Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops and President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, was born on 30 January 1934 in Borno (Brescia), Italy. He was ordained for the Diocese of Brescia on 3 March 1957 and holds a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
He taught in the Brescia seminary and served as a curate before entering the Holy See's diplomatic service. He was posted to Panama and Iran, until being recalled to the Secretariat of State, where he served as personal secretary to Archbishop Giovanni Benelli. In 1979 he was named Assessor.
On 9 October 1987 he was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and titular Archbishop of Vescovìo, receiving episcopal consecration on 7 November. Two years later he was named Substitute of the Secretariat of State, a post he held for 11 years.
On 16 September 2000 the Holy Father appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
President Delegate for the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2001).
President of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, Aparecida, Brazil (13 - 31 May 2007).
Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops and President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, 30 June 2010.
He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI and in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.
On June 10th 2017, the Holy Father approved the election, by the Cardinals of the Order of Bishops, of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, of the title of the suburbicarian Church of Sabina-Poggio-Mirteto, as the new Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.
On January 18th 2020, the Holy Father Francis approved the election, by Cardinals of the Order of Bishops of Cardinal, as Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto (1 October 2002); Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Ostia (25 January 2020) .
- Secretariat of State (second section).