Eduardo Francisco Pironio

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His Eminence
Eduardo Francisco Pironio
Servant of God
Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina-Porto Mirteto
Eduardo Francisco Pironio.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Sabina-Poggio Mirteto
In office 11 July 1995 - 5 February 1998
Predecessor Agnelo Rossi
Successor Lucas Moreira Neves
Ordination 5 December 1943
by Anunciado Serafini
Consecration 31 May 1964
by Antonio José Plaza
Created Cardinal 24 May 1976
by Pope Paul VI
Rank Cardinal-Bishop
Personal details
Birth name Eduardo Francisco Pironio
Born (1920-12-03)3 December 1920
Nueve de Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died 5 February 1998(1998-02-05) (aged 77)
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Previous post
Motto Christus in vobis spes gloriae ("Christ, in You, the hope of glory")
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Title as Saint Servant of God

Eduardo Francisco Pironio (3 December 1920 – 5 February 1998) was an Argentine Roman Catholic cardinal who served in numerous departments of the Roman Curia in addition to his post as the Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina-Poggio.

On 30 June 2006 the Diocese of Rome began requesting testimonies about the life and sanctity of Cardinal Pironio which opened his cause of canonization and bestowed upon him the posthumous title Servant of God.

Styles of
Eduardo Pironio
Coat of arms of Eduardo Francisco Pironio.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Sabina-Poggio Mirteto


Early life[edit]

Eduardo Pironio was born on 3 December 1920 in Argentina as the last of 22 children of José Pironio and Enriqueta Rosa Butazzoni, who had emigrated from Friuli, Italy.[1]

Months before his death, in an interview, he stated that: "I am the twenty-second child, the last born, and I have to recognize that the story is somewhat miraculous. ...When their first son was born, my mother was only 18 years old, and she became gravely ill. She was in bed for six months, unable to move. When she recovered, the doctors told her that she would not be able to have more children, and that if she did, her life would be in grave danger. She later gave birth to 21 more children – I am the last – and she lived to the age of 82."[2]


Pironio attended elementary school prior to moving into the seminary in La Plata where he studied both philosophy and theology. He continued his studies at the Pontifical Angelicum Athenaeum in Rome where he attained a licentiate in theology.[1]

Church career[edit]

He was ordained on 5 December 1943 in Argentina by Anunciado Serafini. He served as a staff member of the Pío XII Seminary in Mercedes from 1944 until 1959. Pironio served as the vicar general of the Diocese of Mercedes from 1959 until a year later, and he went on to serve as the rector of the Metropolitan Seminary of Villa Devoto from 1960 to 1964. He attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1964 as an expert.[1]

He carried out the duties of a priest until Pope Paul VI on 24 March 1964 appointed him as the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of La Plata, Argentina receiving the titular see of Caeciri simultaneously to that. He received his episcopal consecration on 31 May 1964 from Antonio José Plaza. In his capacity as a bishop, he no longer served as an expert to the Second Vatican Council, but from 1964 until 1965, attended as part of the episcopate. In 1967, he was selected as the brief apostolic administrator to the Diocese of Avellaneda.

Pironio was chosen as the Secretary-General of the Latin American Episcopal Council in 1967 and served as such until 1972. He also attended the Synod of Bishops from 29 September to 29 October 1967, and later attended the Second General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate from 24 August to 6 September 1968 in Colombia. He attended two further synods in 1969 and in 1971. Pironio was later elected as the President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference in 1972 and remained as such until 1974, only to be confirmed for an extra year.

He was chosen as the Bishop of Mar del Plata on 19 April 1972. He preached the spiritual exercises for Pope Paul VI and the Roman Curia for Lent in 1974. He remained in his diocese until he was appointed on 20 September 1975 to be the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in the Roman Curia, that same day, becoming the Titular Archbishop of Thiges. He remained as Pro-Prefect until his elevation to the rank of cardinal. Pironio also attended the synod of 1974 in the capacity of relator and as a member of its general secretariat. On 20 September 1975 he was made the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and remained as such until 1984.

Paul VI, on 24 May 1976, elevated him into the cardinalate as the Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano. As a cardinal he participated in the synod of 1977, and went on to serve as a cardinal elector in the papal conclave of August and October 1978 that elected Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II respectively. In 1979, he attended the Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate in Mexico, and later a synod in 1980 and 1983.

He was appointed by Pope John Paul II on 8 April 1984 as the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. In that position, together with John Paul II, Pironio was a promoter of the first World Youth Day. He went on to serve at seven additional synods across the course of the next decade. As is traditional after ten years of serving as Cardinal-Deacon, he took the option of becoming Cardinal-Priest while retaining his titular church. On 11 July 1995 he was elected to take the suburbicarian see of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto as a Cardinal-Bishop. He retired in 1996 becoming the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Pironio attended the Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopal Conference in 1992 in the Dominican Republic and was appointed as the papal envoy to the 5th National Marian Congress in Ecuador in 1992.


Pironio died in 1998 of bone cancer in Rome. John Paul II presided over the funeral rites with 27 cardinals also in attendance. His remains were taken to Buenos Aires at a mass that Antonio Quarracino presided over after which his remains were buried in the left lateral altar of the basilica of Our Lady of Luján.

Process of canonisation[edit]

Diocesan process[edit]

The approval to commence the cause was granted on 24 March 2006 - which granted him the posthumous title Servant of God - and commenced in Rome on 23 June 2006.

On 28 June 2006 Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, stated in an edict that "with the passing of years, his fame for sanctity has increased, and therefore it has been formally requested that we begin his cause of beatification and canonization".[3]

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrated a mass on the seventh anniversary of his death. "His life leaves us with an icon of a holy, generous and ardent minister of Christ", said Cardinal Bertone. "He made of his own existence an act of love for God and for his brothers and sisters; an act of love sustained by unwavering faith and joyful hope".[4]

The Archdiocesan Tribunal of Buenos Aires initiated the Argentine phase of the beatification process on 22 February 2007 and it heard the testimonies of approximately thirty-three witnesses, bishops, priests, religious men and women, and lay people. The diocesan process shall conclude its work in Rome on 11 March 2016; this will result in all documentation being submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints who will commence the "Roman Phase" of the cause.

The postulator assigned was the Benedictine Giuseppe Tamburrino while the vice-postulator appointed was Professor Beatriz Buzzetti.


The miracle required for beatification was brought to the attention of officials of the cause and the formal diocesan process for the investigation of the miracle commenced in 2008; it concluded in August 2014.


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Marcos Gregorio McGrath
Titular Bishop of Caeciri
24 March 1964-19 April 1972
Succeeded by
Heraldo Camilo A. Barotto
Preceded by
Avelar Brandão Vilela
President of the Latin American Episcopal Council
Succeeded by
Aloísio Lorscheider
Preceded by
Enrique Rau
Bishop of Mar del Plata
19 April 1972-20 September 1975
Succeeded by
Rómulo García
Preceded by
Georg Moser
Titular Archbishop of Thiges
20 September 1975-24 May 1976
Succeeded by
Eugeen Laridon
Preceded by
Arturo Tabera Araoz
Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
20 September 1975-8 April 1984
Succeeded by
Jean Jérôme Hamer
Preceded by
Johannes Willebrands
Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano
24 May 1976-22 June 1987
Succeeded by
as Cardinal-Priest
Preceded by
Opilio Rossi
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
8 April 1984-20 August 1996
Succeeded by
James Stafford
Preceded by
Fiorenzo Angelini
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers
16 February 1985-1 March 1989
Succeeded by
Fiorenzo Angelini
Preceded by
as Cardinal-Deacon
Cardinal-Deacon pro hac vice of Santi Cosma e Damiano
22 June 1987-11 July 1995
Succeeded by
Giovanni Cheli
Preceded by
Agnelo Rossi
Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto
11 July 1995-2 February 1998
Succeeded by
Lucas Moreira Neves