January 5, 2000
volume 11, no. 3

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    Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

141.   Cardinal Josef Tomko
    Serving as Prefect for the influential Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for the past fifteen years, Cardinal Josef Tomko has been a steady influence in the curia and to religions around the world in their relationship to the Church. He was born on March 11, 1924 in Udavske, Slovakia. Matriculating to the seminary in his home diocese of Kosice, he became a priest a day after his 25th birthday he was ordained a priest. His Bishop sent him to Rome to study where he obtained degrees in Theology, Canon Law and Social Sciences from the Pontifical Lateran University and the Gregorian. In 1966 he began his long curial experience when Pope Paul VI appointed him the head of the Doctrinal Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He steadily learned the ropes in various curial offices including the Secretary of State. On July 12, 1979 Paul VI named him Titular Archbishop of Doclea and he was ordained and installed on September 15, 1979. That same year he was appointed Secretary-General for the Synod of Bishops, a position he held until 1985.

    In Pope John Paul II's Consistory of May 25, 1985 he was elevated to the Sacred Conclave, receiving his red-hat and the titular church of St. Sabina. His new status also translated to a new title - Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Since that time he has worked overtime in communicating and working with leaders of other religions and heads of state. He has been highly visible in representing the Holy Father and the Holy See throughout the world. His curial membership is extensive including participation in the Secretary of State in the Second Section, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for Catholic Education. In addition, he is active in the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts plus the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. He is also the Grand Chancelor of the Pontifical Urban University, a post he has held since his promotion to the College of Cardinals.

    Were it not for his age, he might be a serious consideration for next Pope but he will be 76 in two months and it is highly doubtful another Slav would be elected in the near future. He has been a loyal subject and a huge asset to the Holy Father and the curial offices. Few cardinals have as much experience as Cardinal Josef Tomko.


January 3, 2000
volume 10, no. 1

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