Gaetano Cicognani

Gaetano Cicognani (26 November 1881 – 5 February 1962) was an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 1954 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII. To date, he and his brother, Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, are the last pair of brothers to serve simultaneously in the College of Cardinals.

Gaetano Cicognani
Pro-Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed18 November 1954
Term ended14 November 1959
PredecessorVincenzo Macchi
SuccessorDino Staffa
Other post(s)Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati (1959–1962)
Ordination24 September 1904
by Gioachino Cantagalli
Consecration1 February 1925
by Pietro Gasparri
Created cardinal12 January 1953
by Pope Pius XII
RankCardinal-priest (1953–1959)
Cardinal-bishop (1959–1962)
Personal details
Gaetano Cicognani

26 November 1881
Died5 February 1962(1962-02-05) (aged 80)
Rome, Italy
Previous post(s)
Alma mater
MottoVigilat nec fatiscit
Coat of armsGaetano Cicognani's coat of arms
Styles of
Gaetano Cicognani
Coat of arms of Gaetano Cicognani.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeFrascati (suburbicarain)
Coat of arms of Gaetano Cicognani


Cicognani was born in Brisighella to Guglielmo Cicognani and his wife Anna Ceroni. His brother, Amleto, was born over a year later in 1883. To support Gaetano and his brother, their widowed mother ran a general store.[1] Cicognani studied at the seminary in Faenza, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gioacchino Cantagalli on 24 September 1904. He then went to Rome to attend the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare and was, like his brother, summoned to the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

After working in the Roman Rota and Apostolic Signatura, Cicognani taught at the Pontifical Roman Seminary and later entered the Secretariat of State in 1915. He became secretary of the Spanish nunciature on 1 February 1916, and a privy chamberlain of his holiness on 9 March 1916. He was made auditor of the nunciature to Belgium on 3 February 1920.

On 10 January 1925 Cicognani was appointed Apostolic Internuncio to Bolivia and Titular Archbishop of Ancyra.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following 1 February from Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, with Archbishops Rafaello Rossi, OCD, and Giovanni Zonghi serving as co-consecrators, in the chapel of the Pontifical Collegio Pio-Latinoamericano in Rome. Archbishop Cicognani was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Peru on 15 June 1928,[3] to Austria on 13 June 1936, and to Spain on 16 May 1938. In April 1934, when Nuncio to Peru, he visited his brother, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, whom Gaetano had not seen in seven years.[4]

Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia in his second and last consistory of 12 January 1953. Cardinal Cicognani returned to work in the Roman Curia upon his appointment as prefect of the Congregation of Rites on 7 December of that same year. He was appointed as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on 18 November 1954 and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1958 papal conclave that selected Pope John XXIII. That December, his brother, Amleto, by a special dispensation of canon law, was also elevated to the College of Cardinals.[5] This law had so distressed Gaetano, as he felt it curbed his brother's career, that he once came close to tears when someone jokingly said "Because of you, your brother cannot become cardinal".[1] On 14 December 1959 he was named Cardinal Bishop of Frascati by Pope John.

He died in Rome, at age 80, and is buried in the collegiate church of S. Michele in his native Brisighella.


  1. ^ a b "The Vatican's No. 2". Time. 25 August 1961.
  2. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. XVII. 1925. pp. 19, 35, 126. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  3. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. XX. 1928. p. 273. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  4. ^ "In the Churches". Time. 30 April 1934.
  5. ^ Pham, John-Peter (2004). Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession. Oxford University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-19-933482-7. Retrieved 29 March 2018. However Canon 232 §3 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law then in force prohibited anyone having a brother who was a cardinal from being himself a cardinal.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Peru
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Austria
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Spain
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prefect of the Congregation of Rites
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Succeeded by