Péter Erdő

Péter Erdő (Hungarian: Erdő Péter, pronounced [ˈɛrdøː ˈpeːtɛr]; born 25 June 1952) is a Hungarian Cardinal of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Erdő currently serves as the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, and thus Primate of Hungary.

Péter Erdő
Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
The Primate of Hungary
Péter Erdő in 2011.jpg
Cardinal Erdő at the St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest
Appointed7 December 2002
Installed11 January 2003
PredecessorLászló Paskai, O.F.M.
Other postsCardinal-Priest of S. Balbina
Ordination18 June 1975
by László Lékai
Consecration5 November 1999
by Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal21 October 2003
Personal details
Birth namePéter Erdő
Born (1952-06-25) 25 June 1952 (age 68)
Budapest, Hungary
DenominationCatholic Church
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Coat of armsPéter Erdő's coat of arms
Styles of
Péter Erdő
Coat of arms of Péter Erdő.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

He is the Cardinal-Priest assigned to the Basilica of Santa Balbina, was the President of the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe from 2006 to 2016, and was the Relator General for the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Erdő is reputed as having a prominent Marian devotion to Our Lady of Consolation. He is fluent in Italian, French, Hungarian (native language) and Latin.


An image of Our Lady of Consolation holding the Child Jesus

Erdő was born in Budapest, 25 June 1952,[1] the first of the six children of Sándor and Mária (née Kiss) Erdő. He studied at the seminaries of Esztergom and Budapest, and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (where he attained a doctorate in both theology and canon law). On 18 June 1975, Erdő was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop László Lékai, and was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Esztergom.[1] He worked as parochial vicar in Dorog, and then continued his studies in Rome from 1977 to 1980. For the next eight years, he taught as a professor of theology and canon law at the Seminary of Esztergom, and held guest lectures at several foreign universities. Erdő served in the Hungarian Episcopal Conference as Secretary of the Commission of Canon Law in 1986, and later as its president in 1999. In 1988 he began teaching theology at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, serving as rector from 1998 to 2003. From 2005 he is the Great Chancellor of the university.

On 5 November 1999, he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Székesfehérvár and titular bishop of Puppi.[1] He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 2000, from Pope John Paul II himself, with Archbishops Giovanni Battista Re and Marcello Zago, OMI, acting as co-consecrators. Erdő was named Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest on 7 December 2002, and as such, he received the title of Primate of Hungary.[1] Cardinal Erdő became a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2007 and a full member in 2013.[2] In 2011, he was appointed as "doctor honoris causa" by the University of Navarra (Spain).


He was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Balbina by John Paul II in the consistory of 21 October 2003. He was the youngest cardinal member of the Sacred College until the appointment of Reinhard Marx in 2010.

Erdő was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that selected Pope Francis, and can continue to exercise his right to vote in any future conclave until his 80th birthday on 25 June 2032.[3]

Erdő was elected President of the Hungarian Episcopal Conference in September 2005 for a five-year term, and President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe in October 2006 for the same period of time. On 17 January 2009 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture by Pope Benedict,[4] and on 29 January 2011 of the Secretariat of State (Second Section).[5]

Erdő sponsored the Thirteenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, in Esztergom, 3–9 August 2008. On 19 October 2011, the apostolic nunciature in Peru announced that he was going to be apostolic visitor to intervene in the dispute between the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and the Archdiocese of Lima. This was a controversial choice since the Archbishop of Lima Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne is a member of the same Opus Dei personal prelature that, through the Opus Dei's University of Navarra, granted Erdő a doctor honoris causa degree in that same year.[citation needed]

On Tuesday, 18 September 2012, Erdő was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be one of the Synod Fathers for the upcoming October 2012 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.[6]

Erdő had been mentioned as a possible candidate to be elected pope during the papal conclave 2013.[7]

On Monday 14 October 2013, Erdő was named by Pope Francis to serve as the Relator General of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which took place from 5 to 19 October 2014. The chosen theme is "The challenges of the family in the context of evangelization".[8] He resumed his appointment as Relator General when the Synod reconvened in October 2015.[9] In the 2015 book The Rigging Of A Synod?, Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin claimed that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri had pressured Erdő to soften the wording of his 2014 address to the Synod.[10] In 2015, Erdő's second address to the synod was described by journalists, such as Damian Thompson of The Spectator and John L. Allen, Jr. of the Boston Globe, as more theologically conservative in its tone.[10][11]


Cardinal MindszentyEdit

Erdő requested that the Hungarian Chief Prosecutor's Office legally, morally and politically rehabilitate Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, his predecessor, who fought Hungary's communist regime and was arrested by the country's Stalinist dictatorship, after which he sought refuge in the American embassy in Budapest. The Chief Prosecutor's Office ultimately rehabilitated Mindszenty in 2012 thanks to Erdő's intervention.[12] In 2006, he sent a letter of gratitude to president George W. Bush on the 50th anniversary of Cardinal Mindszenty's forced arrest because of the political support that Americans had granted to Mindszenty at the time.[13]

Divorced and remarried CatholicsEdit

During a Vatican press conference in October 2014, Erdő expressed opposition to the idea of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion.[14]

Erdő, who is the Relator General at the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops told journalists at a press conference in Rome that the Catholic Church will not change its policy on the matter after the synod.[15][16]

Romani peopleEdit

Erdő has written about the special socio-economic conditions of the Romani people and has openly wondered on the correct way to evangelize them.[17]

Church in HungaryEdit

Erdő has focused on Hungary's need to restore its faith and hope, while celebrating Midnight Mass at St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, to mark the Christmas holiday.[18]

External linksEdit

  • "Erdő Card. Péter". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  • Cardinal Erdő bio


  1. ^ a b c d "Bio". catholic-hierarchy.com. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Members" (in Hungarian). Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  3. ^ Pentin, Edward (22 July 2009). "What happens to the Roman Catholic Church (and who comes next) if anything happens to Pope Benedict.". Newsweek. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  4. ^ "NOMINA DI MEMBRI E DI CONSULTORI DEL PONTIFICIO CONSIGLIO DELLA CULTURA". Retrieved 19 March 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2011/01/29/0061/00138.html
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Andrew Brown: How will the next pope be chosen? Archived 27 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian, 5 March 2013
  8. ^ "RINUNCE E NOMINE". vatican.va.
  9. ^ https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2015/10/05/0759/01629.html
  10. ^ a b "The Vatican 'Family synod' and the sex abuse scandal that could engulf Pope Francis". The Spectator. October 2015. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  11. ^ "On Day One of Synod 2015, conservatives strike first". cruxnow.com. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Chief Prosecutor's Office fully rehabilitates exiled Cardinal Mindszenty". Politics.hu. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Letter of Cardinal Erdő to George W. Bush". cardinalrating.com. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008.
  14. ^ ""Remarried divorcees belong to the Church," says Synod's Relator". lastampa.it.
  15. ^ "Synod Leader: Don't Expect Changes in Catholic Church Policy". Newsmax.
  16. ^ "Key cardinal at the family synod: Nothing's going to change". cruxnow.com.
  17. ^ "Pastorale des tziganes : quelle attitude adopter ?". cardinalrating.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008.
  18. ^ "Nation needs restoration of faith and love, says Cardinal". cardinalrating.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
László Paskai
Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
7 December 2002–present