DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 195


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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.

110.   Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela

        Though one of the younger cardinals, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid, has been one of the more pivotal ones, especially in the current Synod of European Bishops presently being held this month at the Vatican. Monday he rallied his fellow bishops to put aside the bitter barbs that were launched last week to concentrate on the second phase of the Synod and urged them to unite as one for the sake of the Church and Our Lord in bringing the Faith to a new generation of Europeans. He pointed out that the Church is the one hope for all of Europe which has languished for centuries in other "ologies" with no answers and only Jesus has such solutions and the bishops are the instruments to carry that out in the new millennium.

        Cardinal Rouco was born in Villalba, Spain on August 24, 1936 during the rebellion begun by Generalisimo Francisco Franco. Antonio grew up during Franco's reign but bypassed politics for the priesthood, attending minor and major seminary at Mondonedo seminary and being ordained a priest on March 28, 1959. After more studies and some pastoral work, he was assigned to the faculty of his seminary teaching fundamental Theology and Canon Law before becoming an adjunct professor at the University of Munich in Germany. He returned to Spain where he joined the faculty of the Pontifical University of Salamanca as an Ecclesiastical Law professor and then promoted to Vice-Rector of the University until 1976. Shortly after the Spanish dictator Franco had died and Juan Carlos became king, the first in decades, Pope Paul VI named him Titular Bishop of Gergis and Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago de Compostela at the age of only forty on September 17, 1976.

        Eight years later on May 9, 1984 he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop as the new head of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela and ten years later Pope John Paul II transferred him to Spain's largest See - the Archdiocese of Madrid as its new shepherd where he continues in that post today. In the most recent Consistory of February 21, 1998 last year, the Holy Father made him a cardinal priest bestowing on Cardinal Rouco the titular church of St. Lawrence in Damaso. He has been active with membership in the Congregation of the Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education. Though he is older than some of his confreres in the latest Consistory, he represents that orthodox element set in place by John Paul II and a younger look to the College of Cardinals.

October 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 195


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