The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius VII (1800-1823)
Consistory of March 26, 1804 (VIII)
Celebrated in the Quirinale Palace, Rome


(40) 1. OPPIZZONI, Carlo (1769-1855)

Birth. April 15, 1769, Milan. Of a patrician family. Son of Count Francesco Oppizzoni and Marchioness Paola Trivulzio. His last name is also listed as Opizzoni and Oppizoni.

Education. Studied at the University of Pavia, where he earned doctorates in theology and canon law on June 7, 1790.

Priesthood. Ordained, May 25, 1793. Archpriest of the cathedral chapter of Milan, 1799. In the Congress of Lyon, gathered to systematize the conditions of the church in the territory of the Cisalpine Republic, successfully defended the rights of the church. Declined the appointment to the see of Milan.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Bologna, September 20, 1802; received the pallium on that same day. Consecrated, Tuesday September 21, 1802, church of S. Carlo ai Catinari, Rome, by Cardinal Giovanni Filippo Gallarati Scotti, assisted by Pietro Gravina, titular archbishop of Nicea, nuncio in Switzerland, and by Benedetto Fenaja, titular archbishop of Filippi, vice-gerent of Rome.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of March 26, 1804; received the red hat, May 24, 1804; and the title of S. Bernardo alle Terme, May 28, 1804. Named by Emperor Napoléon I Bonaparte senator of the Italian Kingdom and member of the Order of the Iron Crown, 1808; used the posts to restore the rights and prestige of the church before the political authority. For his refusal to attend the marriage ceremonies of Emperor Napoléon I Bonaparte and Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria on April 2, 1810, he and twelve other cardinals were deprived of their property and of their cardinalitial dignity and compelled to wear black garments, whence their name of "black cardinals". He returned to Bologna on July 28, 1815. Participated in the conclave of 1823, which elected Pope Leo XII. Archchancellor of the Pontifical University of Bologna, 1824. Participated in the conclave of 1829, which elected Pope Pius VIII. Participated in the conclave of 1830-1831, which elected Pope Gregory XVI. Legate a latere in the four provinces of the Metauro, Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì and Ravenna, March 14, 1831; resigned, May 31, 1831. Opted for the title of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, July 8, 1839. Cardinal protoprete. Participated in the conclave of 1846, which elected Pope Pius IX. The events of the Risorgimento, the revolution of 1831, and the anti-Austrian revolt of 1848 showed Cardinal Oppizzoni's moderation and his affection for Bologna. Supporting the citizens of Bologna during the uprisings of 1848, he intervened several times to avoid irreparable consequences.

Death. April 13, 1855. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Bologna; and buried in front of the chapel of S. Carlo in that cathedral (1).

Bibliography. Boutry, Philippe Souverain et Pontife : recherches prosopographiques sur la curie romaine à l'âge de la restauration, 1814-1846. Rome : École française de Rome, 2002, pp. 435-436; LeBlanc, Jean. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle : contribution à l'histoire du Sacré Collège sous les pontificats de Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 691-693; Meluzzi, Luciano. I vescovi e gli arcivescovi di Bologna. Bologna : Grafica Emiliana, 1975. (Collana storico-ecclesiastica, 3), pp. 497-504; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp.10, 40, 42 and 114-115.

Links. Biography, in Italian; his portrait, Rettorato, Sala del Consiglio, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; his portrait, Carthusian monastery, Bologna; eight engravings, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; two engravings, Bildarchiv der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving by Carlo Antonini, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana; his bust by Cincinnato Baruzzi, via Irnerio 42, Bologna; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; and his effigy on another medal while he was legate in the Four Legations, 1831.

(1) In the south side of the nave between the first pillar and the sanctuary, in front of the chapel of S. Carlo Borromeo; the memorial tablet is on the floor. This is the text of the inscription, provided by Mr. Mark West, London, England:

HIC SITUS EST
KAROLUS OPPIZZONIUS
PROTOPRESBYTER CARDINALIS
TITULO LAVRENTIO IN LUCINA
DOMO MEDIOLANO
PATRICIUS PAPIENSIS
ARCHIEPISCOPO BONONIAE
QUI VIXIT ANNOS LXXXVI
IN PONTIFICATU AN. LIII
OBIIT IDIBUS APRILIS
AN. MDCCCLV
TE CHRISTUS IN PACE

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Note. The pope created and reserved in pectore one cardinal in this consistory. He died before his name was ever published.

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