Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy, gives a talk at the Rome Life Forum in Rome May 19. Cardinal Caffarra, an outspoken defender of marriage and family, died Sept. 6 at the age of 79. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, retired archbishop of Bologna and founder of the Pope John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, died Sept. 6 at the age of 79.

He was one of four cardinals who formally asked Pope Francis to clarify his teaching on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.

He was teaching medical ethics at Rome’s Sacred Heart University in 1974 when Blessed Paul VI named him a member of the International Theological Commission, a membership he held for 10 years.

In 1983, St. John Paul II named him a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Part of his five-year service overlapped with the time Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now retired Pope Benedict XVI – led the congregation.

St. John Paul named him bishop of Ferrara-Comacchio in 1995 and named him head of the Archdiocese of Bologna late in 2003.

As founding president of the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome in 1981, he presided over the opening of the affiliates of the institute in Washington, Mexico and Spain.

In March 2006, he was inducted into the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict and was outspoken in his defense of Catholic teaching on marriage, contraception, abortion and homosexuality.