Angelo Bagnasco

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His Eminence
Angelo Bagnasco
Cardinal, Archbishop of Genoa
Bishop Angelo Bagnasco (2005).jpg
Archdiocese Genoa
See Genoa
Appointed 29 August 2006
Installed 24 September 2006
Predecessor Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Gran Madre di Dio
Ordination 29 June 1966
by Giuseppe Siri
Consecration 7 February 1998
by Dionigi Tettamanzi
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name Angelo Bagnasco
Born (1943-01-14) 14 January 1943 (age 75)
Pontevico, Brescia, Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Motto Christus spes mea
Coat of arms Angelo Bagnasco's coat of arms

Angelo Bagnasco (Italian pronunciation: [ˈandʒelo baɲˈɲasko]; born 14 January 1943) is an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the Archbishop of Genoa and the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), and was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 2007.

He is considered to be conservative in his views and a theological ally of his predecessor in the CEI, Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

Early life[edit]

Bagnasco was born to Alfredo and Rosa Bagnasco in Pontevico (Brescia), where his family was evacuated during World War II. He said in an interview: "I became an altar boy in my parish in the historic center of Genoa, in Piazza Sarzano, when I was six years old. My old parish priest was Abbot Giovanni Battista Gazzolo, first, and afterwards Monsignor Carlo Viacava while his deputy was a young curate, Don Gianni Zamiti—the latter two are still alive and overjoyed that their little altar boy has become their archbishop—who supervised us on afternoons in the parish club where we went to play. The desire to become a priest was born precisely when I was in elementary school, but I didn’t confide it to anybody. Afterwards I went to a co-ed middle school, always with that desire in my heart".[1]


He attended the liceum of classics at the archdiocosean seminary of Genoa, and was ordained to the priesthood on 29 June 1966 by Cardinal Giuseppe Siri. While a priest in Genoa, he received a degree in philosophy from the University of Genoa, served as professor of metaphysics and contemporary atheism at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, and led the archdiocesan liturgical and catechesis offices. He was once the diocesan representative to the FUCI (the Italian Catholic Federation of University Students) and led efforts for the pastoral care of students in the region.[2]

Early episcopal career[edit]

Bagnasco was appointed Bishop of Pesaro on 3 January 1998. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 7 February from Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi, with Bishops Gaetano Michetti and Giacomo Barabino serving as co-consecrators. Bagnasco became Metropolitan Archbishop of the same see on 11 March 2000.

Since 2001, he has held several posts within the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), including president of the administrative board of its newspaper Avvenire, and secretary for schools and universities. On 20 June 2003, he was appointed Archbishop of the Military Ordinariate of Italy. He described his appointment as "totally unexpected" and that he accepted it "with surprise and some trepidation. First of all because the military world was totally unknown to me, and then because it was a matter of an extensive diocese, covering the whole country and even beyond, with our soldiers on missions to foreign countries".[3]

Archbishop of Genoa[edit]

Styles of
Angelo Bagnasco
Coat of arms of Angelo Bagnasco.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Genoa

Following the resignation of Tarcisio Bertone, Bagnasco was appointed Archbishop of Genoa on 29 August 2006. He was installed on the following 24 September. He defended Pope Benedict XVI in the Regensburg controversy.

On 7 March 2007, Benedict XVI selected Bagnasco to succeed Camillo Ruini as President of the Italian Episcopal Conference for a five-year term. "The choice is a compromise between two of Benedict's two most influential policy-movers—Bagnasco is a confirmed Ruini-ite, 'but Bertone likes him,' as one op put it."[4]

On 27 June 2007, Archbishop Bagnasco, along with several other prelates, attended a briefing at the Apostolic Palace on Pope Benedict's impending motu proprio allowing wider celebration of the Tridentine Mass.[5] Two days after this meeting, on 29 June, he and forty-five others were invested with the pallium, a woolen vestment reserved for metropolitan bishops, by Benedict in St. Peter's Basilica.

Cardinalate and curial assignments[edit]

On 17 October 2007 Pope Benedict announced that Bagnasco would be created cardinal in a consistory on 24 November. He was created Cardinal-Priest of Gran Madre di Dio. On 12 June 2008 in addition to his duties as archbishop of Genoa Benedict appointed him to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.[6]

Also in 2008 Bagnasco was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Congregation for Bishops.[6] After the election of Pope Francis in 2013 the personnel of the Congregation for Bishops was adjusted and the 70-year-old Bagnasco was not reconfirmed to the congregation.[7]

Bagnasco took part in the papal conclave of 2013 that elected Pope Francis, and was seen as a possible contender (papabili) for the papacy himself by some media sources.[8][9] In accord with canon law Bagnasco would be eligible to participate in any future papal conclave that begins before his 80th birthday on 14 January 2023.


Cardinal Bagnasco with the President of the Italian Republic.


Cardinal Bagnasco has expressed strong opposition to abortion, especially with regards to the RU-486 pill, which has abortive effects on the conceptus.[10]

Condemnation of same-sex unions and marriage[edit]

In April 2007, following a condemnation of same-sex unions—in which he said, "Why say 'no' to forms of legally recognised co-habitation which create alternatives to the family? Why say 'no' to incest? Why say 'no' to the paedophile party in Holland?"[11]—Bagnasco allegedly found himself the target of death threats. The Genoa police department, while dismissing any serious cause for concern, assigned an armed officer to guard him.[12]

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio from the Italian Green Party, a vocal supporter of gay rights, said Bagnasco had made a "grave, foolish comparison which offends millions of people".[13]

Bagnasco later condemned a ruling made by the Tuscan courts in 2014 which, for the first time in Italy, recognized the marriage of a gay couple who had wed in New York.[14] He has also described gay civil unions and same-sex marriages as a “Trojan horse” that fundamentally weaken the institution of the family.[15]

Social teaching[edit]

Bagnasco affirmed that each man has the right to be employed. He also advised that the flexibility of the workforce has to be limited.

Transparency in politics[edit]

On 15 February 2011, he said: "Transparency is a value which is needed at all levels for the good of the country."[16]


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gaetano Michetti
Archbishop of Pesaro
3 January 1998 – 20 June 2003
Succeeded by
Piero Coccia
Preceded by
Giuseppe Mani
Military Ordinary of Italy
20 June 2003 – 29 August 2006
Succeeded by
Vincenzo Pelvi
Preceded by
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB
Archbishop of Genoa
29 August 2006 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Camillo Ruini
President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
7 March 2007 - 24 May 2017
Succeeded by
Gualtiero Bassetti