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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 10.02.2004]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


ROSSI Card. Opilio




Cardinal Opilio Rossi, President emeritus of the Commission of Cardinals for the Pontifical Sanctuaries of Pompei, Loreto and Bari, was born on 14 May 1910 in New York.

He was ordained priest for the diocese of Piacenza (Italy) on 11 March 1933. Following ordination he was sent to Rome and obtained a doctorate in canon law at the Institute of San Apollinare.

Following courses at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he was called to work in the Secretariat of State.

In 1938 he was transferred to the Apostolic Nunciature in Brussels and in the following year to the Nunciature in the Hague. He remained in the Netherlands until the Nazi invasion. From 1940 to 1945 he was assigned to the Nunciature in Berlin. At the end of World War II he returned to the Hague to resume his work in the Nunciature.

In 1948 he was assigned to the III Pontifical Mission in Germany and following the missionís elevation to the rank of Nunciature, he was nominated counselor.

On 21 November 1953 he was elected titular archbishop of Ancira and consecrated on 27 December 1953. He served subsequently as Apostolic Nuncio in Ecuador and in Chile before being transferred to Austria in 1961. During his 15 years in Vienna, he was responsible for giving a new impulse to the relations between Austria and the Holy See, particularly in the agreements concerning religious education in state schools.

President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity (1976-1984) and of the Committee for the Family (1976-1981).

President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, 5 December 1983 until 1990.

President of the Commission of Cardinals for the Pontifical Sanctuaries of Pompei, Loreto and Bari, 8 April 1984 until 14 September 1993.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 24 May 1976, on the Title of St. Lawrence in Lucina.

Cardinal Opilio Rossi died on 9 February 2004.



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