Fortunato Baldelli

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His Eminence
Fortunato Baldelli
Fortunato Cardinal Baldelli.jpg
See Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Appointed 2 June 2009
Term ended 5 January 2012
Predecessor James Francis Stafford
Successor Manuel Monteiro de Castro
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of S. Anselmo all’Aventino, Apostolic Nuncio to France, Apostolic Nuncio to Peru
Ordination 18 March 1961
by Giuseppe Placido Maria Nicolini
Consecration 23 April 1983
by Agostino Casaroli
Created Cardinal 20 November 2010
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Birth name Fortunato Baldelli
Born (1935-08-06)6 August 1935
Valfabbrica, Italy
Died 20 September 2012(2012-09-20) (aged 77)
Rome Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Archbishop of Mevania (1983–2010)
  • Apostolic Delegate to Angola (1983–1991)
  • Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to São Tomé and Príncipe (1985–1991)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Dominican Republic (1991–1994)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Peru (1994–1999)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to France (1999–2009)
Coat of arms 200 px
Styles of
Fortunato Baldelli
Coat of arms of Fortunato Baldelli.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Fortunato Baldelli (6 August 1935 – 20 September 2012) was an Italian Catholic Cardinal. He served as Apostolic Nuncio in France from June 1999 until 2009. He was the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary having retired on 5 January 2012. He served in the post from 2009 when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.[1]


After finishing his primary education, in 1947 he entered the Seminary of Assisi, where he finished his secondary education; at the death of his parents, he was able to continue his formation because of the help of his brothers and the assistance of Bishop Placido Nicolini of Assisi. In 1957, Bishop Nicolini sent him to the Major Roman Seminary; he attended the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, and obtained a licentiate in theology. Sent by his bishop, he studied at the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, from 1964 to 1966 where he studied diplomacy. He went on to obtain a doctorate in canon law. Besides his native Italian, he speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Baldelli was ordained priest for the Diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino on 18 March 1961. From 1961 to 1964, he was vice-rector of the Minor Seminary of Assisi. Entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1966. Addetto in the nunciature in Cuba, 1966–1967; secretary, 1967–1970. Secretary in the United Arab Republic (Egypt), 1970–1974. In 1974, he returned to the Secretariat of State; and later, he was transferred to the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. In 1979, he was named special envoy with functions of permanent observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

On 12 February 1983, Pope John Paul II appointed him Titular Archbishop of Mevania, and sent as apostolic delegate in Angola. In 1985 he was appointed Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in São Tomé and Príncipe, and in 1991 the Apostolic Nuncio in the Dominican Republic and then Peru in 1994.

He was appointed apostolic nuncio in France on 19 June 1999, succeeding Archbishop Mario Tagliaferri, who died unexpectedly on 21 May. He served as Apostolic Nuncio in France from 1999 until his appointment as Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary on 2 June 2009 by Pope Benedict. As such he deals with the forgiveness of the most grievous sins as well as indulgences. In addition to his duties as Major Penitentiary, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 24 July 2010 for the usual five-year period.[2] In addition to Italian, Cardinal Baldelli speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Cardinal Baldelli was present at the coronation of Albert II, Prince of Monaco as non-resident Apostolic Nuncio to Monaco, and read a letter of good wishes and blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.

On 20 October 2010 Pope Benedict announced that he would be among the list of new cardinals to be created in a consistory on 20 November. He was created Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino.

In December 2010 Cardinal Baldelli was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.[3] On 29 January 2011 Cardinal Baldelli was appointed a member of Secretariat of State (second section).[4]

He retired from his post on 5 January 2012 with the appointment of Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro as his successor.


Cardinal Baldelli died on Thursday night, 20 September 2012, at Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, where he resided during the last years of his life. In a papal telegram of condolence and prayers upon Cardinal Baldelli's death, sent to Cardinal Baldelli's brother, Piero Baldelli, by Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Baldelli was praised for his "...exemplary testimony of Christian life..." and his "...diligent and loyal service to the Holy See..." The telegram did not state or allude to a cause of death.[5] Cardinal Baldelli's Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, 22 September 2012, at 6:00 pm, at The Altar of the Chair in Saint Peter's Basilica by the Cardinal Secretary of State Emeritus, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and Cardinal-Bishop of Albano and Ostia, together with other Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops.[6]

Preceded by
Luigi Dossena
Apostolic Nuncio to Peru
23 April 1994 – 19 June 1999
Succeeded by
Rino Passigato
Preceded by
Mario Tagliaferri
Apostolic Nuncio to France
19 June 1999 – 2 June 2009
Succeeded by
Luigi Ventura
Preceded by
James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
2 June 2009 – 5 January 2012
Succeeded by
Manuel Monteiro de Castro


  1. ^ "RINUNCIA DEL PENITENZIERE MAGGIORE E NOMINA DEL SUCCESSORE". RINUNCE E NOMINE (in Italian). 2 June 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "NOMINA DI MEMBRI DELLA CONGREGAZIONE DELLE CAUSE DEI SANTI". RINUNCE E NOMINE (in Italian). 24 July 2010. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "NOMINA DI CARDINALI MEMBRI DEI DICASTERI DELLA CURIA ROMANA". RINUNCE E NOMINE (in Italian). 29 December 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "NOMINA DI MEMBRI DEL CONSIGLIO DI CARDINALI E VESCOVI DELLA SEZIONE PER I RAPPORTI CON GLI STATI DELLA SEGRETERIA DI STATO". RINUNCE E NOMINE (in Italian). 29 January 2011. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "TELEGRAMMA DI CORDOGLIO DEL SANTO PADRE PER LA SCOMPARSA DELL'EM.MO CARD. FORTUNATO BALDELLI" (in Italian). 21 September 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "AVVISO DELL'UFFICIO DELLE CELEBRAZIONI LITURGICHE" (in Italian). 21 September 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2013.