Roberto González Nieves

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Roberto Octavio González Nieves

Archbishop of San Juan
Archbishop Roberto González Nieves.jpg
ArchdioceseSan Juan
AppointedMarch 26, 1999
InstalledMay 8, 1999
PredecessorLuis Aponte Martínez
OrdinationMay 8, 1977
by Lorenzo Michele Joseph Graziano
ConsecrationOctober 3, 1988
by Bernard Francis Law, John O'Connor, and Luis Aponte Martinez
Personal details
Born (1950-06-02) June 2, 1950 (age 71)
Elizabeth, New Jersey
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Alma materSiena College
Washington Theological Union
Fordham University
Styles of
Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves
Coat of arms of Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves.svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop

Roberto Octavio González Nieves, O.F.M. (born June 2, 1950), is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico and the current Archbishop of San Juan.


Early life and education[edit]

He received his elementary education at Academia Santa Monica in Santurce, a district of San Juan. For his secondary education, he attended St. Joseph Seraphic Minor Seminary in Callicoon, New York. He then studied at and graduated from Siena College in Loudonville, New York. Formally accepted as a candidate for the Franciscan Order at Christ House in Lafayette, New Jersey, in 1970, the following year he entered the novitiate of the Order at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he professed his first vows in 1972.[1] González earned the degree of Master of Sacred Theology at the Washington Theological Coalition (now Washington Theological Union) in Silver Spring, Maryland. He also holds a doctorate in sociology from Fordham University. He authored The Hispanic Catholic in the United States: a Socio-Cultural and Religious Profile. He has received an honorary doctorate from the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana.


On May 8, 1977, González was ordained a priest, and, in 1982, he was assigned to serve at St. Pius V Parish in the South Bronx, before going to Holy Cross Church, also in the Bronx. In 1986, he was appointed pastor of that parish. He remained there until 1988.

Auxiliary Bishop of Boston[edit]

On July 19, 1988, he was named by the Holy See as an auxiliary bishop of the Boston, serving under Cardinal Bernard Francis Law. González became popular with the Hispanic community of the region.

Bishop of Corpus Christi[edit]

On May 16, 1995, González was appointed as coadjutor bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi, in which post he served until 1997, when he succeeded as bishop of the diocese. As in Boston, González Nieves was very popular with the Hispanic community.

Archbishop of San Juan[edit]

On March 26, 1999, González Nieves was appointed archbishop of San Juan by Pope John Paul II.[2] He was installed as archbishop on May 8 in a ceremony that was attended by many of his friends from Corpus Christi, New York and Boston. Other people who attended included the then mayor of San Juan and future Governor of Puerto Rico Sila Calderón, former Governor Carlos Romero Barceló, as well as other Puerto Rican political figures.

The ceremony also marked the retirement of Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez, who had been the Archbishop of San Juan since 1965.[3] Aponte Martínez observed that the ceremony marked the first time in history that a Puerto Rican archbishop had handed the see over to another Puerto Rican archbishop.

Almost immediately, González Nieves raised his profile across the island. As archbishop, he has articulated outspoken and often controversial views, particularly in defense of the Navy-Vieques protests and in his denunciation of homosexuality, among other things.[4] His actions in the Vieques Protests have gained international notoriety, and he has been viewed as a strong Latin-American leader of the Catholic Church.

He has proclaimed his pride in being Puerto Rican, asked the Government to work hard to preserve the national identity of Puerto Ricans, and criticized political corruption in Puerto Rico.[5]

During the spring of 2006, along with several Protestant leaders, he was instrumental in persuading Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Senate President Kenneth McClintock, and House Speaker José Aponte Hernández to resolve Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis, which had sparked a two-week-long government shutdown.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cheney, David. "Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves, O.F.M." Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  2. ^ "With His People". Catholic New York. Archived from the original on September 22, 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Metropolitan Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico". GCatholic. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  4. ^ Vidal, Jose. "A Government Cannot Oblige Religions to Go Against Their Convictions (Part 1)". Zenit. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  5. ^ Martin, Michelle. "Archbishop visits to cement bonds". Catholic New World. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Archbishop Becomes Referee". HNP Today. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Luis Aponte Martínez
Archbishop of San Juan
Succeeded by
Preceded by
René Henry Gracida
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Edmond Carmody
Preceded by
Coadjutor Bishop of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
Succeeded by