Angelo Sodano

Angelo Sodano

Angelo Sodano (born 23 November 1927) is the Dean of the College of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church. He was the Cardinal Secretary of State in the Roman Curia from 1991 to 2006, now holding the title of Cardinal Secretary Emeritus of State. Sodano was first appointed Secretary of State by Pope John Paul II and then reappointed by Pope Benedict XVI. In April 2005 he succeeded Benedict as Dean of the College of Cardinals. He was the first person to serve simultaneously as Dean and Secretary of State since 1828.

On 22 June 2006 it was announced that Benedict XVI, in accordance with Canon 354 of the Code of Canon Law, had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Sodano as Secretary of State, effective 15 September 2006. He was succeeded by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Early life

A native of Isola d'Asti (province of Asti, Piedmont, Italy), he was ordained a priest there on 23 September 1950 by Bishop Umberto Rossi. He served as a parish priest doing pastoral work in the diocese of Asti and faculty member of its seminary from 1950 until 1959. In 1959 he moved to Rome and entered the direct service of the Holy See, serving as a secretary of nunciatures in Latin America, and achieving the title of monsignor (he was named a chaplain of His Holiness the day Pope Paul VI was elected) before becoming an official of the Curial Council for Public Affairs of the Church in 1968.

Apostolic nuncio

On 30 November 1977, he was appointed a titular archbishop of "Nova Caesaris" and the apostolic nuncio to Chile, one of the countries where he had served as nunciature secretary. Whilst serving as nuncio, he began a lasting friendship with the then President Augusto Pinochet, and was criticized by progressives in subsequent years for not speaking out about the disappearances in Chile. He returned to Asti in 1978 to be consecrated a bishop (by Cardinal Antonio Samorè) before taking up his post.

1987 demanded 7 catholic priests Sodano's recall from office.Siehe [{e635c013-5037-4e40-9d8a-ccd277c32645} Sodano, el contacto de Chile en el Vaticano] in El Mercurio on 21 November 2004, retrieved 22. September 2008:«…siete sacerdotes a principios del año 87 enviaron una carta al Vaticano pidiendo su destitución y denunciando su "cercanía con el régimen militar"…»] . Also his part by the jointly appearance of the Papst and Pinochet in the balkony of La Moneda, used by the dictator as publicity, displayed him more as supporter than as detractor of the regime.

On 27 December 1998 wrote Sodano a letter to the British prime minister Tony Blair demanding the release of Pinochets from prison.

Cardinal Secretary of State

He returned to Rome in 1988 as Secretary of the Council For Public Affairs of the Church, which in 1989 became the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. (The occupant of this post is sometimes informally called the "Vatican foreign minister"). He became Pro-Secretary of State 1 December 1990, and full Secretary of State once he had been named a cardinal (with the title of "S. Maria Nuova") in the consistory of 28 June 1991. He was created Cardinal Priest of "S. Maria Nuova" on 28 June 1991. infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Angelo Sodano
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Albano (suburbicarian), Ostia (suburbicarian)|
On 10 January 1994, Pope John Paul II named him Cardinal Bishop of the suburbicarian see of Albano, and on 30 November 2002, exactly twenty-five years after he was first appointed a bishop, he was elected vice-dean of the College of Cardinals in succession to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Dean. With Ratzinger's election as Pope Benedict XVI Sodano performed the functions of the Dean at Benedict's Papal Inauguration, and on 30 April Benedict formally ratified Sodano's election to the position by the six suburbicarian Cardinal Bishops.

As Secretary of State, and due to the deteriorating health of John Paul II, it was Cardinal Sodano who was the principal celebrant at the funeral Masses for Cardinal John O'Connor and Mother Teresa. When he turned 75 in 2002 John Paul specifically invited him to stay on as Secretary of State, though this is the customary retirement age for heads of major Vatican departments (there is no retirement age for the Deanship or Vice-Deanship). He was close to John Paul II, although he caused controversy near the end of John Paul's papacy by suggesting the pontiff could consider retiring. Sodano speaks Italian as well as German and English.

Papal Conclave of 2005

After the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005 Sodano was seldom seen as one of the "papabili", or the cardinals likely to become the next pope, due to his advanced age (although he is seven months younger than John Paul's successor, Benedict XVI) and his lack of experience outside the Roman Curia. Sodano was, however, one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

During the interregnum of 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served as Dean of the College of Cardinals. Because Cardinal Ratzinger was himself elected to the papacy, Sodano had to fulfil the functions of the Dean in his capacity as Vice-Dean. This included asking Cardinal Ratzinger if he accepted his canonical election as Supreme Pontiff, and what name the new pope would take. At the Inauguration Mass, Sodano brought the fisherman's ring to the newly installed Benedict XVI.

Upon the death of John Paul, Sodano's position as Secretary of State expired. Although Cardinal Sodano was past the customary retirement age he was reappointed to the position by Benedict XVI on 21 April 2005. On April 27, 2005 he was elected dean of the College of Cardinals. Three days later Pope Benedict XVI conferred upon him the title of the suburbicarian see of Ostia, proper of the dean, adding it to the title of the see of Albano and the title of S. Maria Nuova, held by him "in commendam" after the promotion to the rank of Cardinal Bishop.

On 22 June 2006, Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to replace Sodano as the Secretary of State. Bertone assumed the new office on 15 September 2006. Sodano turned 80 on November 23, 2007, and is ineligible to participate in any future conclaves.

ee also

*List of national leaders

External links

* [ Cardinal Sodano - "Look Upwards"]

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