The Slovenia Times

Slovenian Cardinal among Electors Choosing New Pope


Rode is the third cardinal of Slovenian descent; the first was Ljubljana Prince Bishop, Archbishop of Gorizia Jakob Missia in 1899, followed by Archbishop of Toronto Alojzij Ambrožič in 1998.

Born in a village just outside Ljubljana on 23 September 1934, Rode fled with his family to Austria in 1945 and later emigrated to Argentina. He mostly studied abroad, in Austria and Argentina.

Ordained a Vincentian in 1960, he earned a doctorate in theology from the Catholic Institute of Paris three years later and then returned to Slovenia in 1965.

He arrived in Ljubljana in 1967 to teach at the Faculty of Theology first French and later also practical apologetics, missiology, theology of non-Christian faiths, introduction to atheism and basic theology. He also became superior of the Vincentians in Ljubljana. During that time he wrote extensively for Catholic papers and journals.

After 16 years in Slovenia, Rode left for the Vatican in 1981 to assume a post in the papal council for dialogue with non-believers, and became the secretary of the papal council for culture in 1993. In that period he lectured and published a lot mainly in France, but also in Slovenia.

Rode was appointed Archbishop of Ljubljana and Metropolitan on 5 March 1997 by the then Pope John Paul II, to succeed Alojzij Šuštar.

During his stint he dedicated a lot of attention to the efforts to settle relations between the Church and the state; Slovenia and the Vatican signed an agreement on legal matters on 14 December 2001.

On 11 February 2004, Rode was appointed by Pope John Paul II the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, one of the biggest and most demanding offices in the Curia Romana.

Rode resigned from the post in 2011 having reached the age limit for heading one of the Holy See's congregations.

Cardinal Rode has won many outstanding honours. Even before he became the archbishop of Ljubljana, he earned the distinction of Chevalier in the National Order of Merit from French President Jacques Chirac and in 2005 was named Officer of the Legion of Honour. He won honorary doctorate from St. John's University in the US in 2005.


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