Antonio Mennini

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Antonio Mennini
Apostolic Nuncio to the United Kingdom
Antonio Mennini.jpg
Antonio Mennini during Invocation 2011
Appointed 18 December 2010
Predecessor Faustino Sainz Muñoz
Other posts Titular Archbishop of Ferentium
Orders
Ordination 14 December 1974
by Ugo Poletti
Consecration 12 September 2000
by Angelo Sodano
Personal details
Birth name Antonio Mennini
Born (1947-09-02) 2 September 1947 (age 67)
Rome, Italy
Nationality
  • Italian
  • Vatican City
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Bulgaria (2000–2002)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Russian Federation (2002–2008)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Uzbekistan (2008–2010)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Antonio Mennini
Coat of arms of Antonio Mennini.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style n/a

Antonio Mennini (born 2 September 1947) is an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Nuncio to the United Kingdom since 18 December 2010, having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Biography[edit]

Mennini was born in Rome, Italy, in a family that has strong links with the Holy See. His father, Luigi Mennini, who died in 1997, was managing director of the Holy See's Institute for Works of Religion (the Vatican Bank) at the time allegations of money laundering were made against Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the Institute's sometime president.[1] Antonio Mennini has 13 siblings,[2] among them Pietro Mennini, who is the Procuratore della Repubblica di Chieti ("Public Prosecutor of Chieti").[3]

Mennini was ordained to the priesthood on 14 December 1974. Mennini obtained a Doctor of Theology degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome.

Mennini is known in Italy as the priest who heard the final confession of the country’s murdered Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, in the 1970s. Moro had been kidnapped and was being held captive in a secret location by the Red Brigades, a leftist Italian militant group. Archbishop Mennini, then an assistant priest, is believed to have delivered a letter to the terrorists from Pope Paul VI and a letter to Mr Moro from his wife. Shortly after his secret mission, the Prime Minister was killed and his body dumped in central Rome. The Vatican has shielded the priest from ever having to testify in subsequent state hearings concerning Moro’s abduction and murder.[4]

Episcopate[edit]

After obtaining the degree Doctor of Theology he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1981, serving as an attache in the Pontifical Representations in Uganda and Turkey, and then in the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church.

Nuncio to Bulgaria[edit]

On 8 July 2000, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Ferentium by Pope John Paul II. Mennini received his episcopal consecration on 12 September from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, with Cardinals Camillo Ruini and Jean-Louis Tauran serving as co-consecrators.

Upon his arrival in Bulgaria, he began preparing Pope John Paul II’s 2002 pastoral visit to the Eastern European country amid great controversy. However, the visit was hailed as a success, largely because the new nuncio established excellent working relations with Orthodox leaders who had originally opposed it.[4]

Nuncio to Russia and Uzbekistan[edit]

In 2002 he was posted to Russia and from 2008 was also accredited to Uzbekistan. He is credited with notably improving the Holy See’s relations with the former Soviet countries in the Federation and with the Russian Orthodox Church.

As recently as 2001 Rome was criticised by the Russian Orthodox for establishing dioceses without adequate consultation in Russia. However, through the nuncio’s fence-mending efforts the situation gradually began to change and in December 2009 President Dmitry Medvedev approved the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two states.[5] On 13 February 2011 Dmitry Medvedev awarded Mennini the Order of Friendship for his contribution to the development of Russian-Vatican relations.[6]

Nuncio to the United Kingdom[edit]

Mennini was named Nuncio to the United Kingdom on 18 December 2010[7] following the early retirement of Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz on 2 December 2010.[8] As the new Apostolic Nuncio to the UK, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, presented his credentials to The Queen on 2 March 2011.[9]

One of the most important duties facing Archbishop Mennini as Nuncio will be to oversee the vetting process for the appointment of a substantial number of new bishops for England, Wales and Scotland. For example, three of Scotland's eight bishops have applied to retire on age and health grounds; these include Vincent Logan of Dunkeld and John Cunningham, Bishop of Galloway, while two more are expected to have left by the end of 2013.

Most significantly, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and Britain's then most senior cleric, on 25 February 2013. Two days later, the Pope likewise accepted that of Patrick Altham Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool. Mennini will play a central role in the appointment of their successors.

A writer in the English Catholic publication The Tablet considered it likely that Archbishop Mennini's appointment was recognition that delicate diplomatic work that will be required for the establishment of the personal ordinariate for former Anglicans in Britain.[4]

Trivia[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Remigio Ragonesi
Titular archbishop of Ferentium
2000–present
Incumbent
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Blasco Francisco Collaço
Nuncio to Bulgaria
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Leanza
Preceded by
Giorgio Zur
Nuncio to Russia
2002–2010
Succeeded by
Ivan Jurkovič
Preceded by
Józef Wesołowski
Nuncio to Uzbekistan
2008–2010
Preceded by
Faustino Sainz Muñoz
Nuncio to Great Britain
18 December 2010–present
Incumbent