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Alfonso López Trujillo

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Alfonso López Trujillo
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed8 November 1990
Term ended19 April 2008
PredecessorÉdouard Gagnon
SuccessorEnnio Antonelli
Other post(s)Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati (2001–08)
Ordination13 November 1960
by José Gabriel Calderón Contreras
Consecration25 March 1971
by Aníbal Muñoz Duque
Created cardinal2 February 1983
by Pope John Paul II
RankCardinal-Priest (1983–2001)
Cardinal-Bishop (2001–08)
Personal details
Alfonso López Trujillo

8 November 1935
Died19 April 2008(2008-04-19) (aged 72)
Clinic Pio XI, Rome, Italy
Previous post(s)
Alma mater
MottoVeritas et caritate
SignatureAlfonso López Trujillo's signature
Coat of armsAlfonso López Trujillo's coat of arms

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
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeFrascati (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 philosophy.[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]

Andrew Sullivan, an American pro-LGBT activist, writing in the New York magazine, has claimed that he would go with paramilitaries into rural areas and slums, and tell them which priests were involved with social work or believed in liberation theology, which often caused the paramilitaries to murder those priests or force them into hiding or exile[4] 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.

Cardinal in Rome[edit]

Archbishop López Trujillo was named Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prisca 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.


As president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, López Trujillo was a highly influential proponent of conservative values, particularly on sexual matters and liberation theology. He advocated abstinence as an effective solution in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. He reaffirmed the Church's teaching that the use of condoms is immoral, and sought to discourage condom use among Catholics and in Catholic-run health facilities by stating that they are ineffective in preventing the transmission of HIV – a claim that was opposed by some 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[edit]

López Trujillo participated in the 2005 Papal conclave, which elected Pope Benedict XVI. López Trujillo was 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]

Allegations of homosexual promiscuity[edit]

An article (republished from The Telegraph, UK) in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, referring to Frédéric Martel's book In the Closet of the Vatican, "According to the book, a leading figure in this hidden world was Alfonso López Trujillo, a Colombian cardinal who in public was stridently anti-gay and pro-family but in private slept with male prostitutes."[8] A further article in The New York Times reviewing Martel's book suggests Trujillo "prowled the ranks of seminarians and young priests for men to seduce" and "routinely hired male prostitutes, sometimes beating them up after sex".[9]


Following a four-week hospitalization, Cardinal López Trujillo died on 19 April 2008 in Rome, aged 72, due to a respiratory infection. His funeral Mass was held on 23 April 2008 in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Angelo Sodano was principal celebrant of the Mass, and Pope Benedict XVI delivered the homily and performed the final absolution.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo Obituary". London: Times Online. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  2. ^ Cheney, David M. (2 January 2018). "Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Stanford, Peter (22 April 2008). "Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Andrew (22 February 2019). "Andrew Sullivan: The Corruption of the Vatican's Gay Elite Has Been Exposed". Intelligencer. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Vatican condemns Spain gay bill". BBC News. 22 April 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  6. ^ "SPUC pays tribute to Cardinal López Trujillo". Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2008.
  7. ^ The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church – Biographies – L
  8. ^ Squires, Nick (20 February 2019). "Church abuse 'hidden by clergy who fear being outed as gay'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  9. ^ Bruni, Frank (15 February 2019). "Opinion | the Vatican's Gay Overlords". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Cardinal Trujillo, President of Pontifical Council for the Family, passes away". Catholic News Agency. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2020.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Medellín
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati
17 November 2001 – 18 April 2008
Succeeded by