The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius X (1903-1914)
Consistory of April 15, 1907 (III)

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(7) 1. CAVALLARI, Aristide
(1849-1914)

Birth. February 8, 1849, Chioggia, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia .

Education. Studied at the Seminary of Chioggia (first three years of theology); his family moved to Venice; and he attended the Patriarchal Seminary of that cit.

Priesthood. Ordained, September 27, 1872, Venice, by Cardinal Giuseppe Luigi Trevisanato, patriarch of Venice. Pastoral ministry in Venice: S. Elisabetta di Lido, 1872-1880; cooperator in the parish of S. Caciano, 1880-1886; economous and later pastor in Treporti, 1886-188; archpriest of S. Pietro di Castello, 1888-1903. Honorary canon of the cathedral chapter of Venice; synodal examiner; official of patriarchal curia.

Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Filadelfia, with dispensation of degree and retaining the archpriesthood of S. Pietro di Castello, and appointed auxiliary of Venice, August 22, 1903. Consecrated, August 23, 1903, church of the Franciscan Missionaries, in via Giusti, Rome, by Cardinal Francesco Satolli, bishop of Frascati, prefect of S.C. of Studies, assisted by Jeremy James Harty, archbishop of Manila, and by Paolo Maria Barone, titular archbishop of Melitene. Named vicar general of Venice, January 1904. Promoted to the patriarchal see of Venice, April 15, 1904.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Maria in Cosmedin, deaconry elevated pro illa vice to title, April 18, 1907. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV.

Death. November 24, 1914, Venice. Buried, S. Cristoforo chapel, cemetery of S. Michele, Venice. Transferred to the patriarchal cathedral of Venice, November 1957.

Bibliography. Niero, Antonio. I patriarchi di Venezia. Da Lorenzo Giustiniani ai nostri giorni. Venice : Studium Cattolico Veneziano, 1961. (Collana Storica, 3), pp. 205-207.

Link. His photograph, Araldica Vaticana.


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(8) 2. AGUIRRE GARCÍA, O.F.M., Gregorio María
(1835-1913)

Birth. March 12, 1835, Pola de Gordón, diocese of Oviedo, Spain.

Education. Studied at the Seminary of León. Joined the Order of Friars Minor Discalced (1) of Alcántara, at Colegio de Pastrana in May 1856; and professed in 1857.

Priesthood. Ordained, end of September 1859, by Cardinal Cirilo de Alameda y Brea, OFM, archbishop of Toledo. He celebrated his first mass on the following October 4. Faculty member and rector of several theological colleges of his order in Spain and Philippines: lector of philosophy, 1860-1863; and theology, 1863-1879; rector of the schools of Consuegra, 1867-1870; Pastrana, 1870-1876; Almagro, 1878; and Puebla de Montalbán, 1881. Perpetual lector in theology and canon law. Honorary definitor of his order. Penitentiary of patriarchal Lateran Basilica, Rome, 1884; he never took possession of the post.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Lugo, Spain, March 27, 1885. Consecration, June 21, 1885, church of San Fernando, Piarists Fathers, Madrid, by Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, titular archbishop of Eraclea di Europa, nuncio in Spain, assisted by Benito Sanz y Forés, archbishop of Valladolid, and by Tomás Jenaro de Cámara y Castro, O.S.A., bishop of Salamanca. Senator of the Spanish kingdom, 1893-1895, and 1902 until his death. Promoted to metropolitan see of Burgos, May 21, 1894. Apostolic administrator of Calahorra y La Calzada, December 2, 1899.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina, December 19, 1907. Transferred to primatial see of Toledo and patriarchate of West Indies, April 29, 1909. Papal legate to Eucharistic Congress, Madrid, June 5, 1911.

Death. October 10, 1913, in Toledo. Buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Toledo.

Bibliography. Echeverría, Lamberto de. Episcopologio español contemporáneo, 1868-1985 : datos biográficos y genealogía espiritual de los 585 obispos nacidos o consagrados en España entre el 1 de enero de 1868 y el 31 de diciembre de 1985 . Salamanca : Universidad de Salamanca, 1986. (Acta Salmanticensia; Derecho; 45), p. 52; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 163 and 350; Pięta, Zenonem. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen IX (1903-1922). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 2002, p. 9, 23 and 372.

Link. Photographs, Araldica Vaticana.

(1) In 1897 it merged into the Order of Friars Minor.


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(9) 3. RINALDINI, Aristide
(1844-1920)

Birth. February 5, 1844, Montefalco, archdiocese of Spoleto, Italy.

Education. Studied at the Seminary of the Vatican, Rome, 1860-1862; at Almo Collegio Capranica, Rome, 1862-1868; and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in philosophy and licentiate in theology.

Priesthood. Ordained, June 6, 1868, Rome. Secretary of the nunciature in Portugal, 1868-1872. Secretary of the nunciature in Belgium, 1872-1880; chargé d'affaires, 1880-1885; auditor, 1887. Remained in Belgium as a "private agent" after the liberal cabinet of Frère Orban broke diplomatic relations with the Holy See and Nuncio Serafino Vannutelli left for Rome; chargé d'affaires when relations were resumed. Protonotary apostolic ad instar participantium. Internuncio in Holland, August 26, 1887 to 1893 (1). Internuncio in Luxembourg, January 1891. Substitute of the Secretariat of State, May 31, 1893 to 1896.

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Eraclea di Europa, August 14, 1896. Named nuncio in Belgium, August 18, 1896 (3). Consecrated, August 30, 1896, church of S. Agostino, Rome, by Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, secretary of State, assisted by Guglielmo Pifferi, O.S.A., titular bishop of Porfireone, papal sacristan, and by Vincenzo Veneri, bishop of Amelia and cousin of Archbishop Rinaldini. In the same ceremony was consecrated Sebastiano Martinelli, O.E.S.A., titular archbishop of Efeso, apostolic delegate in the United States of America. Named nuncio in Spain, December 28, 1899 (4). Named papal legate for the baptism of the Prince of Asturias, April 6, 1907; the ceremony took place on May 18, 1907.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Pancrazio, December 19, 1907. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, December 2, 1912 until May 25, 1914. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV.

Death. February 10, 1920, Rome (5). Buried, chapel of the chapter of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, Campo Verano cemetery, Rome (6).

Bibliography. "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1922, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1921, p. 66; Daniel, Charles; Paul-Marie Baumgarten; Antoine de Waal. Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église. Paris : Plon, 1900, p. 685; De Marchi, Giuseppe. Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956. Pref. di Antonio Samoré. Roma : Edizioni di Storia e letteratura, 1957, pp. 33, 65, 169, 185 and 239; "Liste des cardinaux par order alphabétique." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1919, Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1920, p. 102; Pięta, Zenonem. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen IX (1903-1922). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 2002, pp. 9 and 24; 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, p. 302.

Link. Photographs and arms, Araldica Vaticana.

(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 302; Daniel, Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église, p. 685, says that he was named on January 11, 1887; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, p. 185, says that he was named on August 11, 1887.
(2) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 302; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, pp. 33 and 169, says that he was named on May 30, 1893.
(3) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 302; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, p. 65; and Daniel, Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église, p. 685, say that he was named on August 14, 1896.
(4) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 302; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, p. 239, says that he was named on November 7, 1899.
(5) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 302; and Pięta, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, IX, 9; this latter source on p. 24 says that he died on February 11, 1920; "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1922, p. 66; and De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, p. 33, say that he died on January 10, 1920.
(6) This is the text of the inscription on his vault, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:

HEIC IN PACE SITVS ES
ARISTIDES RINALDINI
PRESB. CARDINALIS TIT. PANCRATIO
QVI SEDIS APOST. LEGATIONIBVS
BELGICA ET HISPANICA
BENE GESTIS
ROMANAM PVRPVRAM ADEPTVS
EANDEM DIGNIS VIRTVTIBVS ORNAVIT
PIE DEC. ID FEBR. A. MCMXX
ANNOS NATVS LXXVI


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(10) 4. LORENZELLI, Benedetto
(1853-1915)

Birth. May 11, 1853, Badi di Castel di Casio, archdiocese of Bologna, Papal State. Of a family that was originally from Lombardy.

Education. Studied at the Seminary of Bologna (philosophy); and at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum "S. Apollinare", Rome, where he obtained doctorates in philosophy, theology, civil and canon law.

Priesthood. Ordained, April 1, 1876, Bologna. Further studies and professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum "De Propaganda Fide," Rome, 1876-1884. Professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum "S. Apollinare", Rome, 1884-1889. First rector of the Pontifical Bohemian College, Rome, November 1884-1889. Member of the Pontifical Academy "S. Tommaso", Rome, recently reorganized by Pope Leo XIII. Ablegato to bring the red biretta to Cardinal Franziskus von Paula Schönborn, archbishop of Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary, April 3, 1884. Received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Laval, Canada. Privy chamberlain of His Holiness, 1889. Attaché in the nunciature in Austria, April 3, 1889. Referendary prelate of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, June 18, 1890. Internuncio in Holland and Luxembourg, May 30, 1893. Protonotary apostolic, June 10, 1893. Nuncio in Bavaria, October 1, 1896 (1).

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop af Sardes, November 30, 1896. Consecrated, December 8, 1896, church of the Oblates in Tor de' Specchi, Rome, by Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, secretary of State, assisted by Ernesto Respighi, archbishop of Ferrara, and by Lorenzo Passerini, titular archbishop of Tolemaide di Tebaide, vice-camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. Nuncio in France, May 10, 1899 until July 31, 1904, when relations with the Holy See were broken because of the repudiation of the concordat and the separation of Church and State (2). Transferred to the archiepiscopal see of Lucca, November 14, 1904; entered the see on March 25, 1905.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, April 18, 1907. Resigned the pastoral government of the archiepiscopal see, March 26, 1910 (3). Prefect of the S.C. of Studies, February 13, 1914. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV. One of the three cardinal presidents of the Pontifical Academy "S. Tommaso", Rome, together with Cardinals Louis Billot, S.J. and Michele Lega, February 24, 1915.

Death. September 15, 1915, at 11:50 p.m., in his villa in Bucciano, San Miniato. The funeral mass, in private, was celebrated by Carlo Falcini, bishop of S. Miniato, assisted by the clergy of the diocese, in the church of Bucciano, in the morning of September 17, in the presence of the cardinal's family, a representation of the clergy of Lucca, and the mayor of S. Miniato with some of his assessors. By express will of the late cardinal, the burial took place in the chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows, in the cathedral of San Miniato.

Bibliography. Bianchi, G. "Il Cardinale Benedetto Lorenzelli arcivescovo di Lucca." La Provincia di Luca, XI (1971) nn. 2, 3, 4; XII (1972), n. 1; "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1922, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1921, p. 64, no. 9; Daniel, Charles; Paul-Marie Baumgarten; Antoine de Waal. Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église. Paris : Plon, 1900, p. 685; De Marchi, Giuseppe. Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956. Pref. di Antonio Samoré. Roma : Edizioni di Storia e letteratura, 1957, pp. 58, 129 and 169; "Liste des cardinaux par order alphabétique." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique de 1909, Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1910, pp. 142-143; Lenzi, Lenzo. Lotta al modernismo e attivit` pastorali : il card. Lorenzelli arcivescovo a Lucca : 1905-1910. Pisa : ETS, 2002; Nicolai, Umberto. I vescovi di Lucca. Lucca : Tipografia Ricchielli, 1966, 31, no. 107; L'Osservatore Romano [electronic resource]. Città del Vaticano : L'Osservatore Romano, LV, n. 267 (September 17, 1915), p. 2; and LV, n. 58 (September 19, 1915), p. 3; Pięta, Zenonem. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen IX (1903-1922). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 2002, pp. 9, 22 and 230; 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, p. 501; Nicolai, Umberto. I vescovi di Lucca. Lucca : Bicchielli, 1966.

(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 501; and Daniel, Rome; le chef suprême l'organisation et l'administration centrale de l'église, p. 685; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, pp. 58 and 169, says that he was named on October 10, 1896.
(2) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VIII, 501; De Marchi, Le nunziature apostoliche dal 1800 al 1956, p. 129, says that he was named on May 8, 1899.
(3) This is according to Pięta, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, p. 230. Nicolai, I vescovi di Lucca, p. 31, says that he resigned on April 6, 1910,

Link. Photographs, Araldica Vaticana.


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(11) 5. MAFFI, Pietro
(1858-1931)

Birth. October 12, 1858, Corteolona, diocese of Pavia, Lombardy, Austrian Empire (now Italy). Son of Luigi Maffi and Clementina Manenti, who died in 1864; his aunt Carolina cared for Pietro.

Education. Initial studies in Corteolona and Pavia; later, entered the Seminary of Pavia, where he earned a doctorate in theology. In Pavia, he received the tonsure on May 30, 1874; the minor orders of ostiary and lector, May 22, 1875; the other minor orders of exorcist and acolyte, June 10, 1876; the subdiaconate, December 20, 1879; and the diaconate, December 18, 1880.

Priesthood. Ordained, April 16, 1881, Pavia. Professor of philosophy and sciences and rector of Seminary of Pavia. Founder of the meteorological observatory and the museum of natural history of Pavia. Member of the Italian Meteorological Association, May 3, 1892. Editor of Rivista di scienze fisiche e matematiche, 1900; and its director until 1912. Pro-vicar general of Pavia and prosynodal examiner. Doctor honoris causa of theological college of Parma and member supernumerary of its scientific academy. Vicar general of Ravenna and prefect of studies of its seminary, 1901. Privy chamberlain of His Holiness, 1881-1902. Apostolic administrator of Ravenna, April 26, 1902.

Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Cesarea di Mauritania and appointed auxiliary of Ravenna, June 9, 1902. Consecrated, June 11, 1902, basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura, Rome, by Cardinal Lucido Maria Parocchi, bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina, vicar general of Rome and vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, assisted by Felix-Marie de Neckere, titular archbishop of Melitene, and by Diomede Panici, titular archbishop of Laodicea, secretary of the S.C. of Rites. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Pisa, June 22, 1903. Director and administrator of the Vatican observatory, November 30, 1904.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Crisogono, April 18, 1908. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV. Participated in the conclave of 1922, which elected Pope Pius XI. Papal legate to the Eucharistic Congress, Milan, September 10, 1922; to the Eucharistic Congress, Fano, April 4, 1925. Celebrated the marriage ceremony of Crown Prince Umberto of Italy to Princess Marie-Joseph of Belgium, 1930. Named knight of the Ordine Suprema della Santissima Annunziata; knight grand cross of the Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro; and knight grand cross of the Ordine della Corona d'Italia. Authored numerous works of high scientific level in astronomy although the best known of them, Nei cieli: pagine di astronomia popolare, published in 1896, with nine editions and numerous reprints, was of a more popular level.

Death. March 17, 1931, Pisa. Buried in the presbytery of the metropolitan cathedral, Pisa. The Fondazione Casa Cardinale Maffi Onlus, founded in Pisa in the 1970's by Monsignor Pietro Parducci was named after him.

Bibliography. Andreazza, Mario. Alle origini del movimento cattolico pisano : il card. Pietro Maffi e il prof. Giuseppe Toniolo. Pisa : Giardini, 1991; Andreazza, Mario. Pagine di storia pisana. (Il cardinal Maffi e Galileo Galilei). Pisa : Benedinelli, 1969; Il Cardinale Pietro Maffi, arcivescovo di Pisa : primi contributi di ricerca: (tavola rotonda, 18-3-1982). Mario Andreazza ... et al. Pisa: Pacini, 1984, ©1983. (Biblioteca del "Bolletino storico pisano". Collana storica; 26.); Righi, Lorenzo. Una porpora prestigiosa. Fiesole : Tip. A. Sbolci, 1978; Stefanini, Pasquale. Il Cardinale Maffi. Pisa: Giardini Editore, 1958: Togni, Giuseppe. Pietro Maffi. Pisa : Opera della Primaziale di Pisa, 1959; Vaussard, Maurice. L'intelligence catholique dans l'Italie du XXe siecle. Preface par Georges Goyau. Paris : V. Lecoffre, 1921. (Toniolo, Giuseppe, 1845-1918. Meda, Filippo, 1869-1959. Sturzo, Luigi, 1871-1959. Gemelli, Agostino, 1878-1959. Ferrini, Contardo, 1859-1902. Maffi, Pietro, 1858-1931. Borsi, Giosue, 1888-1915. Papini, Giovanni, 1881-1956).

Links. Biography by Filippo Sani, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 67 (2007), Treccani; his photograph and biography, in English, Wikipedia; photographs and portrait, Araldica Vaticana; his portrait, diocese of San Miniato; plaque and bust place in the house where he was born on via Maffi, Corteolona, Chi era Costui; his effigy on a ceramic medallion, Specola di Sapri, via Verdi di fronte n.2 - Sapri, Chi era Costui; Pietro Maffi e la sua biblioteca , Biblioteca Arcivescovile "Cardinale Pietro Maffi" di Pisa; his photograph, taken at Collegio Sant'Arcangelo (Fano) in the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress, before 1931, Wikipedia; his photograph, before 1931, Wikipedia; Via Cardinale Pietro Maffi, Pisa, Toscana, Italia, flickr; Fondazione Casa Cardinale Maffi Onlus, Residenze Socio-Sanitarie, Sanitarie, Riabilitative.


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(12) 6. LUALDI, Alessandro
(1858-1927)

Birth. August 12, 1858, Milan, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, under Austrian rule (now Italy). Fom a middle class family.

Education. Studied at the Seminary of Milan; at the Theological Academy of S. Tommaso d'Aquino, Rome; and at the Seminary Lombardo, Rome, where he earned doctorates in theology, philosophy and canon law.

Priesthood. Ordained, October 30, 1880, Milan. Pastoral ministry in Milan, 1884-1890. Faculty member of the Seminary of Milan, 1890-1894 . Faculty member of the Vatican Seminary and of Collegio Leonino, Rome. Rector of Collegio Lombardo, Rome, 1894-1904. Privy chamberlain, September 14, 1899. Socius of the Roman Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas and of the Theological Academy of Milan. Domestic prelate, January 7, 1904.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Palermo, November 14, 1904. Consecrated, December 4, 1904, church of S. Carlo al Corso, Rome, by Cardinal Francesco di Paola Cassetta, protector of Collegio Lombardo, assisted by Nicolò Audino, bishop of Mazzara del Valle, and by Mario Sturzo, bishop of Piazza Armerina.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio, April 18, 1907. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV. Participated in the conclave of 1922, which elected Pope Pius XI. Papal legate to the 8th centennial celebrations of Sant'Agata, Catania, July 27, 1926.

Death. November 12, 1927, Palermo. Buried under the pavement of the chapel of S. Rosalia, in the metropolitan cathedral of Palermo (1).

Links. Photograph and biography, in Italian, Wikipedia; photographs and biography by Eman Bonnici, in English, Finda Grave; His photograph and arms, Araldica Vaticana; his portrait by Onofrio Tomaselli, Sala Azzurra, Museo Diocesano di Palermo.

(1) This is the text of the inscription on the tiles beneath which he is buried, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:

ALEXANDRO PRESB. CARD. LVALDI
HIC IN PACE CHRISTI QUIESCIT

A funeral monument erected upon his vault has the following inscription:

ALEXANDRO CAR. ARCHIEP. LVALDI
QUI D. URBIS PATRONAE
ENIXE CULTUM PROVEXIT
PRUDENTIA CARITATE TH. DISCIPLINIS
PRAESTITIT
PANORMITANA DIOCESIS
AN. REP. SAL. MCXXXVII


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(13) 7. MERCIER, Desiré
(1851-1926)

Birth. November 21, 1851, château du Castegier, Braine-l'Alleud, archdiocese of Mechelen, Belgium. Fifth of the seven children of Paul-Léon Mercier and Anne-Marie Barbe Croquet. His baptismal name was Desiré-Félicien-François-Joseph. Three of his sisters became nuns and a brother, Léon, a physician.

Education. Studied catechism and elementary Latin in Braine-l'Alleud under Abbé Oliviers; Collège Saint-Rombaut, Mechele November 1863-1868 (classical studies); Minor Seminary of Mechelen, Mechelen, October 1, 1868-1870; Grand Seminary of Mechelen, Mechelen, October 1, 1870-1874 (philosophy and theology); received the ecclesiastical tonsure in the chapel of the seminary on the Octave of Pentecost 1871, from Charles André Anthonis, titular bishop of Costantina, headmaster of the seminary and auxiliary of Mechelen; temporary dean at the minor seminary, January 19, 1873 to the end of that academic year; University of Louvain, Louvain (licentiate in theology, July 1877; doctorate in philosophy); Dr. J.C. Charcot Clinic, Paris (courses in psychology).

Priesthood. Ordained, Holy Saturday April 4, 1874, Brussels, chapel of the papal nunciature, by Giacomo Cattani, titular archbishop of Ancira, nuncio in Belgium, assisted by Msgr. Vincenzo Vannutelli, auditor of the nunciature, future cardinal; Cardinal Victor-Auguste-Isidore Dechamps, C.SS.R., archbishop of Mechelen, was not free on that day and was not able to confer the ordination. Further studies, 1874-1877. Professor of philosophy and spiritual director of the Minor Seminary of Mechelen, 1877-1882. He was granted the doctorate in theology by apostolic brief of Pope Leo XIII, September 26, 1882. Professor of philosophy at the University of Louvain, 1882-1905. Domestic prelate of His Holiness, May 6, 1887. Director of the Superior Institute of Theology, University of Louvain, November 8, 1889 until 1892. President of Leo XIII Seminary, Mechelen, July 27, 1892 until 1906. Honorary canon of the cathedral chapter of Mechelen, August 12, 1882. Founded Revue Néoscolastique in Mechelen in 1894; he was its editor until 1906.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Mechelen, February 7, 1906. Consecrated, March 25, 1906, metropolitan cathedral of Saint-Rombaut, Mechelen, by Antonio Vico, titular archbishop of Filippi, nuncio in Belgium.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 15, 1907; received the red hat and the title of S. Pietro in Vincoli, April 18, 1907. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV. Because of the exile of King Albert I and his government during the First World War, he was Belgium's wartime resistance leader acting as the focal point of opposition to the German occupation. Founder of the International Union of Social Studies, 1920. Under his direction, the Social Code of Mechelen was published in 1920. Organized "Mechelen Conversations," ecumenical reunions with Anglican leaders, 1921-1926 (1). Participated in the conclave of 1922, which elected Pope Pius XI. He opposed the emancipation of the Flemish movement. Promoter of the Neo-Thomist philosophy. He suffered from persistent dyspepsia, and in early January 1926, underwent surgery for a lesion of the stomach. During surgery, the anaesthetized cardinal even held a conversation with his surgeon. During his final illness, he was visited by King Albert and Queen Elizabeth, as well as by Lord Halifax, other personalities, and family members.

Death. January 23, 1926, after the operation, he entered a deep coma, around 2:00 pm., and died an hour later, in Brussels. Buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Mechelen.

Bibliography. Aubert, Roger ; Hendrickx, Jean-Pierre ; Pirotte, Jean ; Courtois, Luc. Le Cardinal Mercier (1851-1926) : un prélat d'avant-garde : publications du professeur Roger Aubert rassemblées ` l'occasion de ses 80 ans. Louvain-la-Neuve : Academia : Presses universitaires de Louvain, 1994; Baeuduin, Edouard. Le Cardinal Mercier. Tournai : Castermon, 1966. Boileau, David A. Cardinal Mercier: a memoir. Leuven : Peeters, 1996; Gade, John. The life of Cardinal Mercier. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935; Goyau, Georges. Cardinal Mercier. London : Longmans, Green, and Co., Ltd., 1926; Hauke, Manfred. Maria, "Mittlerin aller Gnaden" : die universale Gnadenmittlerschaft Mariens im theologischen und seelsorglichen Schaffen von Kardinal Mercier (1851-1926). Regensburg : Friedrich Pustet, 2004. (Mariologische Studien ; Bd. 17). Contents: Die Aktualität des Themas -- Die "Initialzündung" der Bewegung für eine dogmatische Definition der universalen Gnadenmittlerschaft Mariens -- Die geistige Vorbereitung im Gefolge des Immaculata-Dogmas von 1854 -- Der geistliche Impuls von Mutter Magdalena (Palmyre Ryckaert) -- Der Lebensweg Merciers vor der Ernennung zum Erzbischof -- Die Bedeutung des Ersten Weltkriegs -- Die Spannung zum Ökumenismus der Mechelner Gespräche -- Die marianischen Initiativen Kardinal Merciers -- Der Ausgang der Initiativen Merciers -- Ergebnis; Mercier, Désiré. Mémorial jubilaire du Cardinal Mercier, 1874-1924. Anvers : V. Van Dieren, 1924. Note : "Essai de bibliographie des oeuvres du Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier" (p. 117-130); Mercier, Desiré. The voice of Belgium; being the war utterances of Cardinal Mercier. London : Burns and Oates, [1977]; Meseberg-Haubold, Ilse. Der Widerstand Kardinal Merciers gegen die deutsche Besetzung Belgiens, 1914-1918 : ein Beitrag zur politischen Rolle des Katholizimus im ersten Weltkrieg. Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang, 1982. (Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe III, Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften ; Bd. 176 ; Publications universitaires européennes. Série III, Histoire, sciences auxiliaires de l'histoire ; vol. 176 ; European university studies. Series III, History and allied studies ; vol. 176; Variation: Europäische Hochschulschriften.; Reihe III ; Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften ; Bd. 176); Simon, Alois. Position philosophique du Cardinal Mercier: esquisse psychologique. Bruxelles : Palais des Académies, 1962.

Links. Biography, in English (Britannica); biography, in German; brief biographical data, in French, fifth entry on page; his portrait, bust, statue and brief biographical data, in Flemish; his role in WWI, in English; biography in Spanish; his portrait by Cecilia Beaux, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., United States of America; his image on a postal stamp and brief biographical data, in French; his image in another postal stamp from Belgium; his image on a stained-glass window, Bapst Library Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; his tomb in Saint-Rumbold's Cathedral, Mechelen, Belgium; and his arms, Araldica Vaticana.

(1) A series of conversations between prominent Roman Catholic and Anglican figures. The conversations were held between 1921 and 1926 in Malines, Belgium, under the presidency of Cardinal Mercier, at the instigation of Charles Lindley Wood, second viscount Halifax. Wood published the results in 1928 and 1930. All the conversations after the first took place with the knowledge of the pope and the archbishop of Canterbury. A wide range of agreements was reached on papal primacy of honor, real presence, eucharistic sacrifice, episcopacy, etc., which foreshadow the current discussions of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). The conversations were held in in the archiepiscopal palace of Malines in 1921, 1923, 1925 and 1926, and also took part, for the Catholic Church, Msgr. Joseph Ernest van Roey, future cardinal; Ferdinand Étienne Portal, president of the Mission; Hyppolite Hemmer; Msgr. Pierre-Henri Batiffol; and for the Anglican Church, Walter Howard Frere, R.C.; Charles Gore, bishop; and Benjamin Kidd.

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