He was born in Santiago on January 19th, 1927. His primary studies were coursed at the San Pedro Nolasco school and his secondary education at the Luis Campino Institute.
He entered the Order of the Mercedarians in Melipilla in 1944. He took his vows in 1948 and was ordained a priest by archbishop Jose Maria Caro on November 24th, 1949.
He studied theology at the Universidad Catolica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile), obtaining his degree in 1949, and studied a doctorate in Canon Law at the Gregorian University in Rome in 1953. He also attended the Congregation of the Conciliar and Religious Scholars and the Studium of the Rota Romana.
He was a professor of the Universidad Catolica de Chile, director of the Faculty of Theology at the same university; advisor of the Accion Catolica (Catholic Action) and of the Juventud Obrera Catolica (Catholic Work Youth Group) and national advisor of the Federación de Padres y Apoderados de Colegios Particulares (Federation of Parents and Guardians of Private Schools).
In 1964, Pope Paul VI named him head bishop of Benevento and auxiliary bishop of Concepcion.
Ten years later, he promoted him to archbishop of Antofagasta and apostolic administrator of Calama.
He was secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Chile from April of 1970 to February of 1974. He held several positions in the Episcopal Conference of Chilen en the Celam (Episcopal Conference of Latin America).
In May of 1987 he received Pope John Paul II in Antofagasta in his apostolic visit to our country. The same pontiff named him archbishop of Santiago in 1990.
In this position he created the Vicaria de la Esperanza Joven y para la Familia (Vicarage of Hope for Youth and the Family); he called for and promoted the IX Sinodo de Santiago (Synod of Santiago) and wrote 20 pastoral letters.
In 1994, he was named cardinal by Pope John Paul II. For health reasons, he presented his resignation in February on 1998, passing away on December 7th of that year.