Styles of
Raúl Silva Henríquez
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Santiago de Chile (emeritus)

Raúl Silva Henríquez, SDB (September 27, 1907—April 9, 1999) was a Chilean Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Santiago from 1961 to 1983, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1962.


Born in Talca, Raúl Silva Henríquez was the sixteenth of nineteen children. His father, Ricardo Silva Silva, was a farmer and industrialist of Portuguese descent, and his mother was Mercedes Henríquez Encina. After studying at the Catholic University of Chile (from where he obtained his doctorate in law), Silva joined the Salesians of Don Bosco on January 28, 1930. He later attended the Pontifical Salesian University in Turin, where he was ordained to the priesthood on July 3, 1938. From the Salesian University he earned a doctorate in theology and in canon law.

On October 24, 1959, Silva was appointed Bishop of Valparaíso by Pope John XXIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 29 from Archbishop Opilio Rossi, with Archbishop Emilio Tagle Covarrubias and Bishop Vladimiro Boric Crnosija, SDB, serving as co-consecrators. Silva was later named Archbishop of Santiago and thus Primate of the Church in Chile on May 14, 1961.

Pope John created him Cardinal Priest of S. Bernardo alle Terme in the consistory of March 19, 1962. Silva attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave, which resulted in the election of Pope Paul VI. He later participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II respectively.

A strenuous defender of social change, public housing, and land reform, the Cardinal once said, "Social injustice and poverty foster Communism...It is necessary to be Christian with social justice, with charity, with brotherhood"[1]. He was awarded the Human Rights Prize from the United Nations on December 11, 1978, and the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Prize on October 19, 1979. The Cardinal was asked to resign as Santiago's archbishop due to differences with Pope John Paul II, and did so on May 3, 1983, after twenty-one years of service.

As founder of the Academy of Christian Humanism, Committee of Cooperation for Peace in Chile (COPACHI) and the Vicarite of Solidarity, he was an outspoken opponent of Augusto Pinochet, the military ruler of Chile from 1973 to 1990.

Silva died at a Salesian retirement house in La Florida, at age 91, and is buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Santiago. Upon his death, he left Franz König as the only surviving cardinal elevated by John XXIII. The government of Chile also declared five days of national mourning after his death. [2]



  1. TIME Magazine. New Spirit in the Church August 23, 1963
  2. Chile mourns Cardinal Henriquez
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
Rafael Lira
Bishop of Valparaíso
Succeeded by
Emilio Tagle
Preceded by
José María Caro
Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
Succeeded by
Juan Francisco Fresno
no:Raúl Silva Henríqueztr:Raúl Silva Henríquez

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