Antonio Innocenti

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Cardinal Innocenti's grave in Tosi

Styles of
Antonio Innocenti
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeAeclanum (titular see)

Antonio Innocenti (23 August 1915 – 6 September 2008) was a Cardinal who was the lead figure of the Roman Curia and the Vatican diplomatic service for many years. He was born at Poppi, Italy.

Ordained in 1938 at Florence, Innocenti was studied at the Episcopal Seminary of Fiesole, the Pontifical Gregorian University where he received a doctorate in 1941, the Pontifical Lateran University, where he received a licentiate in dogmatic theology in 1950, and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, where he studied diplomacy.[1] He served as a priest in northern Italy for the decade following his ordination. His work helping Jews led to his arrest and almost being shot by a firing squad; he was released at the last minute. He was then called to Rome by Pope Pius XII and settled on a career in the Curia. He served for most of the 1950s and 1960s in the Papal Nunciature in Switzerland, where, as he saw it, the major problems were "an opulent society, religious assistance to immigrants and relations with Christian of other denominations".

On 15 December 1967, Innocenti was elevated by Pope Paul VI to the role of Titular Archbishop of Eclano and at exactly the same time appointed Papal Nuncio to Paraguay. He served as Nuncio to Paraguay whilst holding a number of titular sees until 1973, when he was promoted to the role of Secretary of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments (now the Congregation for Divine Worship) until 1980, when Innocenti became Nuncio to Spain.

In 1985, Pope John Paul II rewarded the experienced prelate by creating him a Cardinal and one year later Innocenti became Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, a post he was to hold until he passed the mandatory retirement age of seventy five in 1991. During Innocenti's time as Prefect, the Curia was extremely busy dealing with what was perceived as dangerous dissent from papal teaching, and Innocenti was heavily involved with many lay movements designed to restore orthodoxy among the Church's members.

After stepping down from his post as Prefect in 1991, Innocenti gradually faded into retirement. When he turned eighty in 1995, he lost his right to vote at papal conclaves, and by 1999 he had completely retired to Piazza della Citta Leonina.


  1. ^ Miranda, Salvatore (2014). "Biographical Directory: Innocenti, Antonio". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2018.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Luigi Dadaglio
Apostolic Nuncio to Spain
4 October 1980 – 9 January 1986
Succeeded by
Mario Tagliaferri
Preceded by
Silvio Oddi
Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy
Succeeded by
José Tomás Sánchez
Preceded by
Paul Mayer
President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Succeeded by
Angelo Felici