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September 25, 2017
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, canon law scholar, dies at age 81
Cardinal Velasio de Paolis celebrated the closing Mass of the Legionaries of Christ's General Chapter Meeting in Rome Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: LC Photoservice.
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.- The Vatican announced Saturday that Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., prefect emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and a distinguished professor and scholar of canon law, has died in Rome.

Cardinal De Paolis died Sept. 9, just 10 days shy of his 82nd birthday. Details of the cardinal’s death have not yet been released.

A scholar and professor, Cardinal De Paolis taught moral theology and canon law in Rome for nearly 40 years, publishing more than 200 books and articles on scientific topics, spirituality and canon law.

Most recently, in 2014, he was a contributor to the book, “Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church.”

Edited by Fr. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A., it was written in response to Cardinal Walter Kasper's suggestion that the Church allow those who are divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment to receive the Eucharist.

Besides Cardinal De Paolis, among the nine contributors to the book were Cardinals Walter Brandmuller, Raymond Burke, Gerhard Muller and Carlo Caffarra, who passed away Sept. 6 at the age of 79.

Cardinal De Paolis was born in Sonnino, Italy on Sept. 19, 1935. He became a professed member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians) in 1958 and was ordained a priest of the order on March 18, 1961.

He studied in Rome, earning a law degree from La Sapienza University, a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

At the end of 2003, he was appointed secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Signatura and elevated to titular bishop of Thelepte by Pope John Paul II.

He was ordained a bishop Feb. 21, 2004.

In April 2008, he was appointed president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See by Pope Benedict XVI.

He was elevated to cardinal in the consistory of Nov. 20, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI and appointed cardinal-deacon of Gesu Pastore alla Montagnola.  

In 2010, Benedict XVI also nominated him as a pontifical delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ after abuses by the congregation’s founder were made public. In this position he oversaw the congregation until the drafting of their new constitution. 

He was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on May 4, 2011, serving until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 80 in 2015.