Lasso de la Vega, Rafael

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Bishop in Gran Colombia during the independence period; b. Santiago de Veraguas, Panama, Oct. 21, 1764;d. Quito, Ecuador, April 6, 1831. He belonged to an honorable family. He was educated in the seminaries of Panama and Santafé de Bogotá, in whose University of Santo Tomás he received a doctorate in canon law. He was ordained in 1792 and served in a parish in Bogotá, teaching at the same time in the university as professor of Latin. He became canon of the metropolitan cathedral of Bogotá and of the cathedral of Panama. Ferdinand VII presented him as bishop of Mérida, and he was confirmed by the papal bull of March 8, 1815. As an appointment of the restored Ferdinand VII, Lasso de la Vega worked against the independence movement and suspended priests who supported it. However, when the break with Spain was accomplished, he changed his position and supported the victorious Bolívar. In 1821, after the signing of the Constitution of Cúcuta, he left his congregation in Mérida and took an active part in the legislative work of the new republic of Colombia. He was a senator in 182324 and was selected vice president of the Congress. He undertook to promote contacts between the new nation and the Roman Curia. His letter to Pius VII of Oct. 20, 1821, on the political events in the New World, revealed the problems of the American revolution to the pope and was the

beginning of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the new republics. In 1828, on the petition of the president of Colombia, he was promoted by Leo XII to the bishopric of Quito.

[e. j. castillero]