Birth. July 3, 1811, Avella, diocese of Nola, Kingdom of Sicily. Son of Bartolomeo D'Avanzo, a physician, and Caterina Buvelli. he family had three children. His last name is also listed as Avanzo only.
Education. Studied at the Seminary of Nola; at the Royal University of Naples, where he obtained a doctorate in theology on September 28, 1842. Received the sacrament of confirmation, the insignias of the clerical character, and the minor orders on June 13, 1829.
Priesthood. Ordained, September 20, 1834. In the diocese of Nola, professor of dogmatic theology and Hebrew of its seminary; collaborator of the periodical La Scienza e la Fede; canon of its cathedral chapter; prosynodal examiner and judge; revisor of books and moral cases; visited the entire diocese; secretary of Accademia di Religione Cattolica.
Episcopate. Elected bishop of Castellaneta, March 18, 1851. Consecrated, March 28, 1851, in the church of Ss. XII Apostoli, Rome, by Cardinal Costantino Patrizi, bishop of Albano, assisted by Antonio Ligi Bussi, titular archbishop of Iconio, vice-gerent of Rome, and by Vincenzo Tizzani, former bishop of Terni. His episcopal motto was Usque ad perfectam diem. Transferred to the see of Calvi e Teano, July 13, 1860. Apostolic administrator of Castellaneta e Mottola, 1860-1863. Victim of an attempt on his life, August 13, 1860; one of the bullets hit his pectoral cross and thus saved him from what would have been a fatal wound. Because of the attempt and the political situation, sectarianism and anticlericalism of the time, could not return to his diocese and resided in the Capuchin convent in Sorrento until 1867. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, November 13, 1866. Participated in the First Vatican Council, 1869-1870.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 3, 1876; received the title of S. Susanna, April 7, 1876; and the red hat, March 15, 1877. Member of the SS. CC. of Bishops and Regulars, Propaganda Fide for the Affairs of the Oriental Church, Index, Rites, Indulgences and Sacred Relics, and Studies. Participated in the conclave of 1878, which elected Pope Leo XIII.
Death. October 20, 1884, at 3 a.m., Avella. Exposed collegiate church of S. Giovanni Battista, Avella, and buried in his family's tomb, cemetery of Avella.
Bibliography. "Cardinali defunti." La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1903, p. 180; 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. 285-287; L'Osservatore Romano [electronic resource]. Città del Vaticano : L'Osservatore Romano, XXIV, n. 242 (October 21, 1884), p. 3; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 21, 53, 174 and 190.
Links. Biography, in Italian, no. 81, Cattedrale Romanica sec.XI, diocese di Teano-Calvi; his portrait, diocese di Teano-Calvi; his photograph and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
Birth. April 15, 1816, Aldein (or Aldino), diocese of Trent, Sudtirol, Austria. Of a poor family. Son of Pellegrino Franzelin and Anna Wieser.
Education. Franciscan Gymnasium, Bozano. Entered the Society of Jesus, July 27, 1834, novitiate of Graz. Higher studies and teaching in Tarnapol and Lemberg, Austrian Poland; Collegio Romano, Rome (theology, 1845); Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; had to leave because of the 1848 Revolution; Clifford Castle, Ugbrook, Devonshire, England.
Priesthood. Ordained, December 23, 1849, Le Puy, France. Professor of dogma, and lecturer on Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldean, Collegio Romano, 1850-1853; prefect of studies, Collegio Germanico, 1853-1857; and later, dogmatic theology, Collegio Romano, 1857-1876. Consultor of the S.C. of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, April 23, 1869. Papal theologian in the First Vatican Council, 1869-1870; made a considerable contribution to the drafting of the constitution "De fide catholica". Consultor of the SS.CC. of Propaganda Fide, Tridentine Council, Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, and qualificatore of the Holy Office. Highly recognized theologian who published extensively.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 3, 1876; received the title of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio, April 7, 1876; and the red hat, March 15, 1877 (1). Participated in the conclave of 1878, which elected Pope Leo XIII. Prefect of the S.C. of Indulgences and Relics, March 28, 1885.
Death. December 11, 1886, in Rome; on his deathbed, he was assisted by Father Peter Jan Beckx, superior general of the Society of Jesus. Exposed in the church of S. Bernardo alle Terme, Rome; and buried in the chapel of the Society of Jesus, in Campo Verano cemetery, Rome. On the occasion of the centennial of his death, his remains were exhumed and transferred to the parish church of his native Aldein, where he was laid to rest on May 19, 1986 (2).
Bibliography. Bonavenia, Giuseppe. Raccolta di memorie intorno alla vita dell' Emo Cardinale Giovanni Battista Franzelin della Compagnia di Gesù. Roma : Propaganda Fide, 1887; "Cardinali defunti." La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1903, p. 183; Lana, Arnaldo. "Franzelin, Giovanni Battista." Enciclopedia Cattolica, 12 vols. Città del Vaticano: Ente per l'Enciclopedia Cattolica e per il Libro Cattolico, 1949-1954, vol. V, cols. 1700-1701; Massimino, Domenico. L'apporto di Giovanni Battista Franzelin all'ecclesiologia del Concilio Vaticano I. Roma : Pontificia Università Lateranense, 1992; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 21 and 47; Walsh, Nicholas. John Baptist Franzelin, S.J. : Cardinal priest of the title S.S. Boniface and Alexius, a study and a sketch. Dublin : M.H. Gill and Son, 1895; Walter, Peter. Johann Baptist Franzelin : (1816-1886) : Jesuit, Theologe, Kardinal : ein Lebensbild. Bozen [Italy] : Verlagsanstalt Athesia, 1987; Weber, Christoph. Kardinäle und Prälaten in den letzten Jahrzehnten des Kirchenstaates : Elite-Rekrutierung, Karriere-Muster u. soziale Zusammensetzung d. kurialen Führungsschicht zur Zeit Pius' IX. (1846-1878). Stuttgart : Hiersemann, 1978. (Päpste und Papsttum; Bd. 13, I-II), II, 467-468, 747, 749 and 763.
Links. Biography, in English; biography, in German; and another biography, in German.
(1) Despite his protests, he was promoted to the cardinalate. This dignity made almost no change in his scrupulously simple and laborious life. He continued his use of poor garments, occupying two bare rooms in the Jesuit novitiate of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale. He rose every morning at four and spent the time till seven in devotional exercises, always hearing mass after saying his own. He fasted every Saturday, and toward the end of his days, Friday also, besides using other forms of corporal penance. Though of delicate heath, he had always been a constant and most laborious worker, never allowing himself any long recreation during his long years of poor health, severe toils, and painful scruples, save the short recreation after dinner and supper. As a cardinal, his sole departure from strict adherence to the Jesuit rule was to omit the daily recreation. Moreover, though constantly engaged as prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences and Relics, and consultor of several other Roman congregations, he steadily refused the aid of a secretary. His entire income as cardinal he distributed among the poor, the foreign missions, and convents whose property had been seized by the Italian government
(2) This is the text of the inscription on the marble monument atop his tomb, kindly provided by Eman Bonicci, from Malta:
©1998-2015 Salvador Miranda.