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Antonio Quarracino
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See Buenos Aires

Antonio Quarracino (1923-08-08 – 1998-02-28) was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina and the Archbishop of Buenos Aires between 1990 and 1998.


Quarracino was born in Pollica, Province of Salerno, Italy. However, his family immigrated to Argentina when he was 4 years old.

Quarracino was ordained priest on 1945-12-22, and became a professor at the Diocesan Seminar of Mercedes. He also taught theology at the Universidad Católica Argentina.

He was appointed Bishop of Nueve de Julio, Buenos Aires, by Pope John XXIII, on 1962-02-03, and received the episcopal see on 8 April of the same year. On 1968-08-03 Paul VI moved him to the diocese of Avellaneda (whose new cathedral was built during his rule).

John Paul II promoted him to the Archdiocese of La Plata on 1985-12-18, and then to the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires on 1990-07-10, additionally appointing him Primate of Argentina. He was elected to preside the Argentine Episcopal Conference in the following November, and then reelected, until 1996. He was elevated to Cardinal in consistory on 1991-06-28.

Quarracino died in 1998 at the age of 74, due to a cardiac arrest. He was succeeded automatically by his coadjutor bishop, the Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio.


Inter-religious dialogue with Jews

Quarracino was a major figure of inter-religious discussion with Jews. During a visit to Israel in 1992 he was decorated by Jewish institutions for this cause, and in 1997 he had a mural painting set up in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and the bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA.

Social communications

Quarracino was inclined to journalism and, while in La Plata, he renewed the informative magazine of the archdiocese, transforming it into a full-fledged cultural publication. As Bishop of Buenos Aires, he appeared on TV often and regularly; he was in charge of a segment in a religious program (Claves para un mundo mejor) in the state-owned channel ATC.

Dirty War

Quarracino was outspoken about controversial topics. One of his first notable public statements was his support, in 1982, of a project of law that would end all investigation of the crimes of the Dirty War, in order to "contribute to national reconciliation". This can be seen as a precedent of the Ley de Punto Final, sanctioned in 1986.

Argentine politics

Quarracino was opposed to the policies of President Raúl Alfonsín (1983–1989), and accused politicians of corruption, as the cause of "national poverty". However, he acknowledged being a friend of President Carlos Menem (1989–1999), who was himself heavily criticized by other Church leaders (such as Cardinal Primatesta).


In 1994, during his TV segment in ATC, Quarracino spoke against homosexuality saying that lesbians and gay men should be "locked up in a ghetto". This caused an accusation of discrimination, which was not considered by justice because anti-discrimination Law 23592 did not cover sexual orientation. Quarracino had already been accused three years before, when he termed homosexuality "a deviation of human nature, like bestiality". [1]

Boca Juniors

The Cardinal was an avowed fan of the Boca Juniors football team. When he celebrated his 50 years of priesthood he received a Boca Juniors shirt signed by all the team members.

Preceded by
Juan Carlos Aramburu
Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Succeeded by
Jorge Bergoglio


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