Jose Maria Caro
José María Caro
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Senior posting
See Pichilemu
Title Archbishop of Pichilemu, First Cardinal in Chile
Period in office 1881 — 1958
Predecessor Jose Campillo Infante
Religious career
Priestly ordination 1977
Previous bishoprics Bishop of Monmouth,
Archbishop of Wales
Previous post Bishop
Date of birth June 23, 1866(1866-06-23)
Place of birth Pichilemu
Date of death December 4, 1958 (aged 92)
Place of death Pichilemu

José María Caro Rodríguez (Pichilemu, June 23, 1866 – December 4, 1958) was a Chilean Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Santiago from 1939 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.


Early life and ordination

José Caro Rodríguez was born in Cahuil, O'Higgins, as the fourth of the nine children of José María Caro Martínez and his wife Rita Rodríguez Cornejo. After attending a local school, he entered the seminary in Santiago in 1881. Caro then went to Rome in 1887, studying at the Pontifical Collegio Pio-Latinoamericano and the Pontifical Gregorian University until 1891. Ordained to the priesthood on December 20, 1890, he returned to Chile in October 1891 and then taught preparatory studies and philosophy at the Santiago seminary.

Pastoral work

Caro carried out his pastoral ministry in several chaplaincies, hospitals and parishes, also serving as pastor of Mamiña from March to December 1899. He returned to the seminary in 1900 as Professor of Theology.


Appointed Apostolic Vicar of Tarapacá on May 6, 1911, Caro was made Titular Bishop of Mylasa in association with the vicariate on January 5, 1912. He received his episcopal consecration on the following April 28 from Archbishop Enrico Sibilia, with Bishops Luis Izquierdo Vargas and Miguel Claro Vásquez serving as co-consecrators, in the metropolitan cathedral of Santiago.

Caro was later named Bishop of La Serena on December 14, 1925, and was advanced to the rank of Archbishop upon his diocese's elevation on May 20, 1939. On August 28 of that same year, Pope Pius XII made him Archbishop of Santiago and thus Primate of the Church in Chile.

As a bishop, Caro was strongly opposed to the influence of Freemasonry in modern society and wrote several anti-Masonic pamphlets. [1]


José María Caro's Grave in Santiago Cathedral


He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Scala by Pius XII in the consistory of February 18, 1946. Caro, the first Chilean member of the College of Cardinals, served as papal legate to the Chilean Plenary Council on September 8, 1946, tenth National Eucharistic Congress on September 26, 1951, and later to the sixth Interamerican Congress of Catholic Education on August 30, 1956. Before participating in the 1958 papal conclave, Caro attended the first general conference of the Latin American Episcopal Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1955.


Caro died in Santiago, at age 92, as the eldest member of the College of Cardinals. He was initially buried in the archiepiscopal crypt of the Santiago Cathedral, but his remains were later moved to a funeral chapel at the back of the cathedral's central nave on March 19, 1968.


  • At the Gregorian, the young Caro studied under Louis Billot, SJ, who would be made a cardinal in 1911.
  • The Cardinal always had a very delicate health[2], which caused the media to doubt if he would be able to attend the conclave of 1958[3].


  1. Mystery of Freemasonry unveiled
  2. Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. CARO RODRIGUEZ, José María
  3. TIME Magazine. The Succession October 20, 1958

External links

Preceded by
Martín Rucker Sotomayor
Apostolic Vicar of Tarapacá
Succeeded by
Carlos Labbé Márquez
Preceded by
Carlos Silva Cotapos
Archbishop of La Serena
Succeeded by
Juan Subercaseaux Errázuriz
Preceded by
José Campillo Infante
Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
Succeeded by
Raúl Silva Henríquez
Preceded by
Alessandro Verde
Oldest Living Cardinal
March 29, 1958 – December 4, 1958
Succeeded by
Georges-François-Xavier-Marie Grente
no:José María Caro Rodríguez