Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino was ordained on 20th June 1957, receiving his doctorate in Canon Law.
His Eminence is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and has extensive international experience having worked for many years for the Vatican diplomatic service. From 1962 onwards, he served in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Lebanon, Canada and Brazil. Between 1970 and 1975, he worked within the Papal Secretariat of State, heading the Section for International Organizations. In 1980, following his work in the Vatican, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Segerme, Pro-Nuncio to Thailand, and Apostolic Delegate in Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and Brunei. On the 14th December, he received episcopal ordination from the then Secretary of State, Cardinal Augustino Casaroli.
- In 1986 the then-archbishop was appointed Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, a post he held for sixteen years. During this time he was heavily active on a broad spectrum of international concerns including; global poverty, disarmament, the rights of minors, religious freedom, refugees, sustainability, the environment and the international promotion of human rights.
- In 1991, in recognition of the additional humanitarian and conciliatory activities undertaken by the Church, which went beyond the diplomatic purview of the Holy See Mission to the UN, he established the ‘Path to Peace Foundation’. This organisation strives to promote the message of peace, justice and charity throughout the international community. In 1994, he was the Pope’s official representative at the International Conference on Population and Development, showing great courage in defending the human life of the unborn child. – On 1st October 2002, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II to head the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He is noted for his great efforts during this tenure to promote peace in the Middle East, leading high-level diplomatic talks between Israel and Palestine, as well as for his efforts in Venezuela and Cote d’Ivoire. He was elevated as a Cardinal a year later. On October 25th 2004, he oversaw the publication of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
- In March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI extended Cardinal Martino’s mandate to include the Presidency of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People; a position he held until his retirement in 2009. During this time he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Science in International Relations from the University of Salerno and the Romanian Order of the Star from President Basescu of Romania. Following his retirement from this position in 2009, Cardinal Martino continues to hold the position of Chairman Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and remains heavily involved in the mission of the Church.
- Cardinal Martino was appointed Honorary President of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in July 2010.