Giovanni Benelli

infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Giovanni Benelli
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
relstyle=Monsignor
See=Florence|

Giovanni Cardinal Benelli (May 12, 1921—October 26, 1982) was an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Florence from 1977 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1977.

Biography

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 Seminary of Pistoia in 1931, and then attended the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome. He received the clerical tonsure on December 23, 1939, and was eventually ordained a priest on October 31, 1943 by 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 Monsignor on 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 See before UNESCO in Paris (1965-1966).

On 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 11 from Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, with Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi and Bishop Mario Longo Dorni serving as co-consecrators. On September 11 of that same year, Benelli became Titular Archbishop of "Tusuros".

Shortly after his appointment, on June 29, 1967, he entered the Roman Curia as 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.

Benelli was promoted to Archbishop of Florence on June 3, 1977, and was created Cardinal Priest of "S. Prisca" by Paul VI in the consistory of the following June 27.

Upon the deaths of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I, Benelli was considered the leading moderate candidate 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.

Trivia

*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.

Fictional Portrayals

Cardinal Benelli is portrayed by popular actor David Suchet in 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.

References

En español:

(1976) Pancorbo, Luis: "Monseñor Benelli" en "Diálogos italianos". Pp. 343-353. Sedmay, Madrid. ISBN 84-7380-124-5

External links

* [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]

ee also

* Papal conclave, 1978 (October)
* Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence

References

* [http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios-b.htm#Benelli Biography]


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