|Archbishop de Paolis has broad experience and proven competence in his own religious congregation, in university teaching, and in service to the Holy See. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)|
On July 9, 2010, the Holy See’s Press Office released the news that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Archbishop
Velasio De Paolis, CS, now a cardinal, as his papal delegate
to the Legionaries of Christ. In this way, following the
conclusion of the apostolic visitation, the Holy Father wishes to
"be close to, sustain, and guide" the congregation in this
decisive moment of its history.
In the appointment letter, dated
June 16, 2010, the Holy Father indicated that the papal delegate’s mission
is to “[govern] this religious institute in my name for
as long as it takes to carry out the path
of renewal and lead it to the celebration of an
extraordinary General Chapter, whose main purpose will be to bring
to completion the revision of the Constitutions.”
A more complete
description of the papal delegate’s authority and responsibilities can be
read in the decree issued on July 9, 2010
by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The current general director, Fr
Alvaro Corcuera, and the other superiors of the congregation
remain in their positions under the authority of the pontifical
delegate and in communion with him.
About Archbishop Velasio De Paolis,
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis was born in Sonnino
(Latina province, southeast of Rome) on September 19, 1935. He
entered the congregation of the Missionaries of St Charles Borromeo
(the Scalabrinian Fathers) at a young age and received his
formation in the congregation’s seminaries. He made his perpetual profession
on October 4, 1958 and was ordained to the priesthood
on March 18, 1961.
He went to Rome to continue his
academic formation, obtaining a doctorate in canon law from the
canon law faculty at the Pontifical Gregorian University, a licentiate
in theology from the theology faculty at the University of
St Thomas (Angelicum), and a law degree at La Sapienza
University in Rome. He also completed a two-year degree in
moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy.
From 1965 to
1970, he was a professor of moral theology and canon
law in one of his own congregation’s centers for philosophical
and theological formation. Afterwards, he was named rector of the
Scalabrinian Fathers’ International College in Rome (1970-1974) while also serving
as provincial vicar. In 1974, he was called to the
general government of his congregation as counselor and general procurator.
From 1971 to 1980, he was an extraordinary professor, and
from 1983 onward, an ordinary professor of the canon law
faculty at the Gregorian University. From 1987 on, he was
also named a professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University, and
became dean of the canon law faculty in 1998.
He has authored many books and articles, and is a
regular contributor to the magazine Periodica de re canonica. He
is a member of various associations dedicated to the study
of canon law.
Throughout all these years, he
has dedicated himself to apostolic activity, especially to preaching spiritual exercises.
On December 30, 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed
him as secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic
Signatura, where he was already an officer. He received his
episcopal consecration on February 24, 2004 and was assigned the
titular see of Telepte.
On April 12, 2008, Pope
Benedict XVI appointed him president of the Prefecture for the
Economic Affairs of the Holy See, raising him to the
dignity of archbishop. He is currently also a member of
the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and a consulter
for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and
the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
On November 20, 2010, Pope
Benedict XVI raised him to the dignity of the cardinalate
in a ceremony celebrated in St. Peter´s Basilica. On December
29 of that same year, the Holy Father appointed him
a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the
Discipline of the Sacraments, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic
Signature, and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
A collection of
articles on the apostolic visitation (2009-2010) and the path that
the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi are currently walking
with the papal delegate can be read in the special
section A New Chapter in Our History.