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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 02.04.2009]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


BETTI Card. Umberto, O.F.M.


Cardinal Umberto Betti, O.F.M., former Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, was born on 7 March 1922 at Pieve Santo Stefano, dicese of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy. He made his perpetual profession in the Order of Friars Minor on 31 December 1943 and was ordained a priest on 6 April 1946. He holds a doctorate in dogmatic theology.

In 1964, following a year’s specialization at Louvain, he was named professor of theology at what is now known as the Pontifical Antonianum University (1964-1991). He was also Dean of the theology faculty (1966-1969) and Rector Magnificent (1975-1978). From 1964 to 1995, he belonged to the Fraternity of the International College of Saint Anthony.

In 1961 he was a consultor to the Preparatory Theological Commission for the Second Vatican Council and in 1963 he took part as an expert. He collaborated on the Dogmatic Constitutions Lumen Gentium and Dei verbum.

In 1964 he served in the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office; in 1968 he was consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1984 to the Secretariat of State and in 1988 to the Congregation for Bishops.

He was Rector Magnificent of the Pontifical Lateran University from 1991 to 1995, when he was sent to La Verna.

In 1995 Pope John Paul II conferred the Croce pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of Santi Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia (Sts. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia).

Cardinal Umberto Betti, O.F.M., died on 1 April 2009.


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