Cardinal Pio Laghi

Cardinal Pio Laghi

Birth
Castiglione, Provincia di Forli, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Death 10 Jan 2009 (aged 86)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Faenza, Provincia di Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Memorial ID 155781583 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Cardinal. One of the top Vatican diplomats during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, Pio Laghi was the youngest of five children born to a poor family, aided economically at times by the parish priests of the locality. Raised in Faenza, where he received his early studies and was employed as an assistant in a barber's shop, he entered seminary in Forlì, being successively sent to Rome to further his studies at the Pontifical Roman Seminary, the Pontifical Lateran University and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. Ordained priest in Faenza on April 20, 1946, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1952. Attaché in the nunciature in Nicaragua, he was named secretary and later auditor in the apostolic delegation in the United States of America and successively auditor of the nunciaute in India before being named official in the Council of Affairs of the Church in 1964. Forming part of the delegation of the Holy See to the conference of the United Nations on human rights held in Teheran, Iran, in May 1968, Laghi was elected archbishop of the titular see of Mauriana and appointed apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine by Pope Paul VI on May 24 of the following year, receiving his episcopal consecration on June 22 of that year in Faenza from Cardinal Amleto Giovanni Cicognani. Named pro-nuncio in Cyprus and apostolic visitor to Greece on May 28, 1973, he was transferred to the nunciature of Argentina on April 27, 1974, which tenure coincided with the worst period of the military dictatorship in what remains known as the "dirty war". To this day, many believe that the Church hierarchy supported the generals in their misrule with Laghi himself turning a blind eye to the murder and vanishing of thousands, whom history recalls as the "desaparecidos". Appointed apostolic delegate in the United States of America and permanent observer to the Organization of American States with title of nuncio 'ad personam' on December 10, 1980, he became pro-nuncio in the United States of America when diplomatic relations were established on March 26, 1984. A firm believer in the collapse of the Soviet bloc, he was the vital link between the White House under the then President Ronald Reagan and the Vatican. Named pro-prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education on April 6, 1990, Laghi was created cardinal deacon by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of June 28, 1991 with the deaconry of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Via Tuscolana. Appointed prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and grand chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University three days later, he was named president of the Pontifical Oratory of St. Peter on December 5, 1992 and patronus of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta on May 8 of the following year. Becoming cardinal protodeacon on January 9, 1999, he resigned the prefecture on November 15, 1999. Opting for the order of cardinal priests and the title of San Pietro in Vincoli on February 26, 2002, he acted as special Papal envoy to Israeli and Palestinian authorities in May 2001 encouraging immediate cease-fire and on March 1, 2003 to US President George W. Bush, explaining the Holy See's position hoping to contribute to the disarmament and peace in the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, urbane, witty, always conscious of his dignity but easily approachable, he remained an active observer of international affairs to the end. Recovered at the San Carlo di Nancy hospital in Rome due to a hematologic disease, the Cardinal succumbed to cardio-vascular insufficiency, having received a visit from Msgr. Georg Ganswein, personal secretary to Pope Benedict XVI three days earlier. In accordance with his wishes, his body lies interred inside the cathedral of Faenza.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici


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  • Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 6 Dec 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 155781583
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Cardinal Pio Laghi (21 May 1922–10 Jan 2009), Find a Grave Memorial no. 155781583, citing Cattedrale di Faenza, Faenza, Provincia di Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ; Maintained by Eman Bonnici (contributor 46572312) .