Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo
Title title
Cardinal Priest of St. Anthony in Campo Marzio, Patriarch of Lisbon
Coat of arms
Per Obedientiam ad Libertatem
Consecrated bishop 26 May 1978
Styles of
José da Cruz Policarpo
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Lisbon

José da Cruz Policarpo is the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon in the Roman Catholic Church. Policarpo holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Early life

He was born on 26 February 1936 in Alvorninha, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, the first of nine children of José Policarpo, Jr. (Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, Pego, April 18, 1902 – Lisbon, Odivelas, October 20, 1987) and wife (m. Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, January 26, 1935) Maria Gertrudes Rosa (Alcobaça, Benedita, October 17, 1909 – Caldas da Rainha, Alvorninha, September 6, 1994), and ordained a priest on 15 August 1961 in Lisbon by Manuel Cardinal Cerejeira.

Early career

Policarpo was director of the seminary in Penafirme, rector of the seminary in Olivais and dean of the Theological Faculty of the Portuguese Catholic University. He later served two terms as rector of the same university (1988-96) and is the author of a number of books and scholarly articles.

Appointed bishop

On 26 May 1978 Policarpo was appointed titular bishop of Caliabria and auxiliary bishop of Lisbon, receiving episcopal ordination on 29 June. On 5 March 1997 he was appointed Coadjuctor Archbishop of Lisbon and succeeded Cardinal António Ribeiro as Patriarch on 24 March 1998. Cardinal Policarpo is also Grand Chancellor of the Portuguese Catholic University and he was President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.


He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, as Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Antonio in Campo Marzio (St. Anthony in the Field of Mars). Cardinal da Cruz Policarpo is a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Pontifical Council for Culture in the Roman Curia.

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Policarpo was considered to be papabile - a possible successor to the papacy. On April 11, 2005, British newspaper The Guardian considered him to be "a dark-horse candidate for pope, capable of bridging the divide between the Europeans and the Latin American Roman Catholic cardinals". He would have been the first cigarette smoking Pope and the second from Portugal, after John XXI. The 2005 papal conclave, in which he participated as a cardinal elector, ultimately elected Pope Benedict XVI.


Interfaith activities

The Cardinal made some noted ecumenical statements at an interfaith event with young people. Sister Lucy of Fatima said "there is only one God who deserves our adoration, the other divinities are nothing, are worth nothing and can do nothing for us." The Cardinal stated of this view, "But, my boy, such a vision is outmoded. What are those divinities Sister Lucy is talking about? We Christians, Muslims, Jews, we all have the same God." Later adding "Each religion has something to teach you. Experience of other religions is very important, we've got a lot to learn from them." On a question about contradictions between Islam and Christianity he was apparently uncomfortable so largely ducked the issue.

Pro-choice politicians

His refusal to excommunicate those who called themselves Catholics and who openly supported legalization of abortion was also criticized by many pro-life Catholics for being one the main reasons of the legalization of abortion in Portugal, in April 2007. However, he didn't openly denied the right to the Portuguese Roman Catholic priests to refuse them communion.

Marriages with Muslim men

On 14 January 2009, the cardinal was the protagonist of another controversy. On a symposium, the cardinal in question directed a warning to young women, cautioning them against marrying Muslim men.[1] He said such a marriage caused a lot of trouble, that not even Allah knew where it ended. He also criticized the Portuguese Muslim community, stating that the dialogue was hard, because they were not open to it.[2] Immediately, many voices arose with disgust, which sparked the intervention of other members of the church in immediately dismissing Policarpo's claims. Human rights group Amnesty International sternly criticized Policarpo for inciting "discrimination" and "intolerance."[3]

See also


Preceded by
António Ribeiro
Patriarch of Lisbon
Succeeded by
current incumbent
la:Iosephus da Cruz Policarpono:José da Cruz Policarpopt:José da Cruz Policarpo

ru:Поликарпу, Жозе да Круж fi:José da Cruz Policarpo