Santos Abril y Castelló

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Santos Abril y Castelló
Archpriest emeritus, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The cardinal in 2013.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed21 November 2011
Term ended28 December 2016
PredecessorBernard Francis Law
SuccessorStanislaw Rylko
Other post(s)Cardinal priest of San Ponziano, Titular Archbishop of Tamada
Ordination19 March 1960
Consecration16 June 1985
by Agostino Casaroli
Created cardinal18 February 2012
by Benedict XVI
  • Cardinal deacon (2012–22)
  • Cardinal priest (2022–present)
Personal details
Santos Abril y Castelló

(1936-09-21) 21 September 1936 (age 87)
Alfambra, Spain
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoPro Ecclesia cum Petro
Coat of armsSantos Abril y Castelló's coat of arms
Styles of
Santos Abril y Castelló
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Santos Abril y Castelló (born 21 September 1935) is a Spanish prelate of the Catholic Church.[1] After a career in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See, he held a number of positions in the Roman Curia and from 2011 to 2016 was Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.


Abril y Castelló was born in Alfambra, Spain, on 21 September 1935.[2] He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Teruel and Albarracín on 19 March 1960. In 1961, he went to Rome to study and obtained a doctorate in social sciences at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome.[3]

Joining he diplomatic service of the Holy See, he worked in Pakistan, Turkey and the Second Section of the Secretariat of State in Rome. On 29 April 1985, Pope John Paul II named him Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia and Titular Archbishop of Tamada. He received his episcopal consecration on 16 June 1985 from Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli. Pope John Paul named him apostolic pro-nuncio to Cameroon, to Gabon, and to Equatorial Guinea on 2 October 1989[4] and nuncio to Yugoslavia on 24 February 1996.[5] On 4 March 2000 he named him nuncio to Argentina.[2] On 9 April 2003, he named him nuncio to both Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina,[6] to which he added the title nuncio to Macedonia on 12 April.[7]

On 22 January 2011, Pope Benedict named him Vice-Camerlengo of the Apostolic Chamber, the official responsible controlling access to papal conclaves and overseeing their operations.

On 2 April 2011 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Bishops.[8]

On 21 November 2011 he was named Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.[9]

On 18 February 2012 Pope Benedict raised him to the rank of cardinal,[10] making him Cardinal-Deacon of San Ponziano.[11]

On 21 April 2012 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.[12]

On 23 July 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata to succeed him as Vice-Camerlengo.[13]

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis. The day before the election of Pope Francis, La Stampa named Abril y Costello as a possible candidate for the papacy because he combined experience in both Latin American and the Roman Curia. The newspaper also reported that before the conclave Abril served as a mediator in discussions between factions of cardinals representing Latin America and others looking for a pope from outside the Curia.[14]

On 15 January 2014, he was named to a five-year term as a member of the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank,[15] and on 4 March 2014, the members of that Commission elected him as their president.[16]

His curial appointments ended when he reached the age of 80, as did his right to vote in a papal conclave.

On 28 December 2016, Pope Francis accepted his resignation as Archpriest and appointed Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko to succeed him.[17]

On 4 March 2022, he was elevated to the rank of cardinal priest.[18]


  1. ^ "Cardinals Created by Benedict XVI (2012)". Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Rinunce e Nomine, 04.03.2000" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 March 2000. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Ex-alunni 1950-1999, Pontificia Accademia Ecclesiastica". Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  4. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXXXI. 1989. p. 1272. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  5. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXXXVIII. 1996. p. 302. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 09.04.2003" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 12.04.2003" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 12 April 2003. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  8. ^ "New Member Named to Bishops' Congregation". ZENIT. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  9. ^ Delaney, Sarah (21 November 2011). "Vatican replaces Cardinal Law as archpriest of Rome basilica". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Names of new cardinals elevated by Pope Benedict". Reuters. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  11. ^ Pentin, Edward (18 February 2012). "Pope Creates 22 New Cardinals". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Santa Sede: Il Toscano Mons. Pier Luigi Celata Nominato Vice Camerlengo di Santa Romana Chiesa". Toscana Oggi (in Italian). 23 July 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  14. ^ Galeazzi, Giacomo (12 March 2013). "Conclave, quelle prove d'intesa tra Roma e Sud America". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  15. ^ Gagliarducci, Andrea (16 January 2014). "New members of the Vatican bank cardinals' commission named". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Cardenal Santos Abril y Castelló elegido presidente de la Comisión Cardenalicia del 'Banco' del Vaticano" (in Italian). Aci Prensa. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 28.12.2016" (in Italian). Vatican Press Office. 28 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Ordinary Public Consistory for the vote on some Causes for Canonization" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia
29 April 1985 – 2 October 1989
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Cameroon
2 October 1989 – 24 February 1996
Succeeded by
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Gabon
2 October 1989 – 24 February 1996
Succeeded by
Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Equatorial Guinea
2 October 1989 – 24 February 1996
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Yugoslavia
24 February 1996 – 4 March 2000
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina
4 March 2000 – 9 April 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 April 2003 – 21 November 2005
Succeeded by
Apostolic Nuncio to Macedonia
9 April 2003 – 22 January 2011
Succeeded by
Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia
9 April 2003 – 22 January 2011
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Antônio Carlos Mesquita
Titular Archbishop of Tamada
29 April 1985 – 18 February 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice-Camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera
22 January 2011 – 23 July 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
21 November 2011 – 28 December 2016
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Deacon of San Ponziano
18 February 2012 –
Position created President of the Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for Works of Religion
4 March 2014 –