Serafino Vannutelli

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Serafino Vannutelli.
Styles of
Serafino Vannutelli
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Informal styleCardinal
SeeOstia (suburbicarian see) Porto e Santa Rufina (suburbicarian see)

Serafino Vannutelli (26 November 1834 – 19 August 1917) was an Italian Cardinal.

His younger brother Vincenzo (1836 – 1930) was also a cardinal.


Vannutelli was born at Genazzano, in the diocese of Palestrina, where he studied and graduated in philosophy before studying theology in the Capranica College, Rome. After teaching theology at the Pontifical Seminary, he was secretary to the Papal Nuncio in Bavaria.[1]

On 25 June 1869 he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Nicaea and on 18 July was consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Naro.

He went to North America to become auditor to the Nuncio at the Court of Maximilian in Mexico, and apostolic delegate to Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Central America. He was made Papal Nuncio to Brussels in 1875. His stay in Brussels stopped abruptly when Belgian government broke off the diplomatic relations with the Holy See on 28 June 1880. He became Papal Nuncio to Vienna that same year.

Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal on 4 March 1887.[1]

On 16 January 1893, after Vannutelli reportedly declined an appointment as Secretary of State, Pope Leo XIII named him Archbishop of Bologna, an assignment considered an exile from Rome.[2] The Pope wrote a letter to the people of Bologna saying that he had been guided by divine inspiration in making the appointment and was reported to have said "Vannutelli goes to Bologna Cardinal and will return a Pope". The New York Times commented: "He has for some time been prominently mentioned in connection with the Papal succession, and is supported by an influential ecclesiastical party, with whom, it is believed, Pope Leo is in sympathy."[3] He served until 12 June when he was named Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati.

He was created Cardinal-Priest of San Girolamo dei Croati in 1887. From 1899 until his death in 1917 he was Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary.

He served as Secretary, the highest officer except for the pope, of the Congregation for Universal Inquisition (later known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), from 16 January 1903[4] until he resigned that office on 31 December 1908 at the age of 74. On 22 June 1903 he was moved from Frascati to become Cardinal-Bishop of Porto Santa e Rufina[5] and then on 25 May 1914 to become Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, while retaining his previous suburbicarian see.

At the conclave in 1903 that elected Pope Pius X, he was considered papabile, i.e., a contender for election to the papacy.[6]

He became Dean of the College of Cardinals in May 1914. Performing the duties of Dean during the conclave that met in August of that year and elected Pope Benedict XV proved challenging as he was "almost blind ... stone deaf ... and weakened from nervous prostration". En route to that conclave from Naples, his train was bombed and several passengers, though not Vannutelli, were injured.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Cardinal Bishop Vannutelli Dead" (PDF). New York Times. 20 August 1915. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  2. ^ "The Pope's Policy" (PDF). New York Times. Associated Press. 4 December 1892. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Pope Leo's Successor" (PDF). New York Times. 10 January 1893. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Cardinal Vannutelli Exalted" (PDF). New York Times. 17 January 1903. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  5. ^ "The Pope Creates Seven New Cardinals" (PDF). New York Times. 23 June 1903. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Pope Leo's Successor" (PDF). New York Times. 6 July 1903. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Bomb on Cardinal's Train" (PDF). New York Times. 21 August 1914. Retrieved 18 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francesco Battaglini
Archbishop of Bologna
16 January 1893 – 12 June 1893
Succeeded by
Domenico Svampa
Preceded by
Isidoro Verga
Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary
20 November 1899 – 19 August 1915
Succeeded by
Willem Marinus van Rossum
Preceded by
Lucido Parocchi
Secretary of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office
16 January 1903 – 31 December 1908
Succeeded by
Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro
Preceded by
Luigi Oreglia di Santo Stefano
Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
7 December 1913 – 19 August 1916
Succeeded by
Vincenzo Vannutelli