Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval

Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval of Santa Cruz, the only member of the College of Cardinals who belonged to the Redemptorist order, and the only Cardinal from Bolivia, died Dec. 9 at the age of 79.

Cardinal Terrazas
Cardinal Terrazas

Elevated to the College of Cardinals by St. John Paul II in 2001, Cardinal Terrazas became the first Bolivian-born cardinal. Bolivia’s only other cardinal had been born in Germany.

The Bolivian cardinal was seen as a prudent leader but also an outspoken defender of human rights, workers’ rights, justice and the right to life of the unborn.

Cardinal Terrazas, a mixed-race Bolivian, was born March 7, 1936, in the Andean town of Vallegrande.

After studying in Vallegrande, he migrated to Chile to pursue his vocation. In 1962, he was ordained a priest for the Redemptorist order, and after working as a priest in Chile for two years, he was made pastor in the Andean city of Oruro, Bolivia.

In 1978, he was appointed auxiliary of the Archdiocese of La Paz. In 1982, he was appointed bishop of Oruro, and in 1991, he was appointed archbishop of Santa Cruz. He retired in 2013.

He attended three world Synods of Bishops and the special Synod of Bishops for America in 1997. The cardinal was elected president of the bishops’ conference for two consecutive terms in the 1980s and again in 2006 and 2009.

His death leaves the College of Cardinals with 216 members, 117 of whom are younger than 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.