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Alfonso López Trujillo (8 November 1935 – 19 April 2008) was a Colombian Cardinal Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church and president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Styles of
Alfonso López Trujillo
CardinalCoA PioM.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Frascati (suburbicarian see), Medellín (emeritus)



Born in Villahermosa, Tolima, López Trujillo moved to Bogotá as a young boy and attended the National University of Colombia before he entered the seminary in order to become a priest.[1] Trujillo completed his studies in Rome, earning a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and completing studies in sociology, anthropology and Marxism.[1]


He was ordained as a priest on 13 November 1960 and, after studying in Rome for an additional two years, returned to Bogotá where he taught philosophy at the local seminary for four years. In 1968, he organized the new pastoral department of the Archdiocese of Bogotá, and from 1970 to 1972, he was Vicar General of the archdiocese. In early 1971, Pope Paul VI appointed him titular archbishop of Boseta and Auxiliary of Bogotá.[2]


In 1972, López Trujillo was elected general secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Conference, a post he held until 1984. Well known for his dislike and distrust of the radical social agenda espoused by many Latin American priests and bishops, in this capacity he led the opposition to liberation theology and succeeded in watering down or reversing many of the reforms made in that forum.[3] One of his major accomplishments during that period was to organize the third general conference of Latin American Bishops in 1979, in which Pope John Paul II participated. That same year, he became Archbishop of Medellín, where he began a long association with Pablo Escobar.[4]

Cardinal in Rome

López Trujillo was named Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 2 February 1983, becoming the youngest cardinal until 1991. He was promoted to the order of Cardinal Bishops on 17 November 2001. In 1990, López Trujillo was named president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He assumed the office in 1991 but retained the title of Archbishop emeritus of Medellín.

Pro-life and pro-family advocate

As president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, López Trujillo was a highly influential proponent of conservative and traditionalist values, particularly on sexual matters and on liberation theology. He advocated abstinence as an effective solution in preventing the spread of HIV. He reaffirmed the Church's teaching that the use of condoms is immoral, and controversially sought to discourage condom use among Catholics by stating that they are ineffective in preventing the transmission of HIV — a claim that was opposed and ridiculed by eminent scientists and by the World Health Organization.[3]

He was also a strong opponent of gay marriage[5]; abortion - a stance that won him much praise and support from groups such as the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children[6]; and embryological research, warning Catholics involved in the creation of embryos as part of IVF treatment for infertility that they would be excommunicated.[3]

2005 conclave

López Trujillo participated in the 2005 Papal conclave, which elected Pope Benedict XVI. López Trujillo was considered as one of the cardinals considered papabile at the 2005 conclave. Upon the death of the pope, all major Vatican officials automatically lost their positions during the sede vacante. Like the others, López Trujillo was reappointed to his previous office by Pope Benedict XVI on 21 April 2005.[7]


Following a four-week hospitalization, Cardinal López Trujillo died on 19 April 2008 in Rome, aged 72, due to a respiratory infection arising as a complication of diabetes. His funeral Mass was held on 23 April 2008 in St. Peter's Basilica. Angelo Cardinal Sodano served as principle celebrant of the Mass, and Pope Benedict XVI delivered the homily and performed the final absolution.[8]


External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Tulio Botero Salazar
Archbishop of Medellín
Succeeded by
Héctor Rueda Hernández
Preceded by
Édouard Gagnon
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Succeeded by
Ennio Antonelli
Preceded by
Paolo Bertoli
Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati
8 November 2001–18 April 2008
Succeeded by
Tarcisio Bertone

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