Gilberto Agustoni

Gilberto Agustoni (26 July 1922 – 13 January 2017) was a Swiss prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He worked in the Roman Curia from 1950 to 1998, ending his career as head of the Apostolic Signatura from 1992 to 1998. He became a Cardinal in 1994.

His Eminence

Gilberto Agustoni
Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura
Gilberto Agustoni.jpg
SeeSanti Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta
Appointed26 November 1994
Term ended5 October 1998
PredecessorAchille Silvestrini
SuccessorZenon Grocholewski
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santi Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta
Ordination20 April 1946
Consecration6 January 1987
by Pope John Paul II
Created cardinal26 November 1994
by Pope John Paul II
  • Cardinal-Deacon (1994-2005)
  • Cardinal-Priest (2005-2017)
Personal details
Birth nameGilberto Agustoni
Born(1922-07-26)26 July 1922
Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Died13 January 2017(2017-01-13) (aged 94)
Rome, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
Mottochristus spes gloriae
Coat of armsGilberto Agustoni's coat of arms
Styles of
Gilberto Agustoni
Coat of arms of Gilberto Agustoni.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Early lifeEdit

Agustoni was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and had four brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers were also priests. Their mother came from a village on the shores of Lake Constance and their father was a civil servant. He was educated at the Seminary of Lugano. He studied in Rome for a year, earning a degree in philosophy. Because of World War II, he continued his studies at the University of Fribourg, where he completed a degree in sacred theology.[1] Bishop Angelo Jelmini ordained him in Lugano on 20 April 1946.[2][3]

Agustoni later studied at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he earned licentiates in theology and law.

Roman Curia appointmentsEdit

In 1950, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani asked Jelmini to allow Agustoni, whom he had met on several occasions, to work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) while continuing his studies. Agustoni began his service there on 1 July 1950, an exceptional appointment for someone under the age of 30. He became the head of a department at the CDF and later commissioner at the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments. Following the Second Vatican Council he helped to coordinate the curial departments engaged in Pope Paul VI's program of liturgical renewal. In May 1970, he became a Prelate Auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.[1]

On 18 December 1986 Pope John Paul II appointed Agustoni Titular Archbishop of Caprulae and Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy. On 2 April 1992 he was appointed Pro-Prefect of Apostolic Signatura, becoming Prefect when created Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta on 26 November 1994.

He resigned his post on 5 October 1998. In early 2005, he took the option, open to Cardinal-Deacons after ten years, of becoming a Cardinal-Priest. Agustoni died on 13 January 2017 aged 94.[2][3]

Ottaviani InterventionEdit

He was secretary to Ottaviani at the time of the Ottaviani Intervention. Jean Madiran, a critic of the reforms of Vatican II[4] and founder-editor of the French journal Itinéraires, claimed that this letter was fraudulently presented to the elderly and already blind cardinal for his signature by his secretary Agustoni, and that Agustoni resigned shortly afterwards.[5] No confirmation of this story by the cardinal himself was published. Agustoni resigned as Ottaviani's secretary in 1970 to join the Ecclesiastical Magistrature as Prelate Auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota[6] and there is no evidence to suggest his departure was anything more than a routine change of assignment. Furthermore, Madiran admits that he was not in the room to see this alleged deception of Ottaviani.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Agustoni Card. Gilberto". Holy See. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Décès du cardinal Gilberto Agustoni" [Death of cardinal Gilberto Agustoni]. Conférence des Évêques Suisse (Press release) (in French). 14 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b Ardengo, Michele (13 January 2017). "Lutto in Vaticano, è morto il cardinale Gilberto Agustoni". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  4. ^ Je suis un témoin à charge contre mon temps
  5. ^ The Ottaviani Intervention – Part I, by Michael Davies
  6. ^ Cardinals of the Catholic Church
  7. ^ The Ottaviani Intervention – Part 1, by Michael Davies

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Achille Silvestrini
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
2 April 1992 – 5 October 1998
Succeeded by
Zenon Grocholewski