Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero, S.D.B., Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco, was born on 19 May 1952 in Vélez-Rubio, in the diocese of Almería. In 1964 he entered the religious family founded by John Bosco, giving his first vows on 16 August 1968, at the age of sixteen, and his solemn vows at twenty-two, on 2 August 1974. After completing his secondary studies in the Salesian seminary of Girona, between 1973 and 1979 he concluded his philosophical and theological formation at the Salesian seminary of Barcelona. In addition, in 1982 he obtained a diploma in information science, in the Journalism section, at the autonomous University of the Catalan capital.
Ordained a priest on 19 May 1979, he initially exercised his ministry in favour of the marginalized in the peripheral quarter of La Verneda, again in Barcelona. In 1984 he left for Paraguay, where for two years he engaged in youth pastoral care at the Salesian college of Asunción and then became provincial delegate for vocational youth pastoral care (1986 to 1992). At the same time, for a year he also edited the “Salesian Bulletin” (1991 to 1992), and was then parish priest in the Paraguayan capital (1992 to 1994). Superior of the Salesian society of Don Bosco in Paraguay (1994 to 2000), he was director of the community and teacher in the College of Asunción (2000 to 2002), after which he carried out his ministry in the Salesian missions of the South American country (2002 to 2003). He then transferred to Morocco, where he was director of the community and of parish pastoral and scholastic ministry in the Kénitra Centre for professional formation (2003 to 2011), before returning to Latin America as the superior of the Salesian province of Bolivia (2011 to 2014).
He returned to his homeland as superior of the Salesian province of María Auxiliadora (2014 to 2017) on 29 December 2017, and was appointed by Pope Francis as archbishop of Rabat, succeeding the French Vincent Landel, belonging to the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bétharram. He received episcopal ordination on 10 March 2018, in Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rabat, by the imposition of the hands of Cardinal Juan José Omella, metropolitan archbishop of Barcelona, with the co-consecrators the Franciscan Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, archbishop emeritus of Seville, and Archbishop Vito Rallo, apostolic nuncio in Morocco. Adveniat regnun Tuum was the motto he chose for his ministry at the service of the slender Catholic minority in the midst of a majority of Sunni Muslims of Maliki rite. López Romero also gave an impetus to the ecumenical institute of theology, “Al Mowafaqa”, which means “accord”, “agreement”, the fruit of the friendship and contacts between his predecessor and the Lutheran pastor, president of the local Evangelical Church.
From 30 to 31 March 2019 he received the Pontiff on the occasion of his trip to mark the eighth centenary of the historic encounter between Saint Francis of Assisi and the sultan al-Malik al-Kamil.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 5 October 2019, of the Title of San Leone I.
- Dicasteries: for Inter-religious Dialogue; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.