Pio Laghi

Pio Cardinal Laghi (born 21 May, 1922) is an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church, whose service has been limited to the diplomatic service of the Holy See and to the Roman Curia. He is the Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.

Biography

Laghi was born in Castiglione di Forlì, Romagna, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood on 20 April, 1946 by Bishop Giuseppe Battaglia. He obtained doctorates in theology (1947) and canon law (1950) from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He entered the Roman Curia, in the Secretariat of State, in 1952, and then served as Secretary of the nunciature in Nicaragua until 1955. Laghi was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on 21 December, 1965.

On 24 May, 1969, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, and Titular Archbishop of "Mauriana". Laghi received his episcopal consecration on the following 22 June from Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani, with Archbishop Agostino Casaroli and Bishop Giuseppe Battaglia (who had also ordained Laghi) serving as co-consecrators. During five years in Jerusalem he served as Pro-Nuncio to Cyprus (28 May, 1973) and Apostolic Visitor for Greece. Laghi was then named Nuncio to Argentina on 27 April, 1974.

Pope John Paul II advanced him to Apostolic Delegate (10 December, 1980) and later (26 March, 1984) Pro-Nuncio to the United States, where he was entrusted with emplacing conservatives in key positions, such as Bernard Francis Cardinal Law in Boston and John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor in New York. On 6 April, 1990, John Paul appointed Laghi Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and created him Cardinal-Deacon of "Santa Maria Auxiliatrice in via Tuscolana" in the consistory of 28 June, 1991, despite the exposure by Argentine writers of his links to the past dictatorship and the "Dirty War". On the following 1 July, he was promoted to full Prefect of the congregation.

On 26 December, 1994, the American "Time Magazine" published an article titled "Who Will Be First Among Us?" which prematurely speculated on who would be the next pope "as John Paul approaches the twilight of his papacy." Laghi was listed among eight cardinals who were considered leading candidates; the article identified Laghi as head of the Congregation for Catholic Education with conservative credentials. In 1997 the Dirty War scandal was widely exposed, and, though Laghi denied the charges, it was considered to have ended his chance for the papacy.infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Pio Cardinal Laghi
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Mauriana|
He headed the Congregation for Catholic Education until his resignation on 15 November, 1999, and from 1999 to 2001 he was the "Cardinal Protodeacon" (the longest serving Cardinal Deacon), before exercising his right as a Cardinal Deacon of ten years' standing to become a Cardinal-Priest of "San Pietro in Vincoli"). On his 80th birthday, 21 May, 2002, he became ineligible to vote in a papal conclave but continued to undertake special missions for his friend John Paul II.

In 2000, Cardinal Laghi was awarded the F. Sadlier Dinger Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the ministry of religious education in America.

On 1 March 2003, Cardinal Laghi, as special papal envoy to the United States, met with President George W. Bush and conveyed the Pope's request that the United States reconsider the decision to go to war against Iraq. Bush was photographed with Laghi and commented that he was "an old family friend". During the presidency of Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, Laghi, as Nuncio to the United States, was a frequent guest of the first President Bush and his family.

External links

* [http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios-l.htm#Laghi Biography at "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church" site]
* [http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/blaghi.html Catholic-Hierarchy.Org]
* Interview with Pio Laghi in [http://www.clarin.com/suplementos/zona/1998/12/20/i-01001e.htm El halcón de la paz] , in newspaper Clarin of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 December 1998, about the Beagle conflict and the papal mediation.

References

*cite book|first=Francis A.|last=Burkle-Young|title=Passing the keys : modern cardinals, conclaves, and the election of the next pope|id=ISBN 1-56833-130-4|pages=315-317,325-326


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