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His Eminence Carlo Caffarra
Cardinal, Archbishop of Bologna
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in 2012.
Province Bologna
See Bologna
Appointed 16 December 2003
Enthroned 15 February 2004
Reign ended 27 October 2015
Predecessor Giacomo Biffi
Successor Matteo Zuppi
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini
Ordination 2 July 1961
Consecration 21 October 1995
by Giacomo Biffi
Created Cardinal 24 March 2006
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Carlo Caffarra
Born (1938-06-01)1 June 1938
Samboseto di Busseto, Italy
Died 6 September 2017(2017-09-06) (aged 79)
Bologna, Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio (1995–2003)
  • President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family (1981–1995)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Carlo Caffarra
Coat of arms of Carlo Caffarra.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Bologna

Carlo Caffarra (1 June 1938 – 6 September 2017) was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. He was Archbishop of Bologna from 2003 until 2015, when he retired. His previous positions included President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family from 1981 to 1995 and Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio from 1995 to 2003. He was created a Cardinal in the consistory of 24 March 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Early life

Caffarra was born on 1 June 1938 in Samboseto di Busseto (province of Parma), Emilia Romagna. He was educated at the Episcopal Seminary of Fidenza and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he completed a doctorate in Canon law. He was ordained a priest on 2 July 1961 in Rome.

Beginning in 1965, he taught moral theology in the seminaries of Fidenza and Parma and later at the Studio Teologico Accademico Bolognese, the Università Cattolica in Milan, and at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy. His academic specialty was the moral doctrine of marriage and the bioethics of human procreation. He also taught medical ethics in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the Università Cattolica's campus in Rome.

Pope Paul VI named him a member of the International Theological Commission where he served from 1974 to 1984. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named him an expert advisor to the Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family. He was the first President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family from its establishment in 1980 until 1995 and founded sections of the same institute in the United States, Spain and Mexico. John Paul II appointed him a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1983.


Caffarra was named Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio on 8 September 1995, and consecrated on 21 October 1995 in the Cathedral of Fidenza by Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna. He was installed on 4 November.

Caffarra was appointed Archbishop of the Bologna on 16 December 2003 and installed there on 15 February 2004.

On 24 August 2005 Caffarra held the central intervention "Freedom as liberation" at the annual Rimini Meeting of Communion and Liberation. Subsequently, he and Marcello Pera presented the Ratzinger's book L'Europa di Benedetto nella crisi delle culture.


In the consistory of 24 March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI named Caffarra Cardinal-Priest of S. Ioannis Baptistae Florentinorum. On 7 May 2006 he was made a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Executive Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He was identified at the time as "a strong conservative" voice for the opposition of the Catholic Church to the modern world and one of Benedict XVI's less centrist appointments to the College of Cardinals.

In a note Caffarra published on 14 February 2010, he wrote "public officials who openly support same-sex marriage cannot consider themselves to be Catholic". He said: "It is impossible for the Catholic faith and support for putting homosexual unions on equal footing with marriage to coexist in one's conscience – the two contradict each other."

He participated as a cardinal elector in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

Pope Francis named him to participate in the Synod on the Family in October 2014, in advance of which Caffarra authored an essay that argued that Catholics who divorce and remarry must be denied access to the Eucharist. Allowing them access would mean the Church recognize their extramarital relations as legitimate and contradict Church doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage.

On 26 September 2015, Pope Francis appointed Caffarra to a five-year term as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

His resignation as archbishop was accepted on 27 October 2015.

In September 2016, Caffarra and three other cardinals publicly asked Pope Francis to clarify five points of doctrine in the Pope's apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia. They issued this public letter after the Pope did not reply to the same query made privately. In June 2017, Caffarra wrote on behalf of the four asking Francis for an audience to discuss their questions. He said that varying interpretations were producing inconsistency: "What is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta."

Caffarra died on 6 September 2017 after a long illness.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carlo Caffarra para niños

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