Michael Czerny

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Michael Czerny

Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
ChurchLatin Church
Appointed14 December 2016
Installed1 January 2017
Other postsCardinal-Deacon of San Michele Arcangelo a Pietralata (2019–)
Ordination9 June 1973
Consecration4 October 2019
by Pope Francis
Created cardinal5 October 2019
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Birth nameMichael F. Czerny
Born (1946-07-18) 18 July 1946 (age 73)
Brno, Czechoslovakia
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous postTitular Archbishop of Beneventum (2019)
Alma materGonzaga University
University of Chicago
Coat of armsMichael Czerny's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Michael Czerny
Priestly ordination
Date9 June 1973
PlaceRegis College, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorPope Francis
Co-consecratorsPietro Parolin (Sec. Stat.)
Peter Turkson (Pref. Dica. ad int. hum. prog. fov.)
Date4 October 2019
PlaceSt. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Elevated byPope Francis
Date5 October 2019
Source(s): [1][2]

Michael F. Czerny SJ (born 18 July 1946) is a Czechoslovakian-born Canadian Catholic priest, a member of the Jesuits, whose work in Latin America, Africa, and Rome has promoted social justice.

Pope Francis raised him to the rank of cardinal on 5 October 2019.


Michael Czerny was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on 18 July 1946. Following his 1963 graduation from Loyola High School in Montreal, Czerny joined the Jesuits on 14 August 1964. On 9 June 1973 he was ordained a priest for the Jesuit Province of Canada in Ontario. He obtained his doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Chicago in 1978.[3]

In 1979, Czerny founded the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto, where he was director until 1989. He then became vice president of the Central American University in San Salvador and Director of its Human Rights Institute. From 1992 to 2002, Czerny served in the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome. In 1992 he founded the African Jesuit AIDS Network while teaching at the Hekima University College in Nairobi until 2005. From 2005 to 2010, he taught at Hekima University College in Nairobi.[3] In 2009, he argued that condoms were ineffective in preventing the spread of HIV in Africa's general population, despite their success "outside Africa and amongst identifiable sub-groups (e.g. prostitutes, gay men)".[4][5]

From 2010 to 2016 Czerny worked in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace[3] as a consultant to Cardinal Peter Turkson.[6]

On 14 December 2016, Pope Francis appointed him as under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, effective 1 January 2017.[3] Discussing his new position, he called migration "one of the most important and urgent human phenomena of our times", adding: "There’s hardly a place in the planet which is not touched by this phenomenon. Indeed, though many are not aware of it, there are more people moving in Russia and China today than in any other part of the world.”[6] In October Francis named him a voting member of the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.[7]

In October 2018, desiring that people must not succumb to fear mongering and realize that the challenge of migration today is solvable, he said the rhetoric used to describe migration and refugee movements was misleading. He said: "It’s not a crisis. It’s a series of mismanagements and poor policies and self-interested manipulations. The numbers that we’re talking about, even on the total scale, are not at all that great."[8]

On 4 May 2019, Francis named him one of two Special Secretaries for the October 2019 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region.[9]

On 1 September 2019, Pope Francis announced he would make him a cardinal on 5 October 2019. Czerny was surprised by the announcement, which he heard in Guararema, Brazil, meeting with representatives of the landless workers movement to prepare for the synod.[10] In accordance with the norm that all cardinals should be bishops, Francis consecrated Czerny a bishop on 4 October, making him titular archbishop of Benevento.[11] The co-consecrators were Cardinals Pietro Parolin and Peter Turkson.[12]

On 5 October 2019, Pope Francis made him Cardinal Deacon of San Michele Arcangelo, Rome [it].[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pope Names 13 New Cardinals, Including Canadian Jesuit Father Michael Czerny". Jesuits of Canada. 1 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  2. ^ "The new Cardinals: New Cardinals created by Pope Francis at the 5 October Consistory" (PDF). L'Osservatore Romano. Vatican City. 11 October 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Rinunce e Nomine, 14.12.2016" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  4. ^ Reidy, Tim (25 March 2009). "Africa, AIDS & Condoms". America. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  5. ^ Czerny, Michael (29 November 2010). "An African View of Church and HIV" (Interview). Catholic Radio and Television Network. Retrieved 4 May 2019 – via Zenit.
  6. ^ a b O'Connell, Gerard (14 December 2016). "Pope Francis appoints Jesuit and Scalabrini priests to new Vatican department for refugees". Anerica. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  7. ^ Wooden, Cindy (17 September 2018). "Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees". America. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  8. ^ O'Loughlin, Michael J. (24 October 2018). "Vatican expert: Tone down the crisis rhetoric on human migration". America. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 04.05.2019" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Pope to create cardinals from 13 countries in October". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Ordinazione Episcopale conferita dal Santo Padre Francesco, 04.10.2019" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Il Papa ordina quattro nuovi vescovi: non rinnegate il popolo di Dio". Vatican News (in Italian). 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico: Assegnazione dei Titoli, 05.10.2019" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 5 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
Catholic Church titles
New office Under Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Preceded by
Javier Lozano Barragán
Cardinal-Deacon of San Michele Arcangelo a Pietralata
Preceded by
Konrad Krajewski
Archbishop of Beneventum
23 September 2019 – 5 October 2019