Franc Rode

For the Slovenian engineer and inventor, see France Rode.
His Eminence
Franc Rode, C.M.
Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

Cardinal Rode
Appointed 11 February 2004
Term ended 4 January 2011
Predecessor Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Successor João Braz de Aviz
Other posts Cardinal-Priest ("pro hac vice") of San Francesco Saverio alla Garbatella
Ordination 29 June 1960
by André-Jean-François Defebvre, C.M.
Consecration 6 April 1997
by Alojzij Šuštar
Created Cardinal 24 March 2006
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Franc Rode
Born (1934-09-23) 23 September 1934
Rodica, Slovenia
Nationality Slovenian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Alma mater Pontifical Gregorian University, Catholic Institute of Paris
Motto Stati inu obstati
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Franc Rode (or Rodé[1]), C.M. (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]

He was inducted into the rank of Cardinal-Priest on 20 June 2016 by Pope Francis while retaining his diaconate.


Early life and religious profession

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.

Pastoral work

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 work

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, and thus chief bishop of Slovenia (without the title of "Primate"). He received his episcopal consecration on the following 6 April from Archbishop Alojzij Šuštar, with Archbishops Franc Perko and Aloysius Ambrozic 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, although not considered a Papabile.

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

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. 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.[3][4]

Rode is a member of the various offices in the Roman Curia. These are: 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 a member of these dicasteries until his 80th birthday on 23 September 2014, when he lost the right to vote in a Papal Conclave.

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

Rode is fluent in Slovene, Spanish, Italian, French, and German.

Allegations of fatherhood

Allegations of Rode's paternity of a child surfaced in the Slovenia media in August 2012.[5] Rode denied the allegations and expressed willingness to submit himself 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," Slovenian media quoted Rode as saying.[6] The DNA test was negative and hence the allegations were proved false.[7]


  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.
  5. 28 August (in Slovenian) Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  6. 28 August (in Slovenian) Retrieved 21 September 2012.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alojzij Šuštar
Archbishop of Ljubljana
Succeeded by
Alojzij Uran
Preceded by
Alojzij Šuštar
President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference
Succeeded by
Franc Kramberger
Preceded by
Eduardo Martínez Somalo
Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Succeeded by
João Braz de Aviz

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