Gaetano Aloisi Masella

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Gaetano Aloisi Masella.
Styles of
Gaetano Aloisi Masella
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
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Gaetano Aloisi Masella (September 30, 1826 – November 22, 1902) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1887 and served as Prefect of the Congregation of Rites from 1899 until his death.


Gaetano Aloisi Masella was born in Pontecorvo; he was the uncle of future cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1849, in the Lateran Basilica, and then served as secretary of the nunciature in Naples. Aloisi Masella later became auditor of the nunciature to Germany in 1858, and of the nunciature to France in 1862. In 1869 he entered the service of the Roman Curia as consultor for diplomatic affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was made a referendary prelate of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature in 1870, and accompanied Archbishop Alessandro Franchi to Constantinople in 1874, the same year in which he was named Secretary for Oriental Affairs in the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

On May 22, 1877, Aloisi Masella was appointed Titular Archbishop of Neocaesarea in Ponto by Pope Pius IX. After receiving his episcopal consecration in the following June from Cardinal Franchi, he was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Bavaria on June 5 of that same year, and Nuncio to Portugal on September 30, 1879. Pope Leo XIII created him Cardinal Priest of S. Tommaso in Parione in the consistory of March 14, 1887.

After becoming Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences and Relics on November 16, 1887, Aloisi Masella was made Prefect of the office of economic planning of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and President of the general administration of the Chamber of Despoilments on February 13, 1888. He was appointed Prefect of the S.C. of Rites on October 3, 1889, and also served as Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals on July 11, 1892 to January 16, 1893. He opted for the titular church of S. Prassede on January 16, 1893, and was named Pro-Datary of His Holiness on May 29, 1897, remaining in that post until his death. He declined an offering of a suburbicarian see in order to continue working in the reorganization of the Apostolic Datary.

The Cardinal died in Rome, at age 76. After being exposed in the Palace of the Datary and a Requiem in the basilica of Ss. XII Apostoli, his body was buried in his family's tomb in his native Pontecorvo.


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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Angelo Bianchi
Nuncio to Germany
Succeeded by
Cesare Roncetti
Preceded by
Domenico Sanguigni
Nuncio to Portugal
Succeeded by
Vincenzo Vannutelli
Preceded by
Camillo Mazzella, SJ
Prefect of the Congregation of Rites
Succeeded by
Domenico Ferrata