Rino Fisichella

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His Excellency
Rino Fisichella
President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Titular Archbishop of Vicohabentia
In office 30 June 2010 – present
Successor Incumbent
Ordination 13 March 1976
by Ugo Poletti
Consecration 12 September 1998
by Camillo Ruini
Rank Archbishop
Personal details
Born (1951-08-25) 25 August 1951 (age 65)
Codogno, Lodi, Italy
Previous post President of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Rino Fisichella, baptized with the name Salvatore[1] (born 25 August 1951), is an Italian titular archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. He previously served as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.[2]


Early life and ordination[edit]

Born in Codogno in the province of Lodi, he studied classics at St Francis College in Lodi. He received a degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and was ordained a priest on 13 March 1976 for the diocese of Rome, by Ugo Poletti, Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese of Rome.

After ordination, he held a number of positions including Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Member of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee Year 2000 and Vice President of the Historical-Theological Commission of the same Committee.

He was appointed a Chaplain of His Holiness in 1994.


He is a specialist in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, on whom he did an extensive research in 1980. He taught fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Lateran University and was named rector of the Lateran on 18 January 2002.[3] He has served as a chaplain to the Italian parliament.


Styles of
Rino Fisichella
Coat of arms of Rino Fisichella.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none

He was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Rome and at the same time Titular Bishop of Vicohabentia on 3 July 1998 and was later consecrated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

He was president of the diocesan commission on ecumenism and interfaith relations. He worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He was said to have collaborated in the publication of Fides et Ratio in 1998.

Fisichella intervened in favour of peace during the Muhammad caricature controversy of 2005. He was a friend of Oriana Fallaci. In 2005, he celebrated the 100th anniversary of the catechism of Saint Pius X.

When asked as archbishop if he would give Communion to Italian politicians Romano Prodi and Pier Ferdinando Casini, Fisichella responded that he "did not see a reason" for refusing Communion to Prodi, whereas Casini "knows well the rules of the Church" and does not present himself for Communion.[4]

Archbishop Rino Fisichella in Lodi in 2006.

Pontifical Academy of Life[edit]

On 17 June 2008 he was appointed Titular Archbishop of the same see and that same day assumed the presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He later came out against a law in Luxembourg allowing for euthanasia. On 24 January 2009, he urged US President Barack Obama to listen to all voices in America without "the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death."[5]

He intervened in a 2009 controversy concerning a statement by Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife that an abortion performed on a nine-year-old girl pregnant with twins, reportedly because of abuse by her stepfather, had resulted in excommunication for the mother who arranged for the abortion and the doctors who carried it out.

L'Osservatore Romano published Fisichella's essay critical of Sobrinho on its front page on 15 March 2009.[6] He stated that thought should have been directed not to the excommunication, but to supporting her and to safeguarding her innocent life and restoring it from degradation. As a result of the church's heavy judgment, the credibility of Catholic teaching was damaged and appeared merciless. He reiterated that abortion was morally evil, but that since the excommunication had been automatic, it was not necessary to rush to publicize it at the cost of mercy to the victim. Fisichella also wrote that the case had presented the doctors with a difficult moral decision and, addressing the girl, he spoke of "those who allowed you to live and will help you to recover hope and trust. In spite of the presence of evil, and the wickedness of many".[6][7]

L'Osservatore Romano on 11 July 2009 published a clarification by that Congregation, which declared that church teaching on abortion has not changed and will not change.[8]

As a consequence of his article, the members of the Academy gave Fisichella a vote of no confidence; he was reassigned the next year to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.[9]

Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation[edit]

On 30 June 2010, Fisichella was appointed as the first President of the planned Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.[10] He was replaced as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life by Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, who had served as chancellor of the academy. At the same time, Archbishop Fisichella resigned his position as Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, and Enrico dal Covolo, S.D.B. was appointed as his successor.

Shortly after his appointment, Archbishop Fisichella called for an investigation into who covered up for the Legion of Christ's disgraced founder, Marciel Maciel. He said that "those who took his appointments, those who kept his agenda, those who drove him around". Fisichella suggested that the Vatican look inside the Legion. "We must be able to verify how well-covered up it was inside his congregation, not outside it".[11]

Fisichella's task is to reawaken the faith in traditionally Christian parts of the world, particularly Europe and North America. The idea is that, while the countries within Christendom today were first "evangelised", or converted to Christianity, many centuries ago, today it stands in need of a "new evangelisation" because of a decline of faith in the West. Its first declared project is a celebration in 2012 of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

During the press conference on the release in October 2010 of the motu proprio authorizing the setting up of the new Council, the members of which were appointed in January 2011, Archbishop Fisichella stated that his new office did not yet have an internet connection, or even a computer: "Right now, I'm just hoping to get a computer in my office so I can get on the internet myself."[12]

In February 2011 Archbishop Fisichella said that "We’re still at the beginning of a pontificate, and in my opinion it’s always difficult to make judgments or offer a far-ranging analysis at the beginning". Archbishop Fisichella was the first Roman Curia official to suggest that controversies over issues such as the Richard Williamson misstep and the Regensburg lecture registered in Pope Benedict’s first six years may not loom so large in the future. "'A sense of history should make us prudent and cautious from this point of view,'" he said.[citation needed]

In August 2011 Archbishop Fischella unveiled, Mission Metropolis which is to start in Lent 2012.[13] The plan is to revive faith Christianity in Europe. The cities that will take part are: Barcelona, Budapest, Brussels, Dublin, Cologne, Lisbon, Liverpool, Paris, Turin, Warsaw and Vienna. The plan comprises two parts. First, an emphasis on ordinary pastoral care activities particularly in the field of formation, and second, during Lent 2012, the simultaneous implementation of activities such as reading of the Word and readings of the Confessions of St Augustine.

On 10 December 2011 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture for a five-year renewable term.[14] On 29 December 2011 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for a five-year renewable term.[15] On 7 March 2012 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Committee for the International Euchrastic Congresses.[16]

In March 2012 Archbishop Fisichella said in response to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for same sex marriage that "If the stories in the press about Blair's thinking are true, I think he should examine his conscience carefully".[17]

Archbishop Fisichella, opening a three-day conference on the New Evangelisation in Sydney in August 2012, was keynote speaker at Proclaim 2012. He spoke of the decline of the faith in Europe and western societies, which, he said, cannot be stemmed by a "reform of structures" but only by a personal encounter with the Risen Christ. He urged "new relationships of esteem, of trust and of welcome of people's various gifts" within the Church.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This name is valid only for the Catholic Church.
  2. ^ RINUNCE E NOMINE, 17.06.2008
  3. ^ RINUNCE E NOMINE, 18.01.2002
  4. ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (22 October 2005). "Coverage of Bishops Synod on the Eucharist". 
  5. ^ Vatican criticizes Obama on abortion issue
  6. ^ a b Dalla parte della bambina brasiliana
  7. ^ "Drifting Mines. In Africa the Condom, in Brazil Abortion". L'Espresso. 23 March 2009. 
  8. ^ Background and an English translation of the clarification are provided in the article Retractions. The Holy Office Teaches Archbishop Fisichella a Lesson
  9. ^ Allen Jr., John L. (May 30, 2012). "Vatican academy mulls how pro-life is pro-life enough". National Catholic Reporter. 
  10. ^ Press Office of the Holy See
  11. ^ Vatican acted slowly, late in Legion scandal
  12. ^ Office for evangelising cyberspace does not have internet access, says official
  13. ^ New Evangelization Council plans "Metropolis Mission"
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ O'Loughlin, Michael J. (13 March 2012). "Blair supports same-sex marriage, churches push back". America. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "Abp Fisichella: We Need New Evangelizers". Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Angelo Scola
Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University
18 January 2002 – 30 June 2010
Succeeded by
Enrico dal Covolo S.D.B.
Preceded by
Elio Sgreccia
President of the Pontifical Academy for Life
17 June 2008 – 30 June 2010
Succeeded by
Ignacio Carrasco de Paula
Preceded by
President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation
30 June 2010 – present
Succeeded by