Casado.


Cardinal Cipriani attended the Colegio Santa Maria Marianistas, a Catholic school, and as a young man he was a member of the Peruvian national basketball team for six years.[1] He studied industrial engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería in Lima, Peru.

As a Priest[edit]

After working as an engineer, he was ordained as a priest for the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei in 1977; he also holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarra. In his service to the church, he did pastoral work in Lima, taught at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology, and was regional vicar for Peru and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Piura.

In 1988, he was appointed titular Bishop of Turuzi and Auxiliary of Ayacucho, and was promoted to Archbishop of Ayacucho in 1995. During the 1996–1997 Japanese embassy hostage crisis, he attempted to negotiate a peaceful settlement, and ministered to Japanese and Peruvian hostages.

As Archbishop[edit]

Named Archbishop of Lima in 1999, Cipriani was proclaimed Cardinal-Priest of San Camillo de Lellis by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, with the title Cardinal-Priest of San Camillo de Lellis.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI, and was himself considered papabile — a possible successor to the papacy.[citation needed]

The cardinal is a member of the Personal Prelature Opus Dei; he was the first priest incardinated into Opus Dei to be made a cardinal. He is also Grand Chancellor of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. In 2008 he banned receiving Communion on the hand, instead ordering that the faithful take it on the tongue. He said that "the relaxed attitude of many priests" was to blame for a decline in reverence for the Eucharist among the faithful. [1]

On 19 July 2011, he was named as a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America by Pope Benedict XVI.

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

On 8 March 2014, he was named by Pope Francis to serve as a Cardinal Member of the new Council for Economic Affairs, the board which will supervise the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, a newly established financial regulatory department for all agencies of the Roman Curia.[2]



In 1997, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), in Lima, barred a gay student organisation from holding any events. The organisation, Parenthesis Collective (Colectivo Paréntesis), was formed by two third-year students, Rodrigo Vecco and Bernardo Nieuwland. In addition, the university distributed a pamphlet, “Sexual Identity: Is It Possible to Choose?” which described homosexuality as a curable illness. The pamphlet was prepared at the request of the university’s chancellor, Cardinal Cipriani.

In 2005, during a Mass marking the 36th anniversary of Ricardo Palma University, Cipriani commented on the recent legalisation of homosexual unions in Spain. He denounced the existence of a worldwide campaign that sells “damaged goods,” calling a relationship that is “not between a man a woman” marriage, and he warned that by legalising homosexual unions, society is disfigured. He warned that, “In today’s world, evil disguises itself as good, it is imposed on others, and woe to him who does not accept it!”. The cardinal called on the faithful not to refer to relationships that “are not between a man and a woman” as marriage.

“Call it what you want but don’t sell damaged goods, don’t traffic in that dictatorship of moral relativism in which there is nothing good, only opinions and trends of thought.”

In March 2007, PUCP filed a lawsuit against Mr. Walter Muñoz Cho, who was appointed to the board of directors by Cardinal Cipriani. In 2010 legal proceedings between the Archdiocese and the PUCP began on the issue of autonomy of senior academic appointments and the University's property rights.

Relations with the Jesuits[edit]

Without any proof, he was also accused of hampering the efforts of Jesuit human rights workers in Ayacucho while he was the Archbishop of that troubled province of Peru, while many filmed testimonies speak on the contrary (cf. Human Rights section below).

Capital punishment[edit]

Cipriani has considered that conditions in Peru argue for the permissibility of capital punishment in certain very limited cases, where the criminal poses to society a real threat that probably cannot be safely contained by less severe means, including life imprisonment without parole. For example, shortly after the capture of violent revolutionary Abimael Guzmán, Cardinal Cipriani Thorne expressed an opinion that the Shining Path leader should be executed. He referred to Peruvians who opposed the institution of the death penalty as "cowards".[3]

Human rights[edit]

Since the early 1980s Cardinal Cipriani has been accused with alleged accusations of not defending human rights: in contrast to his predecessor, the Jesuit Augusto Vargas Alzamora, he has been accused of not giving heed to claims of human rights abuses purportedly committed by Peruvian state forces during the 1980s and 1990s. However these accusations have not been proven.


Cipriani has a history of lobbying against women's rights and making sexist remarks about women in writing and in public. Most recently in a televised discussion about abortion on the program Diálogos de fe, he explained that women are responsible for their own rapes, saying that "Statistics tell us that girls get abortions, but it is not because these girls were violated, but because, often, the woman puts herself on provoking display."[4]


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Augusto Vargas Alzamora
Archbishop of Lima
9 January 1999–incumbent
Succeeded by