Biography of the Primate Archbishop

Braulio Rodríguez Plaza

Archbishop of Toledo
Primate of Spain

Archbishop Braulio Rodríguez Plaza was born in the town of Aldea del Fresno (in the province of Madrid) on 27 January 1944, the seventh child in a family of nine. In 1960 he began to study first in the Minor Seminary and then in the Main Seminary of Madrid, where he studied humanities, philosophy and theology. In 1973 he was awarded a higher degree in Biblical Theology by the Pontifical University of Comillas. After two years of studies (1979-81) at L'École Biblique in Jerusalem, he obtained a degree in the Holy Scriptures and by 1990 he became a Doctor in Biblical Theology by the North School of Theology, at the Burgos campus, with a doctoral thesis on ‘Jesus' Trial before the Sanhedrin and the Early Christian Catechism. He is well versed in the Bible, liturgy, and pastoral care for families.

On 3 April 1972 he was ordained presbyter by Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón, and served that diocese for fifteen years in the parishes of Cubas de la Sagra (in charge of parish's administration, 1977-77), San Miguel in the Madrid neighbourhood of Carabanchel (parish vicar, 1977-79) and San Fulgencio (in charge of the parish's administration, 1981-84). He was also the chaplain of the well-known San Isidro shrine. In 1984-1987 he was a member of the Team of Educators at the Diocesan Seminary in Madrid, helping many young people on their way to becoming presbyterates, and started the secretaryship of the Biblical Studies magazine.

Under these circumstances, he was appointed bishop of Osma-Soria on 13 November 1987 and was ordained on 20 December. He remained in this diocese until he was appointed bishop of Salamanca on 12 May 1995, taking possession on 9 July. He lived in Salamanca for seven years, where he showed his closeness to the people and a warm personality by renovating the old Calatrava Seminar to convert it into a Church House; redistributing the parishes into thirteen pastoral areas; appointing several lay delegates; creating the Diocesan School of Christian Entertainers and having the diocese take part in events such as the Great Jubilee in 2000 and Salamanca European Capital of Culture 2002, with exhibitions, festivals and seminars.

In the Spanish Episcopal Conference he was a member of the episcopal committees on Liturgy (1987-96 and since 2005), Doctrine of the Faith (1987-90) and Secular Apostleship (1990-99), chairing the Sub-Committee on Family and Life (1996-99) and the Secular Apostleship Committee (1999-2005). By appointment by the Episcopal Conference, he is also Vice-Great Chancellor of the Pontifical University of Salamanca since 1995.

His designation by the Holy Father as 13th Metropolitan Archbishop and 39th bishop of Madrid was made public on 28 August 2002; he took possession on 13 October 2002 and on 29 June 2003 he received the pallium from Pope John Paul II.

On 16 April 2009, Benedict XVI named him Archbishop-elect of Toledo, in substitution of Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, and took possession of the See on 21 June 2009. He is the 120th archbishop in the apostolic succession of Pastors who have presided over the primate archdiocese.