Antonio Innocenti

Antonio Innocenti (23 August 1915 – 6 September 2008) was an Italian Cardinal who was a leading figure in the Roman Curia and the Vatican diplomatic service for many years.

Antonio Innocenti
President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed1 July 1991
Term ended16 December 1995
PredecessorPaul Augustin Mayer
SuccessorAngelo Felici
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Aquiro pro hac vice (1996-2008)
Ordination17 July 1938
by Giovanni Giorgis
Consecration18 February 1968
by Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Created cardinal25 May 1985
by Pope John Paul II
RankCardinal-Deacon (1985-96)
Cardinal-Priest (1996-2008)
Personal details
Birth nameAntonio Innocenti
Born23 August 1915
Poppi, Fiesole, Kingdom of Italy
Died6 September 2008(2008-09-06) (aged 93)
Piazza della Città Leonina 9, Vatican City
Previous post
Alma materPontifical Gregorian University
Pontifical Lateran University
Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
MottoLucet spero fide
Styles of
Antonio Innocenti
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeAeclanum (titular see)


Cardinal Innocenti's grave in Tosi.

He was born at Poppi, Italy. Ordained in 1938 at Florence, Innocenti was studied at the Episcopal Seminary of Fiesole, the Pontifical Gregorian University where he received a doctorate in 1941, the Pontifical Lateran University, where he received a licentiate in dogmatic theology in 1950, and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, where he studied diplomacy.[1] He served as a priest in northern Italy for the decade following his ordination. His work helping Jews led to his arrest and almost being shot by a firing squad; he was released at the last minute. He was then called to Rome by Pope Pius XII and settled on a career in the Curia. He served for most of the 1950s and 1960s in the Papal Nunciature in Switzerland, where, as he saw it, the major problems were "an opulent society, religious assistance to immigrants and relations with Christian of other denominations".

On 15 December 1967, Pope Paul VI named him Titular Archbishop of Eclano and Apostolic Nuncio to Paraguay. He was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments (now the Congregation for Divine Worship) until 1980, when he became Nuncio to Spain.

In 1985, Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal,[citation needed] and on 9 January 1986 appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy,[2] a post he held until his retirement in 1991 During Innocenti's time as Prefect, the Curia was extremely busy dealing with what was perceived as dangerous dissent from papal teaching, and Innocenti was heavily involved with many lay movements designed to restore orthodoxy among the Church's members.

By 1999 he had retired to Piazza della Citta Leonina.


  1. ^ Miranda, Salvatore (2014). "Biographical Directory: Innocenti, Antonio". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). LXXVIII. 1986. p. 210. Retrieved 31 August 2019.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Luigi Dadaglio
Apostolic Nuncio to Spain
4 October 1980 – 9 January 1986
Succeeded by
Mario Tagliaferri
Preceded by
Silvio Oddi
Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy
Succeeded by
José Tomás Sánchez
Preceded by
Paul Mayer
President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Succeeded by
Angelo Felici