Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Bishop emeritus of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico, was born on 1 May 1940 in Chiltepec, in the municipality of Coatepec Harinas, State of Mexico, in what was then-the Archdiocese of Mexico and currently the Diocese of Toluca. He completed his studies in humanities and philosophy in the seminary of Toluca, and his theological studies at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain, where he was awarded a licentiate in dogmatic theology, subsequently specializing also in liturgy.
He was ordained a priest on 25 August 1963 in Toluca. He has held the following offices, including cooperator vicar in three different parishes (1963, 1964-1966, 1966-1967), prefect of philosophy students and seminary professor (1963-1964), pastor (1967-1969), spiritual director and minor seminary professor (1969-1981), head of vocational pastoral care, rector of the seminary (1981-1991), and professor of liturgy and of pastoral theology.
He was also a member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission (1967-1979), director of the Diocesan Catechetical Office (1968-1969), member of the Equipo de Pastoral Juvenil (1968-1978), secretary (1970-1973) and president of the Presbyteral Council (1976-1979), coordinator of the Diocesan Commission for Social Communications (1982-1984) and Vicar General (1989-1991).
On the national level he was a member of the Equipo Nacional de Pastoral Vocacional and the Organización de Seminarios de México, of which he was President for some time. He was also a member of the Equipo Interdisciplinar de Asesores de la Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano. In the three-year period 1986-1989 he chaired the Organización de Seminarios de América Latina and later worked as an expert in the Departamento de Vocaciones of CELAM.
On 7 February 1991 he was appointed Bishop of Tapachula and received episcopal ordination the following 7 March. During this period he was Secretary General of CELAM.
On 31 March 2000, the Holy Father John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, an office he held until 3 November 2017.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 28 November 2020, of the Title of San Luigi Maria Grignion de Montfort.