Pope Francis Makes Two Key Episcopal Appointments

The Holy Father chooses a former practitioner and bioethics expert for Paris, and a former head of the Mexican bishops’ conference as Archbishop of Mexico City — the world’s largest diocese.

Archbishop Michel Aupetit.
Archbishop Michel Aupetit. (photo: Famille Chrétienne)

Pope Francis today made two key episcopal appointments, naming Archbishop Michel Aupetit, a former medical doctor and bioethics expert respected in the pro-life movement in France, as the new Archbishop of Paris, and Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes as the new Archbishop of Mexico City — the world’s largest diocese.

Archbishop Aupetit, who currently heads the archdiocese of Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, replaces Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, who is stepping down on age grounds.

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, whom the Pope elevated to the College of Cardinals in Nov. 2016, has been a rising star in the Mexican episcopate, serving as president of the bishops’ conference from 2006 to 2012. He will now have the weighty responsibility of heading an archdiocese of 7 million faithful.

Cardinal Aguiar, who was appointed archbishop of Tlalnepantla archdiocese just north of Mexico City , replaces Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera who has also retired for reasons of age

Here below are their biographies, provided by the Vatican:

Archbishop Michel Aupetit was born March 23, 1951 in Versailles. After his secondary education he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of Créteil, graduating in 1978.

He practiced medicine in Colombes, on the northern outskirts of Paris, for twelve years. He specializes in medical bioethics and has also taught the subject at the Henri Mondor Hospital in Créteil.

In 1990, he entered the seminary for priestly formation, ending with a BA in Theology. He was ordained a priest on June 24, 1995 for the archdiocese of Paris.

After ordination, he held various posts as a parish priest, a chaplain of high schools, and was vicar general of Paris and member of the Council of Priests from 2006 to 2013.

He was consecrated titular bishop of Massita, Paris, in February 2013, and on April 19, 2013 made auxiliary bishop of the diocese.

On April 4, 2014 he was appointed Archbishop of Nanterre. Within the French Bishops' Conference, he is president of the "Family and Society" Council and a member of the bioethics working group.


Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes was born January 9, 1950 in Tepic, Mexico. He was a student at the Seminary of Tepic, and continued his studies at the Seminary of Montezuma (USA) and Tula. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Tepic April 22, 1973.

He later obtained a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1977) and a doctorate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1997).

As a priest he was parochial vicar, and rector of the seminary of Tepic and simultaneously chairman of the Organization of Mexican Seminaries (OSMEX) and member of the executive council of Latin American Seminaries. 

He was then rector of the Juan XXIII residence for priests of the Pontifical University of Mexico, and professor of Sacred Scripture at the same university.

On 28 May 1997 he was elected Bishop of Texcoco and received episcopal ordination on 29 June. On 5 February 2009 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Tlalnepantla and appointed metropolitan archbishop.

From 2006 to 2012 he was president of the episcopal conference of Mexico, after having served as secretary general from 2004 to 2006.

He has held various positions in the CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council): Secretary General from 2000 to 2003; first vice-president from 2003 to 2007 and then president from 2011 to 2015.

Cardinal Aguiar took part in both Synods on the Family, in 2014 and 2015.

Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 19 November 2016.

Within the Roman Curia, he is a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Photo: Edward Pentin