Rosalio José Castillo Lara

Rosalio José Castillo Lara
Religion Catholic
Institute President of the Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City
Nationality Venezuelan
Born (1922-09-04)4 September 1922
 VEN Caracas, Venezuela
Died 16 October 2007(2007-10-16) (aged 85)
Senior posting
Title Cardinal of  VEN

Rosalio José Castillo Lara JCD (4 September 1922 – 16 October 2007) was a Venezuelan Roman Catholic cardinal.

Early life and ordination

Castillo Lara was born in San Casimiro, diocese of Maracay, in Venezuela's Aragua State, on 4 September 1922. Third son of seven children, he was ordained a priest on 4 September 1949, by his uncle, Archbishop Castillo Hernandez of Caracas.

Canon law

In 1950 he went to study canon law at the Salesian Pontifical University in Turin. In September 1954, he was named professor at the faculty of canon law, at first in Turin until 1957, then in Rome until 1965. He became Secretary and then President of the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law, the result of whose work was published as the 1983 Code of Canon Law.


He was elected Bishop of Precausa on 26 March 1973, and promoted to Archbishop on 26 May 1982. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal during the Consistory of 25 May 1985, and two days later appointed him President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Roman Curia

He became President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See on 6 December 1989, a post to which he added on 31 October 1990, that of President of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. He was also a member of several other bodies, including the Cardinals' Supervisory Commission for the Institute for Religious Works, commonly known as the Vatican Bank.


Relations with Hugo Chávez's government

Castillo Lara was one of the Venezuelan ecclesiastic figures most opposed to the government of Hugo Chávez. In 2006, during a Holy Mass, the cardinal made a homily asking to pray "with fervour to the Virgin Mary to save Venezuela. We are living a very grave situation, like a few times in our history". Castillo Lara repeatedly accused Chávez of becoming increasingly authoritarian. At one point, he even recommended an exorcism for the socialist president while Chávez once called Castillo Lara "a hypocrite, bandit and devil with a cassock."[1]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Agnelo Rossi
President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
6 December 1989 – 24 June 1995
Succeeded by
Jose Tomas Sanchez

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