Cardinal Paul Poupard, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue,was born on 30 August 1930 in Bouzillé, France. He was ordained a priest on 18 December 1954, and shortly thereafter he began to teach while he continued his studies and commitment to his pastoral ministry.
He received a doctorate in theology and history from the Sorbonne University, with a thesis regarding the relationship between reason and faith and between Church and State. He also obtained a diploma in religious sciences from the School of Higher Studies.
From 1958 to 1959 he worked at the national center of scientific research and from 1959 to 1971 he served as an official of the Secretary of State and Chaplain of the San Domenico Institute in Rome. He was also present at the solemn opening of the Vatican Council II and gave his services to John XXIII and Paul VI.
Upon returning to France, he served for 10 years as Rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, and on 2 February 1979 he was elected titular Bishop of Usula and Auxiliary of the Archbishop of Paris. He received episcopal ordination on 6 April 1979 and in the same period was called to be member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and of the Secretariat for non-Christians. He served as Auxiliary until 27 June 1980, when John Paul II promoted him to Archbishop, calling him to serve as Pro-president of the Secretariat for Non-believers. Two years later, he became the President of the Executive Committee of the newly created Pontifical Council for Culture.
He served as President of the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers until 4 April 1993 when this Council was incorporated into the Pontifical Council for Culture; he became President of this council on 19 April 1988.
Member of many cultural organizations in France. He also received the Cardinal Grente award from the French Academy, Knighthood from the Legion of Honor and many others. Has written many works and has collaborated on many studies.
President Delegate of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops (1-23 October 1999).
On 11 March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI has presently united the presidency of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue with that of the Pontifical Council for Culture, thus nominating Cardinal Poupard President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, 25 June 2007.
President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, 3 September 2007.
He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 27 May 1985, of the Title of S. Prassede (St. Praxedes), Deaconry elevated pro hac vice to Presbyteral title (29 January 1996).