Giuseppe (Andrea) Albani (13 September 1750 – 3 December 1834) was an Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal. Although never a candidate for the Papacy, his role in the election of Leo XII, Pius VIII and Gregory XVI is well-known to papal historians.
Albani was born in Rome into a family noble known for the number of clergy it produced. His great-uncle was Pope Clement XI, whilst three other relatives were also prominent cardinals.
Although little is known about his early education, his priestly studies were in Siena. However, in his early twenties Albani returned to Rome to be a domestic prelate for Pope Clement XIV. In his time in Rome Albani gained considerable experience in the practice of canon law and was to use this knowledge to effect in later years. He held major offices in the Roman Curia from a relatively early age and by the time he was made a cardinal by Pius VII he was already an important figure in the Church. During the French occupation of Rome he took refuge in Vienna and it was during this time that he became firmly allied with the Habsburg monarchy, a connection which later gave him an important role in subsequent Papal conclaves, since he served as intermediary for the exercise of the veto which the Habsburgs claimed to exercise over papal elections. His importance was evident in the conclave of 1823, in which he presented the veto the Emperor Francis I of Austria against the election of Cardinal Antonio Gabriele Severoli. In that of 1829, though Albani was absent from the early ballots, his support for Pius VIII proved significant. In the conclave of 1830 he managed to exclude Cardinal Giacomo Giustiniani, though his own candidate, Cardinal Vincenzo Macchi, raised only twelve votes. Thus in all three conclaves of 1823, 1829 and 1830 Albani played a vital role.
Among the posts which Albani occupied in the Roman Curia or the government of the Papal States, were his appointment in 1817 as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as Secretary of Secret Domestic Briefs on 30 January 1824, as Legate in Bologna, 10 December 1824, as Secretary of State to Pius VIII from 31 March 1829 until 30 November 1830, and as Secretary of Apostolic Briefs, for life, from 15 April 1829. From 23 April 1830 until his death Albani was Cardinal Librarian of Holy Roman Church. In 1831 he was also appointed Legate in Urbino and Pesaro and commissary extraordinary charged with reestablishing order in the Legations.
Philippe Boutry, Souverain et Pontife: recherches prosopographiques sur la curie romaine à l'âge de la restauration, 1814–1846 , École française de Rome, Rome, 2002, pp. 301–302.
|Catholic Church titles|
|Cardinal Secretary of State
31 March 1829 – 30 November 1830