Paul Poupard

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Paul Cardinal Poupard in 2015

Paul Joseph Jean Poupard (born 30 August 1930 in Bouzillé, Maine-et-Loire) is a French Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who has been President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and also of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1985.

Styles of
Paul Poupard
Coat of arms of Paul Poupard.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Santa Prassede (titular)


Poupard was born in Bouzillé, Maine-et-Loire, and raised in a very Catholic family and culture. Heavily influenced by his pastor, to whom Poupard credits his vocation, he studied at the minor seminary in Beaupréau, University of Angers, and École Pratique des Hautes Études of the Sorbonne (from where he obtained his doctorates in theology and history). Poupard was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Stanislas Courbe on 18 December 1954, and then taught at the Mongazon School. After entering the French section of the Secretariat of State in 1959, he was raised to the rank of Chaplain of His Holiness on 20 March 1965, and of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on 29 November 1971. Poupard was Rector of the Institut Catholique de Paris from 1972 to 1980, and also served as Vice-President of the Society of French Ecclesiastical History.

On 2 February 1979, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Paris and Titular Bishop of Usula. Poupard received his episcopal consecration on the following 6 April from Cardinal François Marty, with Archbishop André Pailler and Bishop Jean Orchampt serving as co-consecrators, in the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A year and a half later, in 1980, he received a position in the Roman Curia, the Holy See's governing body, as Pro-President of the Secretariat for Non-Believers, later (in 1988) renamed the Pontifical Council for Culture. In 1985, his title was changed to president, on his becoming Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eugenio. After the sede vacante period that followed the death of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI immediately reappointed him to the same position and on 11 March 2006 also named him President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Poupard has been interested in the relationships between faith and reason, Church and state, and science and religion from an early age. He is an accomplished scholar and author. Some of his writings have been translated into languages including Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. He holds doctorates in theology and history from the Sorbonne, as well as honorary doctorates from at the Universities of Aix-en-Provence, Fu Jen, Louvain, Kyoto, Santiago de Chile, Puebla de los Angeles and the Babes-Bolyai University/Cluj-Napoca.

In 1996 he was appointed Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prassede. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. Having reached the age of 80 on 30 August 2010, he had lost his active memberships in the Roman Curia and did not participate in the 2013 papal conclave that was convened after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's resignation, which selected Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, now Pope Francis. He retains the right to participate in pre- and post-conclave discussions, and to give his advice and counsel to the Pope and the Roman Curia.

On Tuesday, 16 June 2015, Pope Francis appointed him to serve as his Special Envoy to the Millennium Celebration of the Foundation of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, scheduled for Saturday, 15 August 2015.[1][2]

In September 2007 he was replaced as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and as President of the Pontifical Council for Culture by Gianfranco Ravasi, at that time Prefect of the Ambrosian Library.


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gabriel-Marie Garrone
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
19 April 1988 – 3 September 2007
Succeeded by
Gianfranco Ravasi
Preceded by
Michael L. Fitzgerald
President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
11 March 2006 – 1 September 2007
Succeeded by
Jean-Louis Tauran