Jorge Medina

Jorge Medina bigraphy, stories - Catholic cardinal

Jorge Medina : biography

December 23, 1926 –

Jorge Arturo Agustín Medina Estévez (born December 23, 1926, in Santiago, Chile) is a Chilean Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Cardinal Protodeacon until February 23, 2007, and is Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


Medina was created a Cardinal-Deacon in the consistory of February 21, 1998, with the title of San Saba. He was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from February 23, 1998, until his retirement on October 1, 2002.

Medina was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave, and, following the conclusion of the conclave, as Cardinal Protodeacon (the senior-most cardinal deacon), he had the honor of announcing to the world the election of Pope Benedict XVI with the famous Habemus Papam formula, being the first non-Italian to do so; as protodeacon, Cardinal Medina also imposed the petrine pallium on Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Medina lost his right to participate in any future conclaves after December 23, 2006, when he turned 80 years of age. After his 80th birthday he went back to Chile in order to help as a priest in a parish. On March 1, 2008, he was elevated to Cardinal-Priest, the deaconry of San Saba being elevated pro hac vice to a "title". i.e. to the rank of seat of a Cardinal Priest.

Early life and ordination

Medina was born in Santiago in 1926, and studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (where he received a baccalaureate in the arts and biology) and the Major Seminary of Santiago. He was ordained a priest on June 12, 1954, by Bishop Pio Fariña Fariña, the vicar general and an auxiliary bishop of Santiago.

Church scholar

Earning a doctorate in theology in 1955, Medina taught philosophy and theology at the Major Seminary of Santiago and of the Pontifical Catholic University, respectively. He also served as a dean of the university, and as a peritus at the Second Vatican Council; for the latter he later received an honoris causa doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in 1996.


Madonna concert

In December 2008, while giving a mass for the soul of former dictator Augusto Pinochet, Medina spoke out against a visit to Chile by pop musician Madonna. Medina used the pulpit to indirectly condemn Madonna’s "performances", stating that they encouraged impure thoughts and actions.

Pedophilia and homosexuality

Regarding the prominent 80-year-old priest Fernando Karadima, whom in January 2011 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, finding him guilty of having sexually abused minors, ordered to retire to a life of prayer and penitence and never to exercise the priesthood in public again, and who was then accused under Chilean civil law of sexual abuse of minors, Medina doubted that he would be sent to prison, since homosexual activity was not a crime in Chilean civil law and use of the term "sexual abuse" could be questioned: "With all due respect to the laws of my country, a child of 8 or 9 is very different from a 17-year-old … A 17-year-old youngster knows what he is doing." He also remarked that priests are not immune from the devil’s works: "Any informed Christian knows we are prone to weakness because of our human fragility. The devil gets in where he can. Priests are not immune from his snares." He defended the canonical sanctions imposed on Karadima as being the heaviest that could be imposed short of laicization, and as having taken into account Karadima’s age and merits.

One of Karadima’s accusers called the cardinal’s remark about 17-year-olds "an unwarranted attack". Another added that it was an attack not only on those who had denounced Karadima, but on all who were honestly looking for truth and justice for their lives. He regarded Medina’s statements as "extremely suspicious, as if he wanted to diminish the outline of these grave actions, reducing the issue to homosexuality in a very silly manner, as if, furthermore, homosexuality and abuse were synonymous". The statements, he said, "were an attempt to free from responsibility someone who took advantage of his position of power over more vulnerable persons".


  • He is a Doctor Scientiae et honoris causa from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
  • He is also a chaplain ad honorem of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.