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Eduardo Martínez Somalo

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Title: Eduardo Martínez Somalo  
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Subject: Franc Rode, Papal conclave, 2005, Tarcisio Bertone, Funeral of Pope John Paul II, Secretariat of State (Holy See)
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Eduardo Martínez Somalo

His Eminence
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Chamberlain Emeritus of the Apostolic Chamber
Appointed 5 April 1993
Term ended 4 April 2007
Predecessor Sebastiano Baggio
Successor Tarcisio Bertone SDB
Other posts Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (1992–2004)
Ordination 19 March 1950
by Luigi Traglia
Consecration 13 December 1975
by Jean-Marie Villot
Created Cardinal 28 June 1988
Personal details
Birth name Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Born (1927-03-31) 31 March 1927
Baños de Río Tobía, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Coat of arms }
Styles of
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Thagora (titular see)

Eduardo Martínez Somalo (born 31 March 1927) is a Spanish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.


  • Biography 1
    • Early life and ordination 1.1
    • Pastoral work 1.2
    • Bishop 1.3
    • Cardinal 1.4
    • Curial prefect 1.5
    • Camerlengo 1.6
    • Retirement 1.7
  • External links 2


Early life and ordination

Martínez Somalo was born in the small town of Baños de Río Tobía in La Rioja, one of 10 siblings. He studied at the diocesan seminary of Logroño, the Pontifical Spanish College and the Pontifical Gregorian University (where he received licentiates in theology and in canon law) in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on 19 March 1950 by Archbishop Luigi Traglia.

Pastoral work

He did pastoral and curial work in Calahorra. Returning to Rome to prepare to serve as a Vatican diplomat, he attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (where he later taught as a professor) and obtained a doctorate in canon law in (1956) from the Pontifical Lateran University.

He then entered the Roman Curia, in the Secretariat of State; he later advanced to the head the Spanish section. He was elevated to the rank of Monsignor on 14 May 1970. Pope Paul VI appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Colombia and elevated him to Titular Archbishop of Thagora.


He received his episcopal consecration on 13 December 1975, from Jean-Marie Villot, then Secretary of State, with Archbishop Giovanni Benelli and Bishop Francisco Álvarez Martínez serving as co-consecrators. In 1979 Pope John Paul II appointed him to the Secretariat of State.


In the consistory of 28 June 1988, he was created Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Nome di Gesù by Pope John Paul II, and on 1 July of that year he was appointed to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

He served as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He was Cardinal protodeacon from 29 January 1996 to 9 January 1999.

Curial prefect

Somalo became Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on 21 January 1992. He was also Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia. He was a close collaborator of Pope John Paul II.


He was named Chamberlain of the Roman Church, or Camerlengo, on 5 April 1993, an office of special importance during vacancy of the Holy See. He served in that position until his 80th birthday. He was Camerlengo during the 2005 Vacancy of the Holy See.


He retired on 11 February 2004, and participated as a Cardinal elector in the 2005 Papal conclave. He ceased to be Camerlengo on his 80th birthday, and was succeeded by Tarcisio Bertone, who also served as Secretary of State. On his 80th birthday, he also lost the right to participate in future conclaves.

External links

  • Letter to Cardinal Martínez Somalo from Pope Benedict on his resignation as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giuseppe Caprio
Substitute for General Affairs
5 May 1979–23 March 1988
Succeeded by
Edward Idris Cassidy
Preceded by
Paul Mayer
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Succeeded by
Antonio María Javierre Ortas
Preceded by
Jean Jerome Cardinal Hamer, OP
Prefect of Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life
21 January 1992 – 11 February 2004)
Succeeded by
Franc Cardinal Rode, CM
Preceded by
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy
Cardinal Protodeacon
29 January 1996–9 January 1999
Succeeded by
Pio Laghi
Preceded by
Sebastiano Baggio
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Succeeded by
Tarcisio Bertone
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