The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Clement XII (1730-1740)
Consistory of January 17, 1735 (VIII)
Celebrated in Rome


(20) 1. SPINELLI, Giuseppe (1694-1763)

Birth. February 1, 1694, Naples. Fourth of the five children of Giambattista Spinelli, marquis of Fuscaldo, prince of Sant'Arcangelo and duke of Caivano, and Maria Imperiali, of the princes of Francavilla (1). The other siblings were Antonio (died young), Domenico (died in infancy), Giovanni Battista (marquis of Fuscaldo) and Ippolita (nun of S. Brigida). Grand-nephew of Cardinal Lorenzo Imperiali (1652). Nephew of Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali (1690). Cousin of Cardinal Cosimo Imperiali (1753). Uncle of Cardinal Ferdinando Spinelli (1785). Another cardinal of the family was Filippo Spinelli (1604).

Education. In 1707, when he was thirteen years old, he was sent by his parents to study at Seminario Romano, residing in the court of his uncle the cardinal; he received the insignias of the clerical character on September 30, 1713; he later attended La Sapienza University, Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on September 11, 1717.

Early life. Named privy chamberlain of Pope Clement XI. In 1719, he was sent to Vienna as ablegato to bring the red biretta to Cardinal Giorgio Spinola, nuncio in the imperial court. Received the minor orders on June 14, 1721; the subdiaconate on June 14, 1721; and the diaconate on March 8, 1722. Abbot commendatario of S. Catarina. Internuncio in Flanders, May 24, 1721 until September 21, 1725.

Priesthood. Ordained, April 17, 1724, in Rome.

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Corinto, September 5, 1725. Named nuncio in Flanders, September 6, 1725. Consecrated, October 28, 1725, cathedral of St-Rombaud, Malines, by Cardinal Thomas Philip Wallrad d' Henin-Letard d'Alsace de Boussut de Chimay, archbishop of Malines, assisted by Pierre von Francken Siersdorf, bishop of Anvers, and by Charles d'Espinoza, titular bishop of Tricala. While in his nunciature in Flanders, he obtained from Holland that the apostolic vicars could exercise their ministry; that the University of Louvain expel from its faculty Zeger Bernhard van Espen, a Belgian canonist, suspected of Jansenism and supporter of Cornelius Steenove, elected archbishop of Utrecht without approval from the Holy See; and that no one who refused to subscribe the formulary published by Pope Alexander VII be allowed to teach or to receive any ecclesiastical dignity or benefices. Returned from Flanders and shortly after, in May 1732, was named secretary of the S.C. of Bishops and Regulars; he took possession the following July; and later, he was named examiner of bishops. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, July 16, 1731. Transferred to the metropolitan see of Naples, December 15, 1734; Canon Gennaro Maiello, vicar capitular, in the presence of many bishops and prelates, took possession of the archdiocese in the name of the new archbishop, who entered the see in June 1735. He realized numerous visitations to the parishes, and monasteries of the city and archdiocese. He also embellished the cathedral with the designs of Paolo Posi, from Siena.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of January 17, 1735; with dispensation for having an uncle in the Sacred College of Cardinals; received the red hat and the title of S. Pudenziana, March 14, 1735. Received the pallium, March 14, 1735. Participated in the conclave of 1740, which elected Pope Benedict XIV. In 1744, he opened a diocesan seminary in the former Collegio di S. Maria della Colonna, near the church of the Congregation of the Oratory. Opted for the title of S. Maria in Trastevere, September 25, 1752. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Palestrina, April 9, 1753; he retained the administration of the archdiocese of Naples until February 8, 1754. Named protector of the Kingdom of Scotia on March 15, 1754. In 1755, he was named a member of the cardinalitial congregation which dealt with the application of the papal bull Unigenitus Dei Filius in France and the problems created by the "appellant" Jansenists concerning the administration of the sacraments. Prefect of the S.C. of Propaganda Fide, September 11, 1756 until his death. Pro-prefect of the S.C. of the Tridentine Council between July 1756 and January 1757. He was also pro-prefect of the S.C of the Index in the absence of Cardinal Angelo Maria Quirini, O.S.B.Cas., who resided in Brescia. Participated in the conclave of 1758, which elected Pope Clement XIII. Named protector of the Order of the Eremites of Saint Augustine on February 16, 1759. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, July 13, 1759. Sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Ostia e Velletri, proper of the dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, July 13, 1761.

Death. April 12, 1763, Rome. Transported in a solemn cavalcade to the Franciscan basilica of Ss. XII Apostoli, Rome, where he was exposed and the funeral took place; his body was buried in the middle of that same church, under a tombstone magnificently adorned and inscribed with a noble epitaph and the arms of his family (2).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 273-276; Demoulin, Louis. "La mission à Vienneet les séjours en Rhénanie et à Paris de Giuseppe Spinelli, ou comment on devient internonce de Flandre (1720-1721)." Bulletin de l'Institut historique belge de Rome, XLIII (1973), 594-645; Karttunen, Liisi. Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes de 1650 à 1800. Genève : E. Chaulmontet, 1912, p. 262; Moroni, Gaetano. Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni. 103 vols. in 53. Venezia : Tipografia Emiliana, 1840-1861, LXVIII, 290-292; Notizie per l'anno1763. In Roma MDCCLXIII : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, p. 137, no. 28; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen V (1667-1730). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1952, p. 173; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 7, 39, 40, 48 and 304; Seidler, Sabrina M.; Weber, Christoph. Päpste und Kardinäle in der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts (1730-1777) : das biographische Werk des Patriziers von Lucca Bartolomeo Antonio Talenti. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 2007. (Beiträge zur Kirchen- und Kulturgeschichte, Bd. 18), p. 442-445; Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), II, 911; Weber, Christoph. Senatus divinus : verborgene Strukturen im Kardinalskollegium der frühen Neuzeit (1500-1800). Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 1996, p. 503, no. 658; Zigarelli, Daniello Maria. Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli con una descrizione del clero, della cattedrale, della basilica di s. Restituta e della cappella del tesoro di s. Gennaro. Napoli: Tipografico di G. Gioja, 1861, pp. 215-229.

Links. His portrait, diocese of Tarento, Beweb; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - CulturaItalia; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - CulturaItalia; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - CulturaItalia; his engraving by Niccolo Billy, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his tombstone (barely visible), Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - CulturaItalia.

(1) This is accoring to his biographical entry by Bartolomeo Antonio Talenti in Seidler, Päpste und Kardinäle in der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts (1730-1777), p. 443; Weber, Senatus divinus, p. 503, no. 658; and Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 215. But Weber, Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte, II, 911, says that his parents were Tommaso Francesco Spinelli, prince of Santarcangelo, and Silvia Barrile, princess of Santarcangelo and duchess of Caivano. In the same genealogical table, Weber indicates that an older brother of Cardinal Giuseppe, named Giovanni Battista, marquis of Fuscaldo, married Maria Imperiale, of the princes of Francavilla, and that their eldest son was Cardinal Ferdinando Spinelli (1785).
(2) This is the text of his epitaph taken from Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 229:

D.    O.    M.
IOSEPHO . SPINELLO
PATRITIO . NAPOLITANO
EX . MARCHIONIBVS . FVSCALDI
S. R .E . CARDINALI . INSIGNI . PROBITATE
PIETATE . AC . SOLERTIA . VIRO
ECCLESIASTICÆ . DISCIPLINÆ . CVLTORI . EXIMIO
CVSTODI . AC . VINDICI . STRENVO
SACRORVM . ANTISTITI . EXPERIENTISSIMO
QVI . ECCLESIA . NEAPOLIATANA . PRIMVM . TVM
PRÆNESTINA . PORTVENSI . OSTIENSI . AC
VELITERNA . SANCTE . DILIGENTER
ADMINISTRATIS . LEGATIONIBVS
PRÆFECTVRISQVE . GRAVISSIMVS
BENE . AC . FELICITER . GESTIS
MAGNO . REIPVBLICÆ . DAMNO
AC . PARI . LVCTV . DECESSIT . IDIBVS . APRILIS
MDCCLXIII
THOMAS . SPINELLVS . FVSCALDI
MARCHIO . FRATRI . AMANTISSIMO . MOERENS
POSVIT .

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