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Crescenzio Sepe (born 2 June 1943) is an Italian Cardinal and Archbishop of Naples. He was Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 2001 to 2006.[1] Earlier, he served as a priest in Italy and a diplomat in Brazil.

Crescenzio Sepe
Archbishop of Naples
Crescenzio Sepe.jpg
Appointed20 May 2006
Installed1 July 2006
PredecessorMichele Giordano
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Dio Padre misericordioso
Ordination12 March 1967
by Antonio Cece
Consecration26 April 1992
by Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal21 February 2001
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Birth nameCrescenzio Sepe
Born (1943-06-02) 2 June 1943 (age 76)
Carinaro, Caserta, Kingdom of Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
Mottoin nomine domini
Coat of armsCrescenzio Sepe's coat of arms
Styles of
Crescenzio Sepe
Coat of arms of Crescenzio Sepe.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal


Early life and ordinationEdit

Born at Carinaro, in the province of Caserta, he was ordained for the Diocese of Aversa on 12 March 1967 and holds degrees in theology and canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University and in philosophy from the University of Rome La Sapienza. He taught theology at the Lateran and Urbanian Pontifical Universities and then studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

Career in the Curia and elevation to CardinalEdit

Coat of arms of Cardinal Sepe

He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See and was posted to Brazil from 1972 to 1975, when he was recalled to the Secretariat of State, becoming Assessor for General Affairs in 1987. Sepe was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy and Titular Archbishop of Gradum on 2 April 1992.

On 3 November 1997, he was named General Secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. He was President of Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem from 8 November 1997 until July 2001. On 9 April 2001 he was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He is also the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urban University. He was created Cardinal-Deacon of Dio Padre misericordioso by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in both the 2005 and 2013 conclaves that selected Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis respectively.

He has been a member of the Congregation for the Clergy, Doctrine of the Faith, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the Commission for Latin America, and the Special Council for Asia of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

A statue of Sepe in the Church of S. Chiara, Naples

Archbishop of NaplesEdit

On 20 May 2006, he was appointed Archbishop of Naples.[2] He became a Cardinal-Priest with his deaconry elevated pro hac vice to title. He was the first head of a Roman dicastery in decades to be given a diocesan appointment, which some interpreted as an signal that Pope Benedict XVI, elected just a year earlier, was not hesitant to exert his authority over church administration.[citation needed]

In 2007 he called on the youth of Naples to "unsheathe [their] courage" and hand over their knives in church anonymously.[citation needed]

In June 2010, Sepe was under investigation by Perugia's public prosecutor's office over alleged corruption cases.[3] Media reports alleged that during his time as prefect, various "Propaganda Fide" apartments were made available, free or for a very low rent, to a variety of public figures including politicians, lawyers and journalists. However, Cardinal Sepe has reportedly said that he has "nothing to hide" and he is expected to waive his Vatican extraterritorial privilege in order to meet investigators.[4]


Clerical celibacyEdit

In 1995 he helped implement a priest-sharing program among dioceses worldwide to help redress the geographical imbalance in vocations. He also said that the Vatican was facilitating the return of hundreds of priests who had left the active ministry and married in civil ceremonies, but who were now divorced or widowed and were "sincerely sorry" for having strayed from their vocation. In 1997 he said a relaxing of the celibacy rule for Latin Rite priests would not ease the vocations crisis and would have no theological or pastoral foundation. Linked to his position he also is active in evangelizing efforts.

In March 2018 Sepe forwarded to the Vatican a 1,200-page dossier compiled by Francesco Mangiacapra, a male escort, that purported to identify 40 actively gay Catholic priests. He said: "those who have erred must pay the price, and be helped to repent for the harm done".[5]


  1. ^ "Vatican appoints seasoned diplomat to direct church's worldwide missionary work". Malaysia Star. AP. 20 May 2006. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 20.05.2006" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Corruzione, indagati Sepe e Lunardi". La Stampa (in Italian). 19 June 2010. Archived from the original on 23 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Cardinal may be witness in 'favours' case". Irish Times. 19 June 2010.
  5. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (5 March 2018). "Italian Cardinal Sends List Of Purportedly Gay Catholic Clergy To Vatican". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2018.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michele Giordano
Archbishop of Naples
20 May 2006–present
Preceded by
Jozef Tomko
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Succeeded by
Ivan Dias