Roman Catholic Diocese of Guastalla

The Diocese of Guastalla (Dioecesis Guastallensis) was a Catholic suffragan bishopric in the province of Reggio Emilia, Italy, from 1828 to 1986. It began as a small chapel, ordered by a Holy Roman Empire; it was promoted into being a parish; it then became a territorial abbey; and finally, after the Napoleonic occupation of Italy, it was made a diocese at the request of his second wife. The diocese employed the Roman rite.[1][2]

Cathedral of S. Peter


Guastalla began as a chapel, built on order of the Emperor Louis II dated 2 November 865, on territory given to his wife Engelberga.[3] Ecclesiastically, the chapel was part of the diocese of Reggio; the bishop subinfeudated the chapel into the hands of Boniface, Count of Toscana.

The parishEdit

The chapel of S. Peter was promoted into being a parish church (plebes, piave) c. 996–999 by Pope Gregory V.[4] In 1101 Countess Matilda of Tuscany bestowed liberty upon the church of Guastalla.[5]

On 21 October 1106, Pope Paschal II held a council in Guastalla of bishops from France, Germany and Italy. He declared that, since the See of Ravenna had so frequently opposed the leadership of the Church of Rome, the dioceses of Parma, Reggio, Modena, and Bologna should never thereafter be subject to Ravenna as their metropolitan.[6]

By 1145 the Church of S. Peter at Guastalla was presided over by an Archpriest, as Pope Eugene III noted in his bull which took the Church of Guastalla under the protection of the Holy See. He also granted them the right to seek holy oils, consecrations and ordinations from whichever Catholic bishop they wished.[7] The archive of the Archpriest of the Pieve of Guastalla was destroyed in 1557 as a casualty of war.[8]

Guastalla formed part of the diocese of Reggio until 1471, when the Collegiate Church of S. Peter of Guastalla was declared to be nullius dioecesis (of no diocese) and was territorially detached from the jurisdiction of the bishop of Reggio Emilia.[9]

The territorial abbeyEdit

On 5 November 1585 Pope Sixtus V promoted it to the status of a secular territorial abbey nullius dioecesis (belonging to no diocese), as the abbey of San Pietro Apostolo di Guastalla.[10]

The territorial AbbotsEdit

  1. Bernardino Baldi d'Urbino (1585–1607)
  2. Pietro Baruffoni (1607–1613)
  3. Marcello Celio Arcelli of Piacenza(1613–1615)
  4. Troilo Accorsini d'Acquapendente (1616–1623)
  5. Vincenzio Loiani of Bologna (1623–1624)
  6. Giambattista Gherardini (1624–1651)
  7. Giacopo Quinziani of Reggio (1652–1686)
  8. Cesare Spilimbergo (1686 1710)
  9. Guidobono Mazzucchini (1711–1755)
  10. Francesco Tirelli of Guastalla (1755–1792)
  11. Francesco Scutellari (1792–1826)
  12. Giovanni Neuschel (1826–1828)

The eleventh Abbot Ordinary of Guastalla, Francesco Maria Scutellari of Parma, was also titular bishop of Joppa (Palestine).[11] He ruled Guastalla from 1792 until his death in 1826. His death brought about a major change in the status of the Pieve. He was succeeded by the chaplain of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, Giovanni Neuschel, titular bishop of Alessandria Troas (Ilio), from 1826 to 1828.[12]

By a decree of Pope Pius VII in an apostolic letter of 1 December 1821, as part of a general reorganization of the hierarchy of Italy following the expulsion of the French, the territory of the Abbey of Guastalla became subject to the diocese of Parma. It had been subject to the diocese of Milan, under the French organization of the Cisalpine Republic (1797–1802) and the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814).[13]

The dioceseEdit

In his papal bull De commisso of 13 September 1828, Pope Leo XII, at the request of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, created the bishopric of Guastalla. He decreed that the diocese be directly subject to the Holy See (Papacy) unless and until the pope decided otherwise. He suppressed the abbatial college chapter, and ordered the creation of a new cathedral Chapter. The Chapter was to consist of five dignities (the Archpriest, the Archdeacon, the Provost, the Dean, and the Primicerius), sixteen Canons, and seven mansionarii. The two senior Canons were to be the Theologus and the Penitentiarius, in accordance with the decrees of the Council of Trent.[14]

In 1920, the diocese of Guastalla had 26 parishes, 58 other churches and chapels, 76 diocesan priests, and 25 students in the seminary.[15] In 1980, it had 30 parishes, 47 diocesan priests, and 3 priests belonging to Religious Orders.[16]

After a vacancy of nearly thirty months, following the death of Bishop Angelo Zambarbieri, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Gilberto Baroni, who was already bishop of Reggio Emilia, to also be bishop of Guastalla. Bishop Baroni had been acting as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Guastalla during the Sede vacante. On 30 September 1986, the diocese was suppressed by Pope John Paul II, and its territory and title merged into the Diocese of Reggio Emilia, with the new name of Reggio Emilia–Guastalla. Guastalla became Vicariate IV of the diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla.[17][1]


  • Giovanni Tommaso Neuschel (1828–1836)[18]
  • Pietro Giovanni Zanardi (1836–1854)[19]
  • Pietro Rota (1855–1871)[20]
  • Francesco Benassi (1871–retired 1884)[21]
  • Prospero Curti (1884–1890)[22]
  • Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1890–1891)[23]
  • Pietro Respighi (1891–1896)[24]
  • Enrico Grazioli (1896–1897)[25]
  • Andrea Sarti (1897–1909)[26]
  • Agostino Cattaneo (1910–1923)[27]
  • Giordano Corsini (1923–1932)[28]
  • Giacomo Zaffrani (1932–1960)[29]
  • Angelo Zambarbieri (1960–1970)[30]
Sede vacante (1970–1973)
  • Gilberto Baroni (1973–1986)[31]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Diocese of Guastalla" David M. Cheney. Retrieved 7 October 2016.[self-published source]
  2. ^ "Diocese of Guastalla" Gabriel Chow. Retrieved 7 October 2016.[self-published source]
  3. ^ Affò, Antichità, pp. 4-6.
  4. ^ Affò, Istoria, Tomo primo, p. 73. Philippus Jaffé and S. Loewenfeld, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I, editio altera (Leipzig: Veit 1884), p. 494, no 3893.
  5. ^ The Countess' charter makes specific mention of Pope Gregory V's promotion of the chapel into a church. Affò, Antichità, pp. 31-34. Cappelletti, p. 426-427.
  6. ^ Monumenta Germaniae Historica 2, Leges 4, Constitutiones 1 (Hannover: Hahn 1893), p. 565. Uta-Renate Blumenthal (1978). The Early Councils of Pope Paschal II, 1100-1110. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. pp. 37, 51–54. ISBN 978-0-88844-043-3.
  7. ^ J. P. Migne (editor). Patrologiae Series Latina Tomus CLXXX (Paris: Garnier 1902), pp. 1048-1050. The bull of Pope Lucius II of 1144, in which it is alleged that Guastalla was subject to Reggio, is interpolated: Cappelletti, pp. 427-428.
  8. ^ Palese et al., Guida degli archivi capitolari (2003), p. 72.
  9. ^ Cappelletti, p. 430.
  10. ^ abbatiam vero collegiatam et parochialem ecclesiam Deo et Sancto Petro apostolorum principi dicatam. Bullarii Romani Continuatio (in Latin). Tomus Decimus Septimus (17), continens Pontificatus Leonis XII. Annum Quartum Ad Sextum. Rome. 1855. pp. 391–393, § 3. Affò (1787). Istoria. Tomo terzo. pp. 83–84. Cappelletti, pp. 430-432.
  11. ^ Scutellari was born in Parma in 1742. He held the degree Doctor in utroque iure from the Sapienza, Rome (1789). He was a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter of Parma, and had been Vicar Capitular. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 245 with note 3.
  12. ^ Gaetano Buttafuoco (1854). Dizionario corografico dei ducati di Parma, Piacenza e Guastalla (in Italian). Volume 2. Milano: Giuseppe Civelli e Comp. p. 44.
  13. ^ Bullarii Romani Continuatio. 1855. p. 392, § 7. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 245, note 3.
  14. ^ Bullarii Romani Continuatio. 1855. p. 392. In § 8, Leo XII writes, "Declaramus interea quod Guastallensis episcopalis ecclesia apostolicae Sedi immediate subjecta censeri debeat, nisi Nobis et Romanis pontificibus successoribus Nostris aliter in posterum visum fuerit."
  15. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia. Supplement 1 (c1922). New York: Encyclopedia Press. 1922. p. 355.
  16. ^ David M. Cheney,, "Diocese of Guastalla"; retrieved: 28 September 2018.[self-published source]
  17. ^ Quotidiana online, "Reggio Emilia: intitolazione via a monsignor Gilberto Baroni", 10 November 2012; retrieved: 29 September 2018. (in Italian)
  18. ^ Neuschel was a Hungarian abbot, and chaplain to the regnant Duchess of Parma, Maria Luisa. He had previously been Titular Bishop of Troas (1828); and was appointed to the diocese of Guastalla by Pope Leo XII on 20 September 1828. He was transferred to the diocese of Borgo San Donnino on 21 November 1836. On 27 January 1843, he was appointed Bishop of Parma He retired on 17 September 1852, and on his retirement he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Theodosiopolis (Aprus) (Armenia Minor). He died on 10 December 1863. Gams, pp. 743, 759. Ritzler-Sefrin, VII, pp. 122, 208, 300, 379; VIII, p. 547.
  19. ^ Zanardi was a priest of the diocese of Parma. He was appointed bishop of Guastalla on 21 November 1836. He died on 15 September 1854. Ritzler-Sefrin, VII, p. 208.
  20. ^ Rota was named Bishop of Guastalla on 23 March 1855 by Pope Pius IX. On 27 October 1871 he was made Bishop of Mantova (Mantua), from which he retired on 12 May 1879. On retirement he was named Titular Archbishop of Carthage, then on 4 November 1884, Titular Archbishop of Thebes. He died on 3 February 1890. Massimiliano Franzini (1893). Pietro Rota Arcivescovo tit. di Tebe: Canonico vaticano già Vescovo di Guastalla e di Mantova; memorie (in Italian). Roma: P. Kohler.
  21. ^ Benassi was born at Villa San Sisto (Parma) in 1811. He was appointed bishop of Borgo San Donnino on 20 June 1859. On 27 October 1871 Pope Pius IX transferred him to the diocese of Guastalla, which he governed until his resignation on 10 November 1884. He was then named Titular Bishop of Argos (1884–1892). He died on 15 March 1892. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, pp. 120, 163, 294.
  22. ^ Curti was born in the village of San Polo d'Enza, in the foothills of the Apennines, west of Reggio. He was appointed Bishop of Guastalla on 10 November 1884, and was consecrated in Rome on 16 November by Cardinal Lucido Parocchi. He died on 21 March 1890. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, p. 294.
  23. ^ Ferrari was born in Lalatta, Pratopiano (Parma) in 1850. He was a parish priest in the diocese of Parma, and taught mathematics and physics at the Minor Seminary, eventually being appointed Rector. He then taught theology and church history at the Major Seminary. He was appointed Bishop of Guastalla by Pope Leo XIII on 29 May 1890. After only a year he was transferred to the diocese of Como on 1 June 1891. 21 May 1894. He was named a cardinal on 18 May 1894, and appointed Cardinal-Priest of S. Anastasia. Three days later he was appointed Archbishop of Milan. He died on 2 February 1921. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, pp. 46, 219, 294, 376. Martin Bräuer (2014). Handbuch der Kardinäle: 1846-2012 (in German). Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 1901–1902. ISBN 978-3-11-037077-5.
  24. ^ A native of Bologna, Respighi studied in Rome at the Pio Roman Seminary, and obtained doctorates in theology and Canon and Civil Laws in 1870. He was appointed Bishop of Guastalla on 14 December 1891. On 30 November 1896, he was transferred to the diocese of Ferrara. (1896.11.30 – resigned 1900.04.19), He was created Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quattro Coronati by Pope Leo XIII on 22 June 1899. He resigned the diocese of Ferrara when he was named Vicar-General of His Holiness for the city of Rome. He died on 22 March 1913. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, pp. 48, 270, 294.
  25. ^ Grazioli was previously Titular Bishop of Samosata (1895– 1896) and Auxiliary Bishop of Ferrara. On 30 November 1896 he was appointed Bishop of Guastalla. He resigned on 13 April 1897. After his resignation he was named Titular Archbishop of Nicopolis on 24 March 1898. He died on 6 March 1906. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, pp. 294, 413, 497.
  26. ^ Sarti was appointed Bishop of Guastalla on 19 April 1897. He was transferred to the diocese of Pistoia on 29 April 1909. On 7 November 1915, he was named Bishop of Prato He died on 7 November 1915. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, p. 295.
  27. ^ Born in Crema in 1853, Cattaneo had been a priest of the diocese of Crema. He served as the bishop's secretary and as diocesan chancellor. He taught theology at the seminary, and was appointed Vicar General. He was appointed Bishop of Guastalla on 15 March 1910. He died on 9 April 1923. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Supplement 1 (c1922). New York: Encyclopedia Press. 1922. p. 355.
  28. ^ Corsini was appointed Titular Bishop of Hebron and Auxiliary Bishop of Verona on 7 March 1922. On 23 May 1923 he was transferred to the diocese of Guastalla. On his retirement he was named Titular Bishop of Arca in Armenia on 7 July 1932. He died on 14 April 1933.
  29. ^ Zaffrani was appointed Bishop of Guastalla on 16 September 1932. He died on 6 May 1960.
  30. ^ Zambarbieri had been appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Guastalla and Titular Bishop of Sita on 12 March 1959. He succeeded to the diocese on 6 May 1960, on the death of Bishop Zaffrani. He died on 15 August 1970. Serafino Cavazza (1972). Angelo Zambarbieri arciprete di Borzonasca, vescovo di Guastalla (in Italian). Tortona: Scuola tipografica S. Giuseppe [Don Orione].CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  31. ^ Baroni was appointed Titular Bishop of Thagaste and Auxiliary Bishop of Bologna on 4 December 1954. On 30 May 1963, he was transferred to the diocese of Albenga. On 27 March 1965 he was transferred to the diocese of Reggio Emilia. On 10 February 1973 he was named Bishop of Guastalla, while continuing to be Bishop of Reggio. The diocese of Guastalla was abolished on 30 September 1986, and Baroni continued as Bishop of the renamed see Reggio Emilia–Guastalla. His resignation in accordance with the norms of Canon Law was accepted by Pope John Paul II on 11 July 1989. He died on 14 March 1999.


External linksEdit


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Missing or empty |title= (help)