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from issue no. 01/02 - 2006

BIOGRAPHY. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran

John Paul II’s Foreign Minister

Jean-Louis Tauran

Jean-Louis Tauran

The French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran was born on 5 April 1943 in Bordeaux. He did classical studies in his native city at the “Michel Montaigne” high school and, after two years spent in the diocesan upper seminary, was sent to Rome as a student at the Pontifical French Seminary. Ordained priest on 20 September 1969, in 1973 he was called to Rome where he attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he gained a degree in Canon Law. Joining the Vatican diplomatic service in March 1975, he was posted to the Apostolic Nunciature in the Dominican Republic, where he worked up to 1979, when he was transferred to the Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon. He remained in Beirut up to July 1983, when he was called to work at the Council of the Public Affairs of the Church where he dealt chiefly with international bodies. In 1988 he was appointed “Assistant Foreign Minister” of the Holy See. And two years later, on 1 December 1990, he was nominated titular archbishop of Telepte and put in charge of the Vatican’s Foreign Office. A post that he held for thirteen years, up till 2003, when John Paul II created him cardinal and appointed him Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church.
Currently the cardinal is a member of many Vatican departments. He is in fact on the Council of the II Section of the Secretariat of State; of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Oriental Churches and for the Bishops; of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signet; and of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
As well as playing the piano and organ Cardinal Tauran is a great admirer of Johann Sebastian Bach. He enjoys the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and of Frederic Chopin. He is also very fond of opera, his favorite being Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. A great devourer of books, he particularly likes biographies of great historical figures. At the moment he is near to finishing the French edition, published by le Edition du Cerf in 2004, of the monumental work by the American scholar John P. Meier, Jesus, a marginal Jew: rethinking the historical Jesus.
What we have printed on these pages is the text of the lecture given last 31 January by Cardinal Tauran to the Faculty of Jurisprudence of the University of Siena on “The Middle Eastern policy of the Holy See”. The lecture was part of the Law & Religion program of Siena University’s department of Public Law, co-ordinated by Professor Marco Ventura. And there was also a paper from Professor Giovanni Barberini of the University of Perugia, author of Le Saint-Siège. Sujet souverain de droit international, published in France in 2003 with a preface by Cardinal Tauran.

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