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|Styles of |
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Franjo Šeper (October 2, 1905—December 30, 1981) was a Croatian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1968 to 1981, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965.
Life and Ministry
Born in Osijek (then part of Austria-Hungary, but now Croatia), he and his family moved to Zagreb in 1910; his father was a tailor and his mother a seamstress. Studying in Zagreb and Rome (including the Pontifical Gregorian University), Šeper was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Giuseppe Palica on October 26, 1930. He did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Zagreb and, in 1934, was appointed private secretary to the Archbishop. In 1941 Father Šeper became the rector of the archdiocesan seminary, a post which he held for the next decade. On July 22, 1954 he was named coadjutor archbishop of Zagreb and titular archbishop of Philippopolis; he received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Archbishop Josip Ujčić of Belgrade.
Archbishop of Zagreb
He succeeded Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac as Archbishop of Zagreb on March 5, 1960, and was created Cardinal Priest of Ss. Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of February 22, 1965. He resigned as Archbishop of Zagreb on 20 August 1969. He had advocated religious liberty and the introduction of the vernacular into the liturgy during the Second Vatican Council.
Prefect of the CDF
He was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 8 January 1968. Šeper was the author of the document Mysterium Ecclesiae, which was written in order to re-orientate the ecclesiology of the post-Vatican II period.
In 1974, the Congregation published a "declaration on procured abortion", re-asserting the Church's opposition to the controversial procedure since the publication of Humanae Vitae. It later published the document Persona Humana on the topic of sexual ethics.
In 1976, he was responsible for writing the statement Inter Insigniores, which firmly rejected the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. In 1980, he also wrote the CDF's declaration on Euthanasia, explaining the Church's view on ending life.
Death and legacy
Cardinal Šeper retired as Prefect on 25 November 1981 and died a month later, on the morning of 30 December, at 76 from a heart attack in Gemelli Hospital. Pope John Paul II presided over his funeral Mass, and the cardinal's body was later transferred to Zagreb, where it is buried beside the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac.
- 1968 News article on Šeper's appointment as Prefect of CDF
- Michael Davies's account of his 1980 meeting with Šeper
|Archbishop of Zagreb|
| Succeeded by|
|Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith|
| Succeeded by|
Titular Church Created
|Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Pietro e Paolo a Via Ostiense|
| Succeeded by|