Igino Eugenio Cardinale

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Igino Eugenio Cardinale (14 October 1916 – 24 March 1983) was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church who spent his career in the diplomatic service of the Holy See. He held the title of archbishop and apostolic nuncio from 1963 until his death in 1983.


He was born on 14 October 1916 in Fondi in central Italy. His family had emigrated to the United States, but returned from Boston to Italy in 1918 and his father was serving in the Italian army as a cavalry officer when Igino was born.[1] They returned after the end of the First World War and Igino spent his childhood in Boston.[2] He studied in the United States at St. Agnes Academy in New York City[1][3] and then returned to Italy and studied in seminaries in Gaeta, Salerno, Posillipo, and Rome.[1] He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Naples on 13 July 1941.[citation needed]

He began studying at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in 1941 and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1946 and his early postings took him to Egypt, Palestine, Transjordan, Arabia and Cyprus before returning to Rome in 1952 for health reasons.[2] He held the title of counselor in the Secretariat of State when he was named its chief of protocol on 30 September 1961.[3] The next year he was under secretary of the commission responsible for organizing the Second Vatican Council.[2] His Vatican position, his enthusiasm for the new pope, and his insight into the thinking of Pope John XXIII gained through his uncle Giuseppe de Luca [it] who was publishing the pope’s writings, had already made him an important source for the press,[4] and after Pope John's death he provided journalists with his insider's account of both Pope John and international relations during his papacy.[5][a] Both during and decades after John's papacy, Cardinale linked himself and Pope John to a sympathetic view of artificial birth control.[6]

On 4 October 1963, Pope Paul VI appointed him titular archbishop of Nepte and apostolic delegate to Great Britain,[2] and Pope Paul consecrated him a bishop on 20 October.[7] In that post, he succeeded in winning a reprieve for a priest dismissed as editor of a religious magazine and suspended from his priestly functions for calling the Church "patently corrupt" in an editorial.[8][9] In July 1967 at Coventry, he became the first Catholic to preach in a non-Catholic English cathedral since the Reformation, though the occasion drew anti-Catholic demonstrators.[10]

He was named nuncio to Belgium on 19 April 1969 and to Luxembourg on 9 May 1969. In addition, when the Holy See established diplomatic ties with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1970, he was named nuncio to that international organization and "special envoy and permanent representative" to the Council of Europe, the EEC's consultative assembly in Strasbourg.[11]

He held his title as archbishop and as nuncio to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EEC, and as representative to the Council of Europe when he died in Brussels of a blood infection on 24 March 1983 at the age of 66.[12]

He authored a book on Vatican diplomacy[13] and another on its honorary decorations.[14]


  1. ^ He appears to be the source of this anecdote, though it identifies him as chief of protocol in 1958: "It was soon apparent to those nearest him that he was not going to be an inactive Pope. Going over the speech for his coronation with Mgr. Cardinale, his chief of protocol, Pope John saw him wincing at occasional modernisms of speech. He had been trained under Pius XII, a purist in language. John looked at him over his spectacles. 'Well? What's the matter?' Hesitantly Mgr. Cardinale ventured that such phrases did not appear in Palazzi's dictionary. Pope John looked at him for a moment and then said: 'Well, if necessary we shall reform even Palazzi!'"[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Apostolic Delegate to Boston was Boston Resident". Catholic Transcript. 10 October 1963. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Envoy to Britain a Man of his Time". Catholic Herald. 11 October 1963. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Protocol Chief Named". New York Times. 1 October 1961. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  4. ^ Hebblethwaite, Peter (2010). John XXIII: Pope of the Century. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 166.
  5. ^ a b Trevor, Meriol (2000). Pope John: Blessed John XXIII. Gracewing Publishing. pp. xi, 262. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  6. ^ Kaiser, Robert Blair (1987). The Encyclical That Never Was. A&C Black. pp. 47, 67.
  7. ^ "Consecration of papal envoy to Britain". Catholic Herald. 18 October 1963. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Papal Envoy is upset over sacked editor". Catholic Herald. 17 February 1967. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Suspension is Lifted". New York Times. 18 February 1967. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Incident anticatholique à Londres". Le Monde (in French). 4 July 1967. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Vatican Establishes Ties With the Common Market". New York Times. 11 November 1970. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Archbishop Igino Cardinale". New York Times. 26 March 1983. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  13. ^ Cardinale, Igino (1962). Le Saint-Siège et la diplomatie: Aperçu historique, juridique et pratique de la diplomatie pontificale (in French). Paris, Rome, Tournai: Desclée & Cie.
  14. ^ Cardinale, Hyginus Eugene (1985). Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See (3rd ed.). Buckinghamshire: Van Duren,.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) edited and revised by Peter Bander van Duren

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