Spanish Cardinal Estepa, who helped edit catechism, dies at 93

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Spanish Cardinal José Estepa Llaurens, former military bishop of Spain, died on July 21 in Madrid. He was 93 years old.

Pope Francis, offering his condolences in a July 22 telegram, praised the cardinal’s “generous service to the church”.

Cardinal Llaurens was one of six bishops who worked with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was also responsible for overseeing the editing. Spanish from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

His funeral and burial was to take place at the Armed Forces Cathedral in Madrid on July 23.

Born in Andujar, he studied in Salamanca, Rome and Paris and was ordained priest in 1954. In 1972, Saint Paul VI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Madrid, where he was rector of the archdiocesan seminary for 11 years.

Over the years he was also a consultant, then a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and a member of the Council of Ordinary Servicemen of the Congregation for Bishops.

In 1983, Saint John Paul II appointed him archbishop and head of the military ordinariate of Spain. After his retirement in 2003, he continued to serve as the chaplain of retired Spanish veterans and was the Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in western Spain.

Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the college of cardinals in 2010; he was one of four cardinals over the age of 80 that the Pope named this consistory because they were “distinguished for their generosity and dedication to the service of the church.”

His death leaves the College of Cardinals with 218 members, 120 of whom are under 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.


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