Pietro Palazzini

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His Eminence
Pietro Palazzini
Cardinal-Priest of San Girolamo della Carità
Installed 12 December 1974
Term ended 11 October 2000
Predecessor Paolo Bertoli
Successor Jorge María Mejía
Ordination 6 December 1934
Consecration 21 September 1962
Created Cardinal 5 March 1973
by Pope Paul VI
Personal details
Birth name Pietro Palazzini
Born (1912-05-19)May 19, 1912
Piobbico, near Pesaro, Kingdom of Italy
Died October 11, 2000(2000-10-11) (aged 88)
Previous post
  • Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (1980-1988)
  • Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1962-1973)
  • Cardinal-Deacon of San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo (1973-1974)

Pietro Palazzini (May 19, 1912 – October 11, 2000) was an Italian Cardinal who helped to save the lives of Jewish people in World War II. He has been commemorated by Yad Vashem.

Born in Piobbico, near Pesaro, he was ordained a priest in 1934, consecrated by the pope in 1962 and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1973.

Palazzini and the Dutch Catechism[edit]

An eminent moral theologian, he was appointed by Pope Paul VI, to serve as coordinator and secretary of a Commission of high-ranking Cardinals to review a new and highly popular but controversial presentation of the Catholic faith which was issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Netherlands and was commonly referred to as the "Dutch Catechism". It was "a work which on the one hand is marked with exceptional qualities but on the other hand, because of its new opinions, from the very moment of issue disturbed not a few of the faithful."[1] It was translated into over 20 languages and received wide distribution.

On October 14, 1968, Palazzini issued their official views together with Charles Journet, Joseph Frings, Joseph-Charles Lefèbvre, Ermenegildo Florit, Michael Browne, and Lorenz Jäger: Declaration of the Commission of Cardinals on the "New Catechism" ("De Nieuwe Katechismus"). The declaration was not rejected by the Dutch bishops and, while they did not change the text, they issued the views of the Commission in the form of a supplement.

Palazzini and Pius XII[edit]

In 1985, Palazzini was honored by Yad Vashem as "Righteous Among the Nations", where he protested the repeated criticisms against Pope Pius XII, on whose instructions Palazzini declared himself to have acted. Palazzini, a theological advisor to the Pontiff, had taught and written about the moral theology of Pope Pius XII.[2]

In a 1992 interview, he referred to a walk he took with Pius XII in the Vatican Gardens before the imminent Nazi occupation of Rome, during which, it was rumoured, the Pope could be abducted. Behind the bushes, on the walkways, everywhere marching exercises by the soldiers of the Papal Noble Guard. When the Pope asked the meaning of all this, he was told that these are exercises in preparation for his defense, in case of a German take-over of the Vatican. However, on the day of the German occupation of the Eternal City, the Papal Noble Guard had disappeared. Only the Swiss guard stood watch at the Vatican. Pope Pius XII, Palazzini stated, would not have left the Vatican as Pope in case of a Nazi abduction. He would have resigned and left as a simple priest.[3]

Relation with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta[edit]

Pietro Palazzini was a Bailiff Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.


  1. ^ Declaration of the Commission of Cardinals on the "New Catechism" ("De Nieuwe Katechismus")
  2. ^ Pensieri die Pio XII,con una nota del Card. Pietro PalazziniVicenza, 1984
  3. ^ Pietro Kardinal Palazzini, Interview L’Associazione Pio XII, 11. Rom Oktober 1992