Vatican: Abp. Cristobal Lopez Romero, New Salesian Cardinal

04 Sep 2019

“My highest title and diploma is to be ‘son of God’”

(ANS – Vatican City – September 2) – After praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, September 1, Pope Francis announced a consistory for the creation of 13 new cardinals. Among them, the Pontiff appointed Salesian Archbishop Cristobal Lopez Romero of Rabat, Morocco.

Abp. Lopez’s comment as regards the appointment: “I repeat what I already explained when I was appointed bishop: my highest title and diploma is to be ‘son of God,’ and I obtained it through Baptism. Like most of you, I’ve already attained the highest honor; I can’t go higher or be promoted, because one can’t be more than a child of God.”

Abp. Lopez Romero was born May 19, 1952 in Velez-Rubio, Spain; he made his novitiate in Godelleta, professed his first vows on August 16, 1968, followed by perpetual vows on August 2, 1974, after which he was ordained on May 19, 1979.

He served the Salesian Congregation in multiple ways and in various geographical areas. Following ordination he provided pastoral ministry to the marginalized in Barcelona; he was director of the Salesian Bulletin of Asuncion, Paraguay (1991-1992); then superior of three different provinces: Paraguay (1994-2000), Bolivia (2011-2014), and Seville, Spain (2014-2017). In between, from 2003 to 2011, he also gained the experience of director of the community and head of the parish and school ministry in the vocational training center in Kenitra, Morocco. Precisely in virtue of this service, and of the good relations he developed with the Christian and Muslim religious leaders present in Morocco, on December 29, 2017, Pope Francis appointed him archbishop of Rabat. In this capacity, he accompanied the Holy Father throughout his apostolic journey to Morocco last March.

On the day of his appointment, in which the liturgy recalled, “The greater you become, the more humble you should be” (Sir 3:18), Abp. Lopez wrote on his Facebook page:

“Dear friends … I would have wanted to answer all the messages I received…. But I give up: they are so many! … I would like every greeting to become a prayer for the Pope, for the Church, for this diocese of Rabat, and for my person. I thank Pope Francis for the deference he has shown me, and I intend to continue to serve the Church by helping her with everything she needs….

I reiterate what I already explained when I was appointed bishop: my highest title and diploma is that of being “son of God,” and I obtained it in Baptism. Like most of you, I’ve already attained the highest honor; I can’t go higher or be promoted, because one can’t be more than a child of God.”

Being bishop, priest, cardinal, Pope …  is nothing but a concrete service rendered to the Church and in the Church…. But it doesn’t put you above anyone….

The responsibility received overwhelms and overcomes me, but I’m counting on the One who began his work in me to bring it a happy end.

Let your kingdom come!”