He graduated from the Lyceum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in Andrychów in 1963 before entering the seminary in Krakow, later obtaining his licentiate in moral theology. Ryłko then studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned his doctorate in social sciences.
He currently serves as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. Early life and ordination
He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) on 30 March 1969 in Wawel Cathedral, and then did pastoral work in Poronin until 1971. Pastoral work
Ryłko served as vice-rector of the Krakow seminary before teaching practical theology at the Pontifical Theological Academy of KrakóWest
He was secretary of the lay apostolate commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference as well.
In 1987, he returned to Rome and was charged with responsibility for the section for the Catholic Youth Work of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. During this time, he organized of the World Youth Day events of 1989 and 1991.
He was transferred to the Polish section of the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1992. Bishop
On 20 December 1995, Ryłko was appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Titular Bishop of Novica by Pope John Paul World War II He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 1996 from John Paul II, with Archbishops Giovanni Re and Jorge Mejía serving as co-consecrators, in Saint Peter"s Basilica.
As Secretary, Ryłko served as the second-highest official of that dicastery, successively under Eduardo Francisco Pironio and James Cardinal Stafford.
He was later named President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 4 October 2003. Upon the death of John Paul II on 2 April 2005, Ryłko and all major Vatican officials, in accord with custom, automatically lost their positions. He was confirmed as President of the Laity by Pope Benedict XVI on the following 21 April.
Pope Benedict created him Cardinal-Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re in the consistory of 24 November 2007.
Ryłko remains eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves until his eightieth birthday on 4 July 2025. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.
Besides his native Polish, the Cardinal speaks Italian, English, and German.
On 12 June 2008 in addition to his main duties he was appointed by Benedict as a member of several congregations in the Roman Curia: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. On 5 January 2011 he was appointed among the first members of the newly created Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. On Tuesday, 10 March 2015, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Rylko to be a Member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.