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Stanisław Ryłko (born July 4, 1945) is a Polishmarker Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007.


Early life and ordination

Stanisław Ryłko was born in Andrychówmarker to Władysław and Aurelia Ryłko. He has two siblings: a brother, Władysław (d. 2007), and a sister, Jadwiga. He graduated from the Lyceum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in Andrychów in 1963 before entering the seminary in Krakówmarker, later obtaining his licentiate in moral theology. Ryłko then traveled to Romemarker to study at the Pontifical Gregorian Universitymarker, from where he earned his doctorate in social sciences. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła on March 30, 1969, in Wawel Cathedralmarker, and then did pastoral work in Poroninmarker until 1971.

Pastoral work

Ryłko served as vice-rector of the Kraków seminary before teaching practical theology the Pontifical Theological Academy of Krakówmarker. He was secretary of the lay apostolate commission of the Polishmarker Episcopal Conference as well. In 1987, he returned to Rome and was charged with the section for the youth of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; during this time, he organized of the World Youth Day of 1989 and of 1991. He was then transferred to the Polish section of the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1992.


On December 20, 1995, Ryłko was appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Titular Archbishop of Novica by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on January 6, 1996 from John Paul II, with Archbishops Giovanni Re and Jorge Mejía serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilicamarker. As Secretary, Ryłko served as the second-highest official of that dicastery, successively under Eduardo Francisco Pironio and James Stafford.

He was later named President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on October 4, 2003. Upon the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, Ryłko and all major Vatican officials, in accord with custom, automatically lost their positions during the sede vacante. He was then confirmed as President of the Laity by Pope Benedict XVI on the following 21 April.


Pope Benedict created him Cardinal Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re in the consistory of November 24, 2007. Ryłko remains eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves until his eightieth birthday on July 4, 2025.

On 12 June 2008 in addition to his main duties he was appointed by Benedict as a member of congregations in the Roman Curia [572631]. These are: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Besides his native Polish, the Cardinal also speaks Italian, English, and German.


Relations with the secular world

Cardinal Ryłko has said that the time has come for Christians to free themselves from their false inferiority complex against the so-called secular world, to be courageous disciples of Christ.

World Youth Day

Cardinal Ryłko has praised the work of World Youth Day during the meeting in Rome with leaders of this ecclesial event.

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