Mario Casariego y Acevedo, CRS (13 February 1909 – 15 June 1983) was
a Spanish-born Guatemalan Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He
served as Archbishop of
Guatemala City from 1964 until his death, and
was elevated to the cardinalate in 1969.
Mario Casariego y Acevedo was born in
Castropol to Mario and Ágata
(née Acevedo) Casariego. He entered the Clerics Regular of Somasca,
more commonly known as the Somascan Fathers, in 1924, and made his
profession on 3 October 1930. Casariego studied at the Somascan houses
of studies in
Bergamo and Genoa, and at the Somascan theological
seminary in San Salvador.
He was ordained to the priesthood on 19 July 1936, and then did
pastoral work at La Ceiba Institute in
San Salvador until 1948, whence
he became its rector. From 1954 to 1957, Casariego served as a
counselor to his religious order. He was also its provincial superior
of Central America from 1957 to 1958.
On 15 November 1958, Casariego was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of
Guatemala City and Titular Bishop of Pudentiana by Pope Pius XII. He
received his episcopal consecration on the following 27 December from
Pope John himself, with Bishops Girolamo Bortignon, OFM Cap, and
Gioacchino Muccin serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilica.
Casariego later attended the
Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965,
during which he was promoted to Coadjutor Archbishop of
and Titular Archbishop of Perge on 22 September 1963. He succeeded the
Mariano Rossell y Arellano
Mariano Rossell y Arellano as Archbishop of
Guatemala City on 12
December 1964. Casariego was kidnapped for several days by a terrorist
group (right extremists from a death squad who wanted to blame
Guatemalan leftist guerrilla) in March 1968.
Paul VI created him Cardinal Priest of
S. Maria in Aquiro
S. Maria in Aquiro in the
consistory of 28 April 1969; Casariego was the first cardinal from
Guatemala. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the
conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I
and John Paul II respectively.
The Cardinal was an ardent supporter of Guatemala's authoritarian
regime, so much so that his automobile was accompanied by a radio
patrol and two armed motorcycle guards. In response to the murder
of many politically active priests, Casariego said he knew of no
murdered clergy in his country, where most accounts claimed there had
been at least ten. Moreover, he also stated, "If you mix in
politics, you get what you deserve."
Cardinal Casariego died in
Guatemala City, at the age of 74. He is
buried in the metropolitan cathedral of the same.
^ Mario Casariego, arzobispo de Guatemala. El País, 18 June 1983,
^ Poitevin, René. "La iglesia y la democracia en Guatemala[permanent
dead link]". Anuario de Estudios Centroamericanos, 16(1), 1990, pp
87–109. Universidad de Costa Rica.
^ TIME Magazine. Papal Oddsmacking 17 July 1978
^ TIME Magazine. The New Missionary 27 December 1982
Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
Catholic Church titles
Mariano Rossell y Arellano
Próspero Penados del Barrio
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