Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez

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His Most Reverend Eminence

Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez
Archbishop Emeritus of Santo Domingo
Primate Emeritus of America
Cardenal Nicolás de Jesús López - Pascua 2013 - 4.jpg
ArchdioceseSanto Domingo
ProvinceSanto Domingo
Appointed15 November 1981
Term ended4 July 2016
PredecessorOctavio Antonio Beras Rojas
SuccessorFrancisco Ozoria Acosta
Other postsCardinal-Priest of San Pio X alla Balduina (1991-)
Ordination18 March 1961
by Francisco Panal Ramírez
Consecration25 February 1978
by Octavio Antonio Beras Rojas
Created cardinal28 June 1991
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Birth nameNicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez
Born (1936-10-31) 31 October 1936 (age 83)
Barranca, La Vega, Dominican Republic
DenominationCatholic (Roman Rite)
Previous post
  • Bishop of San Francisco de Macorís (1978–81)
  • Military Vicar of the Dominican Republic (1982-86)
  • President of the Dominican Episcopal Conference (1984-2002)
  • Military Ordinary of the Dominican Republic (1986-2017)
  • President of the Dominican Episcopal Conference (2009-14)
Alma materPontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas
MottoFortes in fide
SignatureNicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez's signature
Coat of armsNicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez's coat of arms
Styles of
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez
Coat of arms of Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeSanto Domingo
Cardinal López during the Easter mass in 2013.

Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [nikoˈlaz ðe xeˈsus ˈlopez roˈðɾiɣes]; born 31 October 1936) is the archbishop emeritus of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Early years[edit]

He was ordained on 18 March 1961 by Francisco Panal Ramírez OFM, bishop of La Vega. He served as Vicar cooperator of the cathedral of La Vega, 1961–1963. Further studies in Rome, 1963–1965. Chancellor and secretary of the diocesan curia of La Vega, 1966–1968. Further studies, Rome, 1968–1969. In the diocese of La Vega, 1969–1978, diocesan assessor for the pastoral of the youth and pastor of the cathedral, 1969–1970. Vicar for the pastoral and pro-vicar general, 1970–1976. Vicar general, 1976–1978.

At the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum he earned a licentiate in social science in 1965.[1]

Besides his native Spanish, he speaks Italian, English, German, Portuguese and Latin.


He was appointed bishop of San Francisco de Macorís on 16 January 1978 by Pope Paul VI and was consecrated on 25 February 1978 by Cardinal Octavio Antonio Beras Rojas, archbishop of Santo Domingo, assisted by Juan Antonio Flores Santana, bishop of La Vega, and by Jesús María De Jesús Moya, auxiliary of Santiago de los Caballeros. He served as rector of the University of San Francisco de Macorís from 1979 to 1984. He was promoted to the metropolitan and primatial see of Santo Domingo on 15 November 1981. He was elected president of the Conference of the Dominican Episcopate in July 1984 and served as President of the Latin American Episcopal Council from 25 April 1991 to 1994. He was created Cardinal and assigned the titular church of San Pio X alla Balduina in the consistory of 28 June 1991.

He participated as cardinal elector in the papal conclaves of 2005[citation needed] and 2013.[2] When he reached age 80 in 2016, he became a non-elector.

He held the title of "Primate of America", because the diocese of Santo Domingo was the first erected in the New World.[3]

Pope Francis accepted his resignation on 4 July 2016, naming Francisco Ozoria Acosta, Bishop of San Pedro de Macorís, to succeed him.[4] At the time his resignation was accepted, Lopez Rodríguez had rarely been seen in public for several months.[5] He broke his silence early in September by writing an open letter apologizing to anyone he had offended while Archbishop. He said he felt no bitterness toward those who disagreed with him and professed joy at his successor's appointment.[6]

Ozoria Acosta also succeeded Lopez Rodriguez as Ordinary of the Military Bishopric of Dominican Republic on January 2, 2017.[7]


López Rodríguez organized a meeting of the Latin American bishops held in Santo Domingo in 1992, which was a showcase for his very traditional views, described as "temporalist and pyramidal" by veteran Vatican observer Giancarlo Zizola. He tends to support the integralist view that the organic relationship of social classes supersedes social differentiation and social conflicts. He has advocated adding the Catholic feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, to the national holidays celebrated in the Dominican Republic.[8]

Recall of nuncio accused of sexual abuse[edit]

In July 2013, López Rodríguez reported to Pope Francis personally that the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic was rumored to have engaged in the sexual abuse of minors, which resulted in the nuncio's recall.[9] He continued for several weeks to praise the nuncio, Józef Wesołowski, in public and say that his recall was routine.[10] By the second week of September he asked the civil authorities to investigate the matter with "determination".[11]


During a 27 June 2013 interview, responding to a question about Barack Obama's appointment of Wally Brewster, an openly gay man, as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic (D.R.), Lopez Rodriguez expressed his opposition to the appointment of a homosexual ambassador and said it was an attempt to promote the approval of same-sex marriages in the D.R. Moments later, when asked about problems between Haiti and the D.R. resulting from Haiti's claim that bird flu could be found in the D.R., Cardinal López Rodríguez laughed and said: "After talking about faggots and lesbians, now we'll talk about chickens".[12][13][14][15][16] In the Dominican Republic, the word pájaro (bird) is used to refer pejoratively to a male homosexual.[17]

In June 2014, after Brewster and his husband released a video promoting the celebration of June as Gay Pride Month, Lopez Rodriguez said "Diplomacy is not for that sort of thing, an absolutely negative propaganda" and that Brewster should “take his gay pride elsewhere".[18] In December 2015, a week after Brewster criticized corruption in the Dominican Republic, Lopez Rodriguez said "That man [Brewster] needs to go back to his embassy. Let him focus on housework, since he's the wife to a man."[19] These remarks were criticised by the US State Department. US Senator Dick Durbin asked Pope Francis to ask Rodriguez to treat Brewster with respect, citing the Pope's comments on the need to respect the dignity of all.[20]


  1. ^ "López Rodríguez Card. Nicolás de Jesús". Vatican Press Office. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. ^ "List of Cardinal Electors". Zenit. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  3. ^ "A hundred years of the ecclesiastical Province: a feast with our eyes on the country's situation". Managua: (Official Vatican Network). 4 December 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2014. The Special Envoy of Pope Francis, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, presided at the Mass concelebrated by the Bishops from Central America and priests from Nicaragua. (...) The Archbishop of Managua, His Exc. Mgr. Leopoldo Brenes, said: "It is a blessing to have in our celebration the Cardinal Primate of America, because it was in Santo Domingo that the work of evangelization in Latin America began.
  4. ^ "El papa Francisco nombra sucesor de López Rodríguez". Diario Libre (in Spanish). 4 July 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ Ivereigh, Austen (4 July 2016). "Pope Francis Presses Shake-up of World's Bishops with DR Pick". CRUX. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Cardinal apologizes for offending individuals and groups". Dominican Today. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  7. ^ "El papa nombra a Ozoria Acosta ordinario militar de la República Dominicana". Listin Diario (in Spanish). 2 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  8. ^ Who Will Be the Next Pope?
  9. ^ "Vatican to cooperate in Dominican Republic pedophilia investigation". Reuters. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Cardenal destaca gestión de nuncio". La Républica (in Spanish). 28 August 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Vatican willing to hand over accused nuncio to civil authorities". Catholic News Agency. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  12. ^ Polanco, Wendy (27 June 2013). "Video: El Cardenal López Rodríguez le entra a los americanos y a los haitianos al mismo tiempo" (in Spanish). Hola Políticia. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  13. ^ José Tomás Paulino (1 July 2013). "El púdico grito de las sotanas". El Acento (in Spanish). Santo Domingo. Retrieved 4 July 2013. Ahora saltamos de maricones y lesbianas a hablar de pollos
  14. ^ "Cardenal López Rodríguez también rechaza la designación de embajador gay para RD". La Razón (in Spanish). Santo Domingo. El Caribe. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  15. ^ Zapata, Rosanny (27 June 2013). "Cardenal rechaza presencia embajador Gay y truena contra gobierno Haitiano" (in Spanish). Santo Domingo. Noticias Telemicro. Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  16. ^ Pérez, Sara (3 July 2013). "Los maricones del cardenal López Rodríguez". El Acento (in Spanish). Santo Domingo. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  17. ^ Colonial Tour & Travel, Terminologías Dominicanas (in Spanish)
  18. ^ "Biden lauds Dominican leader as top Catholic again slams gay U.S. envoy". Dominican Today. 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  19. ^ Corcino, Panky (2 December 2015). "Dominican cardinal calls gay US official a 'wife' in spat". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  20. ^ Daly, Matthew (15 December 2015). "Senator urges Pope Francis to defend gay US official in dispute with Dominican cardinal". US News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 24 December 2015.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
New creation Bishop of San Francisco de Macorís
Succeeded by
Jesús María de Jesús Moya
Preceded by
Octavio Beras Rojas
Archbishop of Santo Domingo
Succeeded by
Francisco Ozoria Acosta