(224) 23. QUEZADA TORUÑO, Rodolfo
Birth. March 8, 1932, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala. Eldest of the three sons of René Quezada Alejos and Clemencia Toruño Lizarralde. The other two boys were José Fernando and Gerardo. He was baptized in the parish of "El Sagrario", with the names Rodolfo Ignacio de Jesús. His maternal uncle, Father Jorge Toruño, was Jesuit. His testimony influenced Rodolfo's vocation.
Education. Initial studies at Colegio de San José de los Infantes, Guatemala; then, he studied at Seminary of San José de la Montaña, San Salvador, El Salvador (philosophy); then, at the University of Innsbruck, Austria (licentiate in theology, 1959); and later, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1962. He spoke Spanish, Latin, French, Italian and German.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 21, 1956, Guatemala, by Mariano Rossell y Arellano, archbishop of Guatemala. Coadjutor in the parish of the Sagrario of the metropolitan cathedral. Vice-chancellor of the archdiocese. Defender of the Matrimonial Bond in the Archdiocesan Tribunal. Assessor of Juventud Estudiantil Católica (JEC). Assessor of Acción Católica Universitaria (ACUR). University pastor. Pastor of San Miguel de Capuchinas. Rector of the Shrine of Guadalupe. Chaplain of His Holiness, August 18, 1968. Rector of the Conciliar Seminary of Santiago, Guatemala. Rector of the Mayor National Seminary of the Asunción, Guatemala. He was professor of canon law at the Salesian Theological Institute, Guatemala; of professional ethics at the School of Social Service, University of San Carlos de Guatemala; of canon law at the Faculty of Law, Rafael Landívar University, Guatemala. Academic numerary of the Academy of Geography and History of Guatemala, 1967; member correspondiente of the Academis of History of Spain, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay.
Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Gadiaufala and appointed auxiliary of Zacapa, April 5, 1972. Consecrated, May 13, 1972, metropolitan cathedral of Santiago, Guatemala, by Girolamo Prigione, titular archbishop of Lauriaco, nuncio in Guatemala, assisted by Costantino Cristiano Luna Pianegonda, bishop of Zacapa, and by José Ramiro Pellecer Samayoa, titular bishop of Teglata di Proconsulari, auxiliary of Guatemala. His episcopal motto was Fortes in fide. Named coadjutor of Zacapa, with right of succession, September 11, 1975. Attended the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, Puebla, México, January 27 to February 13, 1979. Succeeded to the see of Zacapa, February 16, 1980. Prelate of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas, June 24, 1986. Attended the Seventh Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October to 30, 1987. President of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, 1988-1992. He played a key role in bringing to an end the civil war that raged in his country for 36 years and cost thousands of lives. Together with Bishop Juan Gerardi, the future cardinal was a member of the National Reconciliation Commission; and its president, 1987-1993. Official conciliator between the government and the guerrillas of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit, (1990-1994); the peace process culminated in 1996. President of the Assembly of the Civil Society, 1994. President of the FoundationCasa de la Reconciliación from 1998. Bishop Gerardi was murdered in April 1998. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Guatemala, June 19, 2001.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of October 21, 2003; received the red biretta and the title of S. Saturnino, October 21, 2003. President of the Second American Missionary Congress, Guatemala City, November 25-30, 2003. Elected president of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, January 31, 2004. Participated in the conclave of April 18 to 19, 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI. Participated in the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate that took place from May 13 to 31, 2007, in Aparecida, Brazil. Resigned the pastoral government of the archdiocese in conformity with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law, on October 2, 2010. The cardinal was apostolic administrator of the metropolitan see of Guatemala until the installation of his successor, Óscar Julio Vian Morales, S.D.B., until then archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán, on December 4, 2010. Lost the right to participate in the conclave when turned eighty years old on March 8, 2012. He was called "El Cardenal de la Paz".
Death. June 4, 2012, at 6:50 a.m., of a post-operatory cardiac arrest, in the private hospital "Hermano Pedro", in that city. Upon learning the news of his death, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the eternal repose of his soul and sent a telegram of condolence (1). The government of Guatemala declared three days of mourning. His body was exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Guatemala. The body of the cardinal was buried in the chapel of Santiago Apóstol, patron saint of the archdiocese, in the left nave of the metropolitan cathedral of that city.
Webgraphy. Biography, in Spanish, archidiócesis de Guatemala; photograph and biography, in English, Wikipedia; his photograph and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
(1) This is the text of the telegram, taken from the Bulletin of the Vatican Press Office:
Hondamente apenado por el fallecimiento del querido Cardenal Rodolfo Ignacio Quezada Toruño, arzobispo emérito de Guatemala, deseo hace llegar mi más sentido pésame al Pastor y a los Obispos Auxiliares, así como al Clero y los Fieles de esa Iglesia particular, como también a los Familiares del difunto purpurado, uniéndome a ellos con fervientes oraciones de sufragio para que el Señor conceda su paz a quien ha servido tan intensa y generosamente a la Iglesia durante su ministerio pastoral, como guía de la diócesis de Zacapa y prelado de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas, y después como arzobispo de esa sede metropolitana de Guatemala.
Con la fe en el msiterio pascual de Cristo que ilumina y llena de esperanza los momentos de dolor, el el recuerdo de un Pastor entregado a la misión evangelizadora, me es grato impartir de corazón a cuantos lloran tan sensible pérdida una especial Bendició Apostólica.