Salvatore Pappalardo

Salvatore Pappalardo (23 September 1918 – 10 December 2006) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who was Archbishop of Palermo for over 25 years, from 1970 to 1996. He was the first senior clergyman from Sicily to speak out against the Mafia, breaking its code of omertà (vow of silence).

Salvatore Pappalardo
Archbishop Emeritus of Palermo
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed17 October 1970
Term ended4 April 1996
PredecessorFrancesco Carpino
SuccessorSalvatore De Giorgi
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Odigitria dei Siciliani "pro hac vice" (1973-2006)
Ordination12 April 1941
by Luigi Traglia
Consecration16 January 1966
by Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Created cardinal5 March 1973
by Pope Paul VI
Personal details
Birth nameSalvatore Pappalardo
Born23 September 1918
Villafranca Sicula, Agrigento, Kingdom of Italy
Died10 December 2006(2006-12-10) (aged 88)
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
BuriedSanta Cristina Cathedral
ParentsAlfio Pappalardo
Gaetana Coco
Previous post
Alma mater
MottoSemper inhaerere mandatis
Coat of armsSalvatore Pappalardo's coat of arms


Pappalardo was born in Villafranca Sicula in Sicily. He was ordained as a priest in Rome on 12 April 1941, and was a Counsellor of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1947 to 1965, receiving in 1951 the title of Privy Chamberlain to Pope John XXIII, and in 1961 that of Domestic Prelate. He was appointed titular archbishop of Miletus and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Indonesia on 7 December 1965.[1] He was appointed President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome on 7 May 1969.[2] He was named Archbishop of Palermo on 17 October 1970.[3] He was made Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Odigitria dei Siciliani by Pope Paul VI on 5 March 1973.

Styles of
Salvatore Pappalardo
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

He was considered papabile in the October 1978 conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul I. He would have been the first Sicilian pope in twelve centuries.[4]

Pappalardo spoke out against the Mafia from the 1980s. At the funeral of Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa in 1982, who had been murdered along with his wife in Palermo, he criticised the Italian political establishment for failing to guarantee security in Sicily.[5] He became more explicit in the early 1990s, after other anti-Mafia lawyers, policemen and priests had been murdered. At the funeral of Giovanni Falcone in 1992, who was also murdered along with his wife near Palermo, he described the murderers as part of a "synagogue of Satan", leading to criticism from Italian Jews. He later apologised, having meant the word synagogue in its "old sense, as a gathering place". In 1993, at the funeral of murdered priest Pino Puglisi, he called for the people of Sicily to rise up against the Mafia. He was awarded the title of Knight of the Grand Cross of the Italian Republic by Italian President Sandro Pertini.

He retired upon the appointment of Salvatore De Giorgi as his successor on 4 April 1996. [6] He died in Palermo on 10 December 2006[4] and was buried in the chapel of Santa Cristina in the Cathedral of Palermo on 12 December.


  1. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). LVIII. 1966. pp. 111, 919. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  2. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). LXI. 1969. p. 353. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  3. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). LXII. 1970. p. 689. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo, Anti-Mafia Sicilian priest". The Independent. 14 December 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  5. ^ Schneider, Peter T.; Schneider, Jane (2003). Reversible Destiny: Mafia, Antimafia, and the Struggle for Palermo. University of California Press. p. 174. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  6. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). LXXXVIII. 1996. p. 523. Retrieved 25 July 2020.

External linksEdit

Educational offices
Preceded by
Gino Paro
President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
7 May 1969 – 17 October 1970
Succeeded by
Felice Pirozzi
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Francesco Carpino
Archbishop of Palermo
17 October 1970 – 4 April 1996
Succeeded by
Salvatore De Giorgi