Luigi Lavitrano

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Luigi Lavitrano
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Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Palermo (emeritus)

Luigi Lavitrano (7 March 1874 – 2 August 1950) was an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Palermo from 1928 to 1944, and as prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious from 1945 until his death. Lavitrano was elevated to the cardinalate in 1929.


Born in Forio, Lavitrano lost his entire family in an earthquake in 1883 that devastated the island of Ischia. He studied at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare, the Royal University, and the Pontifical Leonine Institute in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on 21 March 1898, and then taught at the Leonine Institute until 1910, when he became its rector. He was raised to the rank of Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on 8 March 1904.

On 25 May 1914, Lavitrano was appointed Bishop of Cava e Sarno by Pope Pius X. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 21 June from Basilio Cardinal Pompilj, with Bishops Giovanni Regine and Giovanni Scotti serving as co-consecrators. Lavitrano was later named Archbishop of Benevento on 16 July 1924, and finally archbishop of Palermo on 29 September 1928. In addition, he served as Apostolic Administrator of Castellammare di Stabia from 1924 to 1925.

Pope Pius XI created him Cardinal-Priest of San Silvestro in Capite in the consistory of 16 December 1929. Lavitrano, who once scolded Italian Catholics for their religious negligence,[1] was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1939 papal conclave that selected Pope Pius XII. After resigning as Palermo's archbishop in December 1944, he was made Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious in the Roman Curia on 14 May 1945. Lavitrano's resignation was unexpected, and it is considered that he resigned because his alleged sympathy for the Fascists -- he voted for the National Fascist Party in the 1929 Italian general elections[2] -- became unpopular.[3]

Lavitrano died in Marino, in the Alban Hills, at age 76. He is buried in the basilica of Santa Maria di Loreto in his native Forio.


  1. ^ TIME Magazine. Pope and Pastors February 10, 1940
  2. ^ TIME Magazine. 98 28/100% Pure April 8, 1929
  3. ^ Liberation: The Second World War in Sicily. Best of Sicily. Quote: "By a tradition dating from the medieval Norman rule of southern Italy, the Archbishop of Palermo is the Primate of Sicily. In modern times, this has entailed little more than a titular (and symbolic) precedence over other Sicilian bishops, but an important one. It was deemed inopportune for the Archbishop of Palermo (since 1928), Luigi Cardinal Lavitrano (1874-1950), who had been sympathetic to the Fascist regime, or at least perceived in that light, to continue in his position; General Patton's dislike of cardinal Lavitrano was well-known. Therefore, he 'resigned' to a post in the Roman Curia in December 1944. For a bishop to retire from active pastoral work at seventy years of age was unusual (the mandatory retirement age is now seventy-five), but in the case of this unforeseen wartime resignation - possibly the first of its kind in modern Italy - the Vatican did not have an immediate successor in mind. In fact, Ernesto Ruffini (1888-1967) was not appointed Archbishop of Palermo until October of the following year. Though conservative, Cardinal Ruffini was regarded as less reactionary and less monarchist than his predecessor."[author missing]

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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giuseppe Izzo
Bishop of Cava e Sarno
Succeeded by
Pasquale Dell'Isola
Preceded by
Alessio Ascalesi, CPPS
Archbishop of Benevento
Succeeded by
Adeodato Giovanni Piazza
Preceded by
Alessandro Lualdi
Archbishop of Palermo
29 September 1928–14 May 1945
Succeeded by
Ernesto Ruffini
Preceded by
Donato Cardinal Sbarretti
Cardinal-Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite
Succeeded by
Valerio Cardinal Valeri
Preceded by
Vincenzo Lapuma
Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious
Succeeded by
Clemente Micara