Joan Josep Omella i Omella

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Juan José Omella y Omella
Archbishop of Barcelona
Card. Omella (34385666133).jpg
Juan José Omella in 2017.
Appointed6 November 2015
Installed26 December 2015
PredecessorLluís Martínez Sistach
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (2017-)
President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (2020-)
Ordination20 September 1970
Consecration22 September 1996
by Elías Yanes Alvarez
Created cardinal28 June 2017
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Birth nameJuan José Omella y Omella
Born (1946-04-21) 21 April 1946 (age 74)
Cretas, Teruel, Spain
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
MottoPor la entrañable misericordia de nuestro Dios ("Through the tender mercy of our God")
Coat of armsJuan José Omella y Omella's coat of arms
Styles of
Juan José Omella y Omella
Coat of arms of Juan Jose Omella Omella.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Joan Josep Omella i Omella (also Juan José;[a] born 21 April 1946) is a Spanish prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been the Archbishop of Barcelona since the end of 2015, cardinal since 28 June 2017, and president of the Episcopal Conference of Spain since 3 March 2020.


Omella was born in the village of Cretas in the Catalan-speaking part of Aragon. One of his sisters still lives there, while the other died at a young age.

The village priest prepared him to enter the seminary of Zaragoza. He studied at education centres for missionaries in Leuven and Jerusalem as well. On 20 September 1970 he was ordained a priest. He then worked for the church in Zaragoza and in Zaire.[2]

Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Zaragoza on 15 July 1996 and he was consecrated a bishop on 22 September by Elías Yanes Alvarez, Archbishop of Zaragoza.

John Paul II named him bishop of Barbastro-Monzón in 1999. He held the posts of Apostolic Administrator of Huesca and of Jaca from 2001 to 2003. In 2004 he was named bishop of Calahorra and La Calzada-Logroño.

He has been a member of the Commission of Social Ministry of the Spanish Episcopal Conference since 1996 and president of that commission from 2002 to 2008. He is serving another term as president from 2014 to 2017.[2] On 6 November 2014, Pope Francis appointed him a member of the Congregation for Bishops.[2] According to El Periodico, Omella engineered the early retirement of Manuel Ureña Pastor as Archbishop of Zaragoza in November 2014.[3][4]

On 6 November 2015, Pope Francis appointed Omella Archbishop of Barcelona.[5] He was installed there on 26 December.[6]

On 21 May 2017, Pope Francis announced plans to make him a cardinal at a consistory scheduled for 28 June 2017.[7] El Diario said the appointment made clear that Pope Francis's preferred representatives in Spain were Omella and Carlos Osoro, the Archbishop of Madrid whom Francis made a cardinal in 2016, and not the recently elected members of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, perceived as more conservative. It noted that Omella's appointment to the Congregation for Bishops positioned him to influence the future of church leadership in Spain. It cited as well his pastoral letters on social issues and ties to Manos Unidas [es], which focuses on the problems of developing nations.[8][9] The consistory was held on 28 June as scheduled.[10]

Following the Catalan independence referendum in 2017 the Catalan government suggested that Omella and the Abbot of Montserrat should act as mediators between the region and Spanish authorities.[11]

Francis made him a member of the Congregation for Bishops and of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura on 23 December 2017.[12]

Omella is the co-author, with Miguel Pothoes Mombiela and José María Navarro, of La aurora de Calanda, una antigua institución, published in 1991.[13]


  1. ^ He is know by the following names, depending on the language. His official biography seems to give preference to the Catalan version.[1]


  1. ^ "L'arquebisbe de Barcelona" (in Catalan). Archdiocese of Barcelona. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Entre los nuevos cardenales está Mons. Omella, obispo de Barcelona". Zenit (in Spanish). 22 May 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  3. ^ "El arzobispo Omella dirigió la trama para defenestrar a Ureña". El Periodico (in Spanish). 18 April 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  4. ^ "El Vaticano cesó al arzobispo Manuel Ureña por pagar 105.000 euros a un diácono" (in Spanish). 27 November 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  5. ^ Baquero, Camilo S. (6 November 2015). "Juan José Omella será el nuevo arzobispo de Barcelona". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  6. ^ Sust, Toni (26 December 2015). "Joan Josep Omella toma posesión como nuevo arzobispo de Barcelona". El Periodico (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  7. ^ Arocho Esteves, Junno (26 May 2017). "Appointment not about career, but service, cardinal-designate says". CRUX. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  8. ^ Bastante, Jesús (21 May 2017). "El Papa responde al desafío de la Conferencia Episcopal con el nombramiento como cardenal del arzobispo de Barcelona". El Diario (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  9. ^ Gagliarducci, Andrea (22 May 2017). "Pope Francis' newest cardinals show a global Church". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 11 June 2017. The Spanish Bishops’ Conference gathered for its general assembly in Madrid on March 15. Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez Pérez was re-elected as president for a second three-year mandate by a strong majority. Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, archbishop of Valencia and former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was elected vice-president. In the race for the presidency, Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, got four votes, while Archbishop Omella got just one vote.
  10. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (28 June 2017). "Pope Francis to Five New Cardinals: Jesus 'Calls You to Serve Like Him and With Him'". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  11. ^ Hallett, Nick (4 October 2017). "Catalan government wants archbishop and abbot to mediate talks with Spain". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 23.12.2017" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 23 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  13. ^ Omella, Juan José & Portolés Mombiela, Miguel (1991). La Aurora de Calanda, una antigua institución. Zaragoza: Instituto de Estudios Turolenses. ISBN 84-404-8793-2.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

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