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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 14.06.2008]


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


BIFFI Card. Giacomo

© Gregorz Galazka



Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna, was born on 13 June 1928 in Milan, Italy. He did his studies at the seminaries of the archdiocese of Milan. He received a doctorate in theology from the Faculty of Theology at Venegono. His thesis was entitled La colpa e la libertà nell’odierna condizione umana.

He was ordained priest on 23 December 1950 in Milan. He taught dogmatic theology at seminaries in Milan and published numerous prestigious works on theology, catechetics and meditation.

He served as parish priest at the Parish of the Ss. Martiri Anauniani in Legnano, a populated community of labourers. Nine years later, he was transferred to Milan, to the Parish of St. Andrea, where he stayed for 6 years during which he created the first Parochial Pastoral Council. He was the canon theologian of the metropolitan chapter and episcopal vicar for culture.

On 7 December 1975 he was nominated titular Bishop of Fidene and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Milan. He received episcopal ordination on 11 January 1976. He founded and directed the Pastoral Institute of Lombardy.

On 19 April 1984 John Paul II called him from Milan where he was Auxiliary to lead the Church of Bologna after the sudden death of Archbishop Enrico Manfredini.

During Lent of 1989 he was called to preach the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia in which Pope John Paul II took part. Once again, during Lent of 2007 he preached the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop emeritus of Bologna, 16 December 2003.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 25 May 1985, of the Title of Ss. Giovanni Evangelista e Petronio (Sts. John the Evangelist and Petronius).

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