Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, was born on July 4, 1929 in Medellín, Colombia. He was ordained for the diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos on October 26, 1952 following his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, where he also earned a doctorate in canon law. He also specialized in religious sociology, political economy and ethics in economy.
He served as a curate in two rural parishes, director of the Cursillo movement and delegate for Catholic Action. He also taught canon law at the Free Civil University and was General Secretary of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference.
On June 2, 1971, he was elected titular Bishop of Villa del re and Coadjutor of Pereira. He received episcopal ordination on July 18, 1971. On July 1, 1976 he succeeded as Bishop of Pereira.
As a Delegate of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, he participated in the Latin American Bishops’ General Conferences held in Medellín (1968) and Puebla (1979).
From 1983 to 1987 he was General Secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) and President of the same Council from 1987 to 1991.
He also took part in the IV General Conference of CELAM in Santo Domingo in October 1992.
Named Archbishop of Bucaramanga on December 16, 1992, he was called by the Holy Father to head the Congregation for the Clergy on June 15, 1996 as Pro-Prefect.
On November 15, 1996, he offered a splendid reflection by presenting the book "Dono e Mistero" of John Paul II. Also, as Pro-Prefect of the Congregation, he organized personally the celebration of John Paul II’s 50 years as priest.
On September 18, 1997, he presented the General Directory for Catechesis and on October 17, 1997 at the conclusion of the International Catechetic Congress, he presented to the Holy Father – the first catechist of the Church – the fruits of those intense days of work. The Congress was an eloquent sign of the need for announcing in an adequate way to the men of our time the Word of God in its integrity and purity.
During the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops held from November 16 to December 12, 1997 he served as President Delegate.
Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, February 23, 1998 to October 31, 2006.
President of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', April 13, 2000.
Protodeacon of the college of cardinals, February 23, 2007.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 1998, of the Deaconry of SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano (Most Holy Name of Mary at the Trajan Forum).
- Congregations: for Bishops; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Catholic Education; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;
- Pontifical Councils: for Legislative Texts; for Social Communications;
- Pontifical Commission for Latin America;
- Administration of Patrimony of the Apostolic See (A.P.S.A.);
- Special Council for America of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.