cardinal name=Giovanni Benelli
Giovanni Cardinal Benelli (
May 12, 1921— October 26, 1982) was an Italian prelateof the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Florence from 1977 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1977.
Giovanni Benelli was born in Poggiole di
Vernio, Tuscany, to Luigi and Maria (née Simoni) Benelli. Baptised the day after his birth, on May 13, he was the youngest of his parents' five surviving children, and his uncle Guido was a revered Franciscan friar. Benelli entered the Seminaryof Pistoiain 1931, and then attended the Pontifical Gregorian Universityand the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academyin Rome. He received the clerical tonsureon December 23, 1939, and was eventually ordained a priest on October 31, 1943by Bishop Giuseppe Debernardi. At age 22, he had not yet reached the canonical age for priestly ordination, and therefore was given a special dispensation. Benelli finished his studies at the Gregorian in 1947, and also undertook pastoral work in Rome until 1950.
His abilities were noticed by the Church, and he soon became attached to the
Roman Curia. Named private secretary to Giovanni Battista Montini on August 1, 1947, Benelli was later raised to the rank of Monsignoron July 16, 1950. He served as the Secretary of nunciatures to Ireland (1950-1953) and to France(1953-1960). Benelli was then appointed to the following posts: auditor of nunciature to Brazil(1960-1962), counsellor of nunciature to Spain(1962-1965), and permanent observer of Holy Seebefore UNESCOin Paris(1965-1966).
June 11, 1966, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of "Tusuro" and Apostolic Nuncio to Senegal, as well as apostolic delegate to Western Africa. Benelli received his episcopal consecration on the following September 11from Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, with Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi and Bishop Mario Longo Dorni serving as co-consecrators. On September 11of that same year, Benelli became Titular Archbishop of "Tusuros".
Shortly after his appointment, on
June 29, 1967, he entered the Roman Curiaas Substitute, or Deputy, of Secretariate of State. As then Secretary of State, Cardinal Cicognani, was too old to fulfill most of his duties, they fell to Benelli. He worked closely with his former master, now Pope Paul VI, and remained in this post for ten years.
Upon the deaths of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I, Benelli was considered the leading
moderatecandidate to succeed them, because of his close ties with Paul and his Italian heritage. He was one of the cardinal electors in the conclaves of August and October 1978, though did not manage to gain enough votes to ascend the Chair of Peter. During the August conclave, Benelli supported Albino Cardinal Luciani, the eventual winner. [Time Magazine. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,916332-2,00.html In Rome, a Week off Suspense] August 28, 1978] [Time Magazine. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,912133-5,00.html A Swift, Stunning Choice] September 4, 1978]
Benelli continued in his capacity of Cardinal Archbishop of Florence until he died of a sudden heart attack in
Florence, at age 61. His funeral Mass was celebrated by Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, and his remains were buried in the Santa Maria del Fiore.
*Cardinal Benelli was unpopularly known as the "the Berlin Wall" [Time Magazine. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,839846-1,00.html The Pope's Powerful No. 2]
March 14, 1969] and the "Vatican Kissinger" [Time Magazine. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,925870,00.html Recent Events] November 8, 1982] in the Vatican for his aggressive and almost authoritarian tenure as Substitute of State, including having the more senior Curialists channel business through him.
Cardinal Benelli is portrayed by popular actor
David Suchetin a West-End production of ' The Last Confession' at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. He has reprised the role in a production for BBC Radio 4 broadcast on October 4th 2008.
(1976) Pancorbo, Luis: "Monseñor Benelli" en "Diálogos italianos". Pp. 343-353. Sedmay, Madrid. ISBN 84-7380-124-5
* [http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bbenelli.html Catholic-Hierarchy]
* [http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios-b.htm#Benelli Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church]
Papal conclave, 1978 (October)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence
* [http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios-b.htm#Benelli Biography]
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