DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     July 26, 1999     vol. 10, no. 138


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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.

79.   Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo

          Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo has long been a fixture in the Roman Curia, presently serving as Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life for the past seven years. He was born in the tiny village of Banos de Rio Tobia, Spain on March 31, 1927 and ordained a priest on the Feast of Saint Joseph - March 19, 1950 in Rome after acquiring degrees in Theology and Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Six years after more studies, some pastoral work and teaching, he was assigned to the Secretariat of State as Counselor by Pope Pius XII. A year later he was appointed head of the the Secretariat of State's Spanish division. On April 25, 1970 Pope Paul VI named him Counsellor of the Apostolic Delegation in Great Britain where he remained until November 12, 1975 when the Pope made him a bishop, giving him the titular episcopacy of Tagora and installing him as Archbishop and Nuncio to Colombia on December 13, 1975.

          On March 5, 1979 Pope John Paul II recalled him to Rome assigning him Deputy to the Secretary of State where he remained until the Holy Father elevated him to the cardinalate in His Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he received the red-hat and the titular church of Most Holy Name of Jesus as protodeacon. At the same time the Pope appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, a position he held until January 21, 1992 when His Holiness transferred him to Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life where he still remains. On April 5, 1993 he was afforded another honor by being named Chamberlain or Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church and a year later Protodeacon.

          He has authored numerous documents on religious life, his latest being "Verbi Sponsa" and the Congregation he heads has been dear to John Paul II's heart. At the age of 72, Cardinal Martinez Somalo enjoys active membership in numerous Curial offices including the second section of the Secretary of State, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, both offices he once worked in, as well as the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education. In addition he serves membership on the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts plus the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Commission for the Institute for Works of Religion. He continues to reside in Vatican City with offices at Piazza Pio XII, 3 / 00193 Rome just outside the front of St. Peter's Square. For more on his Curial Congregation, we recommend The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which was first founded by Pope Sixtus V back in 1586.

July 26, 1999       volume 10, no. 138


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