Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, until now prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as the new archbishop of Valencia, Spain.
The Holy Father has also appointed Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, hitherto archbishop of Valencia, as the new archbishop of Madrid, replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela who has retired on age grounds.
The Vatican has yet to announce a successor to Cardinal Cañizares, 68, who had served as prefect of the Congregation since 2008.
The Spanish cardinal was widely tipped to become the next archbishop of Madrid, but health concerns may have been a factor in his appointment to a diocese less challenging than that of the Spanish capital.
Born in Utiel, in the archdiocese of Valencia, he has been a professor of theology at various Church learning institutions, and has been a member of a number of committees and secretariats of the Spanish bishops’ conference.
Ordained priest in 1970, he was appointed bishop of Avila in 1992, before moving to head the Granada diocese in 1996, and Toledo in 2002. He was vice president of Spain’s bishops’ conference from 2005 to 2008.
Elevated to cardinal in 2006, Cardinal Cañizares has sometimes been nicknamed “little Ratzinger” on account of his similar theological views as well as physical resemblance to the Pope Emeritus.
Archbishop Osoro, 69, was born in Castañeda, in the province and diocese of Santander. Ordained priest in 1973, he has been a seminary rector, cathedral chapter president, and director of a theological institute. He was appointed Archbishop of Valencia in 2009.
Within Spain’s bishops’ conference, he is currently vice-president and has served as president of the bishops’ Commission for Clergy.