Renato Martino

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His Eminence
Renato Raffaele Martino
Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals
Sua eminenza Renato Raffaele Martino (cropped).jpg
Appointed 12 June 2014
Predecessor Jean-Louis Tauran
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of S. Francesco di Paola ai Monti
Ordination 20 June 1957
by Demetrio Moscato
Consecration 14 December 1980
by Agostino Casaroli
Created Cardinal 21 October 2003
by Pope John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Renato Raffaele Martino
Born (1932-11-23) 23 November 1932 (age 84)
Salerno, Italy
Nationality Italian and Vatican
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Alma mater Pontifical Gregorian University, Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
Motto Virtus ex Alto ("Power from on high")
Coat of arms
Styles of
Renato Martino
Coat of arms of Renato Martino.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Renato Raffaele Martino (born 23 November 1932) is an Italian Cardinal Deacon and president Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He is notable for representing the Holy See in the United Nations. Since 12 June 2014, he is the current Protodeacon.

Early life[edit]

Born in Salerno, Martino was ordained as a priest in 1957. He holds a doctorate in Canon law and is fluent in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

After finishing his studies, Martino entered the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1962, serving in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Lebanon, Canada, and Brazil.

Apostolic Nuncio[edit]

In 1980, Martino was named apostolic pro-nuncio to Thailand and Singapore and apostolic delegate to Laos and Malaysia and was named Archbishop of the titular see of Segerme. In 1983, he was named apostolic delegate to Brunei Darussalam, while retaining his other posts.

In 1986, he was appointed Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. He was on duty during the United States invasion of Panama, when president Noriega had taken refuge at the Vatican embassy.

In 1991, he opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq and was later critical of state sanctions against Iraq. In 1992, he participated at the UN Conference for the environment in Rio de Janeiro, speaking about the centrality of the human person.

In June 1994, Martino demanded at the UN that a safe haven be created for Tutsi refugees in Rwanda in order to save over 30 000 lives in Kabgayi.[1]

In September 1994, he was the official spokesman for the Holy See at the International Conference on Population and Development.

Archbishop Martino was Pope John Paul II's official representative at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, and he had the task of defending the Church's pro-life teachings before a European-American bloc that strongly supported abortion on demand. Martino was able to find support from Latin-American and Arab countries that were anti-abortion, and the Cairo conference was ultimately inconclusive.

Later in 1995, he participated at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, echoing John Paul's positions in his letter to women. He has been on diplomatic mission to Côte d'Ivoire to settle disputes there.

President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace[edit]

On 1 October 2002, Martino was named President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He became a member of the College of Cardinals in 2003. Martino was named President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants on 11 March 2006.

Martino was elevated to the College of Cardinals in the consistory of 21 October 2003 becoming Cardinal-Deacon of S. Francesco di Paola ai Monti. Martino was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Concerning the case of Terri Schiavo, Martino publicly intervened in order to save Terri, to no avail.[2]

On 6 November 2006, after the death sentence had been passed on Saddam Hussein, Martino said that:

...punishing a crime with another crime – which is what killing for vengeance is – would mean that we are still at the point of demanding an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...

He pleaded for clemency for Hussein and called for a peace conference aimed at solving all the major conflicts in the Middle East and reiterated his position that invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led coalition was wrong.

Cardinal Martino has taken a great interest in automobiles and has proclaimed the Ten Commandments for Drivers. He has collaborated with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

On the topic of genetically modified organisms, he has advocated a cautious use of GMOs, asserting that they may indeed help feed the hungry, although they will most likely not solve all food problems on earth.

On 14 June 2007, Martino urged Catholics to withhold donations to Amnesty International in response to the group's decision to advocate in favor of access to abortion in rare cases, which placed Amnesty in conflict with the Catholic view of the human fetus as a rights-holder.

Later in 2007, he participated in the Annapolis conference on peace in the Holy Land. He has led high-level diplomatic talks between Israelis and Palestinians, and has much experience in Mideast diplomacy. He has represented the Vatican view of moral equivalence and has said that both sides are "guilty" and that it is "necessary to separate them, like two fighting siblings are separated", and make them "sit down to negotiate."[3]

Speaking on the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict Cardinal Martino said that "The consequences of egoism are hatred, poverty and injustice. It's always the unarmed populations who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza – more and more, it resembles a huge concentration camp."


On 23 November 2007 at the age of 75, Cardinal Martino sent his resignation to Pope Benedict. On 28 February 2009, Pope Benedict relieved Cardinal Martino of the presidency of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and appointed Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, who had been Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, to the post. [2] On 24 October 2009, Pope Benedict named as successor to Cardinal Martino as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Cardinal Peter Turkson, formerly Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana. [3] Cardinal Martino remains a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

In July 2010, Cardinal Martino assumed the position of Honorary President of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, a Rome-based organisation established to promote human dignity 'based on the recognition that man is made in the image and likeness of God.' [4]

In November 2010 Cardinal Martino was appointed by Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro as Grand Prior of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. On 25 June 2012 Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro appointed him as Knight of the Illustrious Royal Order of Saint Januarius.

On 8 October 2011, he was named special papal envoy to the celebration of the centenary of the cathedral of Yangon, Burma, programmed for 8 December 2011. Cardinal Martino was to meet Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi, a Buddhist, who was to be in attendance. Representatives of all religions in Burma, where Catholics represent only around one percent of the population, were invited to the event, when Martino was to read a message from Pope Benedict XVI. The envoy was then to have lunch with local clergy and "special guests". The pope called on Martino to transmit "a message of goodwill" to political and religious authorities in Myanmar, where the military dictatorship has made a number of gestures of greater openness in recent months.[4]

On 23 November 2012, Renato Raffaele Martino turned 80 years old and lost the right to participate in a papal conclave[5] and so did not participate in the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis. However, Cardinal Martino was one of the six cardinals who made the public act of obedience on behalf of the College of Cardinals to the new pope at his papal inauguration.[a][6][7]

On 12 June 2014, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the incumbent Cardinal Protodeacon, was elevated to the rank of Cardinal-Priest, and Cardinal Martino, as the next senior cardinal deacon, succeeded him as the new Protodeacon, having refused to be elevated to the rank of Cardinal-Priest.[8] As Cardinal Martino, due to his age, cannot participate at the time of the next papal conclave, the announcement of the election of a successor to Pope Francis will be made by cardinal Leonardo Sandri.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The other five cardinals were Giovanni Battista Re, Tarcisio Bertone, Joachim Meisner, Jozef Tomko and Francesco Marchisano. Cardinals Re and Bertone represented the cardinal-bishops; Cardinals Meisner and Tomko represented the cardinal-priests while Cardinal Marchisano along with Cardinal Martino himself represented the cardinal-deacons.


  1. ^ Vatican Asks U.N. for 'Safe Area' in Rwanda
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ ZENIT article
  4. ^ Vatican envoy to meet Suu Kyi in Myanmar this week
  5. ^ "MARTINO, Renato Raffaele". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  6. ^ Rolandi, Luca (2013-03-19). "Il giorno di Papa Francesco: La messa di inizio pontificato in Piazza San Pietro" (in Italian). Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  7. ^ Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate (Vatican video of Pope Francis' papal inauguration on YouTube
  8. ^ "Assegnazione del titolo presbiterale ad alcuni cardinali diaconi creati nel consistoro del 21 ottobre 2003" (in Italian). 2014-06-12. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Silvio Luoni
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Thailand and to Singapore,
Apostolic Delegate to Laos and to Malaysia

14 September 1980 – 3 December 1986
Succeeded by
Alberto Tricarico
Preceded by
Apostolic Delegate to Brunei Darussalam
1983–3 December 1986
Succeeded by
Adriano Bernardini
Preceded by
Giovanni Cheli
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
3 December 1986 – 1 October 2002
Succeeded by
Celestino Migliore
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Nguyen Van Thuan
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
1 October 2002 – 24 October 2009
Succeeded by
Peter Turkson
Preceded by
Pietro Pavan
Cardinal-Deacon of San Francesco di Paola ai Monti
21 October 2003–present
Preceded by
Stephen Fumio Hamao
President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples
11 March 2006 – 28 February 2009
Succeeded by
Antonio Maria Vegliò
Preceded by
Jean-Louis Tauran
Cardinal Protodeacon
12 June 2014–present