Franc Rode CM (or Rodé;[1] born 23 September 1934) is a Slovenian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, having served as prefect from 2004 to 2011. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2006.[2]

Franc Rode

Archbishop Emeritus of Ljubljana
Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Cardinal Franc Rode.jpg
Appointed11 February 2004
Term ended4 January 2011
PredecessorEduardo Martínez Somalo
SuccessorJoão Braz de Aviz
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest ("pro hac vice") of San Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella
Ordination29 June 1960
by André-Jean-François Defebvre
Consecration6 April 1997
by Alojzij Šuštar
Created cardinal24 March 2006
by Pope Benedict XVI
Personal details
Birth nameFranc Rode
Born (1934-09-23) 23 September 1934 (age 87)
Rodica, Slovenia
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
Alma materPontifical Gregorian University, Catholic Institute of Paris
MottoStati inu obstati
Coat of armsFranc Rode's coat of arms

He was raised to the rank of Cardinal-Priest on 20 June 2016 by Pope Francis while retaining his titular church.


Early life and religious professionEdit

Franc Rode was born in Rodica near Ljubljana, in Yugoslavia (modern-day Slovenia). In 1945 he and his family sought refuge in Austria and later fled to Argentina in 1948. He entered the Congregation of the Mission, more commonly known as the Vincentians or Lazarists, in Buenos Aires in 1952, making his perpetual profession in 1957. Rode studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and at the Catholic Institute of Paris, from where he obtained his doctorate in theology in 1968. Rode is fluent in Slovene, Spanish, Italian, French, and German.

Pastoral workEdit

Rode was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop André-Jean-François Defebvre CM, on 29 June 1960 in Paris. In 1965, at the request of his superiors, Rode returned to Yugoslavia, where he worked as vice-pastor, director of studies and provincial visitor of the Lazarists, and professor of fundamental theology and Missiology at the Theological Faculty of Ljubljana.

Curial workEdit

In 1978 Rode was made consultor of the Secretariat for Non-Believers in the Roman Curia, being transferred to that dicastery in 1981 and rising to become its Undersecretary in 1982. During this time, he assisted in the organization of some significant dialogue sessions with European Marxists. When Pope John Paul II united the Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Council for Non-Believers in 1993, he appointed Rode Secretary of the new Pontifical Council for Culture. As Secretary, he served as the second-highest official of that dicastery, under Paul Poupard.


On 5 March 1997, Pope John Paul appointed Rode Archbishop of Ljubljana. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 6 April from Archbishop Alojzij Šuštar, with Archbishop Franc Perko and Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Archbishop of Toronto, a fellow ethnic Slovene bishop from the diaspora serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of Ljubljana. Rode successfully guided the negotiations for a new concordat to final approval in 2004.


Rode was created a Cardinal Deacon by Pope Benedict XVI on 24 March 2006. His motto is a phrase in Old Slovene, "Stati inu obstati" (To Exist and Persevere / To Stand and Withstand), taken from the Catechism of Primož Trubar, which is also inscribed on the Slovenian 1 euro coin. In 2013 he was the first Slovenian in history to participate in a papal conclave.[citation needed]

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated LifeEdit

Rode returned to the Roman Curia upon his nomination as Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on 11 February 2004.[3] Pope Benedict XVI later created Rode Cardinal-Deacon of S. Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella in the consistory of 24 March 2006. In January 2011, he retired as the prefect of the Congregation.[4][5]

Until his 80th birthday Rode was a member of the various offices in the Roman Curia: congregations of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for Bishops; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Catholic Education; Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

Allegations of fatherhoodEdit

In August 2012 Slovenian media reported allegations that Rode had fathered a child.[6] Rode denied the allegations and expressed willingness to submit to a DNA test. He also announced lawsuits against the media for alleged breaches of his right to privacy. "After all they've done to me they deserve this," he said.[7] The DNA test proved negative.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "RODÉ Card. Franc, C.M." Holy See Press Office. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Benedict XVI names 15 new Cardinals". Catholic News Agency. 22 February 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 11.02.2004" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 11 February 2004. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1] 28 August (in Slovenian) Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  7. ^ [2] 28 August (in Slovenian) Retrieved 21 September 2012.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Undersecretary of the Secretariat for Non-Believers
1982 – 1987
Succeeded by
José Montero
Preceded by
Jordán Gallego Salvadores
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers
1987 – 25 March 1993
Office abolished
Preceded by
Hervé Carrier
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture
25 March 1993 – 5 March 1997
Succeeded by
Bernard Ardura
Preceded by Archbishop of Ljubljana
5 March 1997 – 11 February 2004
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Slovenian Episcopal Conference
1997 – 2004
Succeeded by
Franc Kramberger
Preceded by Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
11 February 2004 – 4 January 2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by Cardinal-Deacon of San Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella
24 March 2006 – 20 June 2016
Himself as Cardinal-Priest
Himself as Cardinal-Deacon Cardinal-Priest 'pro hac vice' of San Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella
20 June 2016 –