Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J., former Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, was born in Rome on 5 July 1942. He received a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1966. In the same year he entered the Society of Jesus and completed his studies in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in 1973. He later obtained a degree and doctorate in canon law from the same University.
From 1975 he taught canon Law at the Institute of Religious Studies, the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University where he would later become full professor; from 1995 to 2004 dean of the Faculty of Canon Law, and from 2004 to 2010, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
The Reverend Fr. Ghirlanda has served the Holy See as consultant to various Congregations and Councils: the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; the Congregation for the Clergy; the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts; the Pontifical Council for the Laity; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the Congregation for Bishops; the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; member of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life; prelate and attorney at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; judge of the Court of Appeals of the Vatican City State. He also collaborated in the drafting of several Apostolic Constitutions.
He has published several books and over 110 articles specializing mainly in canon law.
He has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Salamanca.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 27 August 2022, of the Deaconry of SS. Nome di Gesù.