Angelo Sodano

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Angelo Sodano (2016)
Sodanos cardinal coat of arms

Angelo Cardinal Sodano (born November 23, 1927 in Isola d'Asti , Italy ) is an Italian clergyman and cardinal emeritus . From 2005 to 2019 he was Cardinal Dean and between 1991 and 2006 Cardinal Secretary of State of the Roman Curia . As Cardinal Dean, it was his responsibility to convene the 2013 conclave .



Angelo Sodano was on November 23, 1927 in Isola d'Asti, a suburb of Asti in Piedmont , as the second of six children of Giovanni Sodano (1901-1991, from 1948 to 1963 MP ( Democrazia Cristiana ) in the Italian lower house ) and the Delfina Brignolo born. The environment in which Sodano grew up was deeply religious.

Study and priest

After studying philosophy and theology , he was on 23 September 1950 in Asti by the then Bishop of Asti , Umberto Rossi , for priests ordained. Then he went to Rome . There he studied canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and attended the Pontifical Diplomatic Academy .

In 1955 he was at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a dissertation on The earthly goods in the life of the righteous after St. John Chrysostom to the Dr. theol. and in 1960 at the Pontifical Lateran University with the dissertation Parousia and verdict as Dr. iur. can. PhD . In 1959 he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See . He worked as secretary of the Latin American nunciatures in Ecuador in 1961, Uruguay and Chile . On June 21, 1963 he was given by Pope Paul VI. bestowed the honorary title of redundant secret chamberlain of His Holiness ( Monsignor ). In 1968 he became an official member of the Council of the Roman Curia for External Relations.

Archbishop and Nuncio

On November 30, 1977 he was appointed titular archbishop of Nova Caesaris and apostolic nuncio in Chile. Prior to his post in Chile took, he received on 15 January 1978 in the Collegiate Church of San Secondo in Asti by Antonio Cardinal Samore , the episcopal ordination . In March 1989 he returned to Rome and became "Vatican Foreign Minister", ie "Secretary of the Council for External Relations", as it were as the "right hand man" of Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli . During this time he represented the Holy See at numerous international meetings, for example at the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE - OSCE since 1995) in Vienna, Copenhagen, New York and Paris.

Relationship with Augusto Pinochet

Sodano took office as Apostolic Nuncio in Chile in 1977 during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet . Sodano is accused of remaining silent about the regime's human rights violations. In 1987, for example, seven Catholic priests sent a letter to Rome calling for Sodano to be recalled from Chile. According to Senator Andrés Zaldívar , Sodano and Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez held a private meeting with Pinochet in 1980 with the aim of returning several exiles (including Zaldívar), but without result.

A meeting with representatives of the Alianza Democrática (1983–1988), which took place on the occasion of the Pope's visit in April 1987, is cited as evidence of Sodano's efforts to establish democratic structures. The later President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos , was also present .

Pinochet was arrested in Great Britain in October 1998 because of a Spanish arrest warrant. He was imprisoned in Britain for a year and a half; the Blair government had to decide whether to accept an extradition request from Spain. In February 2000, Sodano - now in his function as Cardinal Secretary of State - said on this question that Pinochet should return to Chile, as this case concerned the Chilean state. After all, Chile is the homeland of Pinochet.

Cardinal and Cardinal Secretary of State

Following the resignation of Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli after reaching the age limit Archbishop Sodano was appointed on December 1, 1990 Pro-Secretary of State appointed the Secretary of State, as he was not yet a cardinal, he could perform the usual designation Cardinal Secretary of State only after the consistory of the 28th June 1991 was elevated to cardinal priest with the titular church Santa Maria Nuova ( Santa Francesca Romana ).

Angelo Sodano with Condoleezza Rice in the Vatican, February 2005

On January 10, 1994, he was appointed Cardinal Bishop by the Pope with the title of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Albano . On November 30, 2002, exactly 25 years to the day after his appointment as bishop, his election as subdean of the college of cardinals was confirmed by John Paul II.

Between August 1991 and 2004 Sodano accompanied Pope John Paul II on 53 of his trips abroad .

When Cardinal Sodano turned 75 in November 2002 - and thus reached the age limit for bishops - he submitted his resignation. Pope John Paul II asked him to exercise his post as Cardinal Secretary of State until further notice. In the following years he took on a lot of additional tasks due to the Pope's illnesses. So he celebrated the mass on Easter Sunday 2005 in St. Peter's Square and then read the Easter greetings in the various languages.

At the subsequent conclave in April 2005, Sodano was considered papabile by the public . When Cardinal Dean Ratzinger was elected Pope, Sodano, as Sub-Dean of the College of Cardinals, was given the task of first asking the newly elected: “Acceptasne electionem de te canonice factam in Summum Pontificem?” (Do you accept your canonical election as Pope?) And then: “Quo nomine vis vocari?” (What name do you want to be called by?). All other tasks of the cardinal dean, such as handing over the fisherman's ring at the inauguration of the Pope, were then taken over by Sodano.

Benedict XVI. confirmed Sodano in office as Cardinal Secretary of State and only replaced him on September 15, 2006 by Tarcisio Bertone .

Sodano was elected by the cardinal bishops to succeed Ratzinger as the new cardinal dean. This election was on April 30, 2005 by Benedict XVI. confirmed and entrusted to him, in addition to his suburbicarian diocese of Albano, the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia associated with the office of cardinal dean . It was the first time since 1828 (Cardinal Giulio Maria della Somaglia ) that a person simultaneously held the post of Cardinal Secretary of State and Cardinal Dean.

He resigned from the office of Cardinal Dean on December 21, 2019.

Resignation of Benedict XVI. and conclave 2013

After a sedis vacancy occurs, the college of cardinals is convened by the cardinal dean and normally he also presides over the conclave. Since Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Sub- Dean Roger Etchegaray had passed the age limit of 80 years to participate in the 2013 Conclave, which began on March 12, 2013 , this task fell to the highest-ranking electoral Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re . However, Sodano headed the daily general congregations of the cardinals during the period of the Sedis vacancy until the beginning of the conclave. The handover of the fisherman's ring to Pope Francis on March 19, 2013 at the introductory mass also fell to Sodano as cardinal dean.


During his time as cardinal secretary of state, Sodano was one of those forces in the Vatican who worked to cover up sexual abuse by clergy. At Easter 2010, Sodano expressed solidarity with the Pope. He declared: “Holy Father, the people of God are with you and will not allow themselves to be influenced by the talk [“ chiacchiericcio ”] of the prevailing opinions. The cardinals, curia workers and bishops worldwide stand behind him, but above all the 400,000 priests who generously serve the people of God. ”On June 28, 2010 the Vatican published in a press release:“ The word 'chatter' was mistakenly interpreted as a lack of respect for the victims of sexual abuse, for whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano has the same feelings of compassion and condemnation of evil as expressed in various statements of the Holy Father. This in the Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI. pronounced word was taken literally from the Pope's address on Palm Sunday and was there related to the 'courage not to be intimidated by the chatter of the prevailing opinions'. "

Cardinal Sodano visited the Greek Orthodox community on September 8, 2012 while traveling to Karaganda for the dedication of the Mother of Nations Cathedral in Karaganda , Kazakhstan . Pope Benedict XVI had sent a message of greeting from Castel Gandolfo for the inauguration of the cathedral. Already in 2001 Pope John Paul II visited Kazakhstan on a pastoral trip and emphasized in Astana that the Catholic population of Kazakhstan is very important to him.


Angelo Cardinal Sodano was a member of the following congregations and commissions of the Roman Curia :

Angelo Sodano was born on September 23, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. appointed member of the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa (October 4 to 25, 2009).

Papal legate and special envoy of the Pope


  • Papal envoy for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady in Fátima , Portugal, May 13, 1992.
  • His Holiness Special Envoy for the Day of the Nations of the Holy See, Seville World's Fair, Spain, June 29, 1992.
  • Papal legate for the funeral of Cardinal Frantisek Tomásek , Archbishop emeritus of Prague, Czechoslovakia, August 12, 1992


  • Papal legacy of the Requiem in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels for King Baudouin of Belgium and subsequent burial in the royal crypt of the Church of Our Lady in Laeken, Belgium August 7, 1993


  • Papal legate at the closing ceremony for the 800th birthday of Saint Anthony of Padua , Padua, Italy, December 8, 1995
  • Papal legate at the closing ceremony on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the pilgrimage site in Loreto, Loreto, Italy, 10 December 1995.


  • Papal Legate at the opening ceremony of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress, Wroclaw, Poland, May 25–1. June 1997.
  • His Holiness Special Envoy and Principal Celebrant of Mother Teresa's funeral , Calcutta, India, September 13, 1997


  • Papal Legate at World Day of the Sick, Loreto, Italy, February 11, 1998.
  • Papal legate at the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the start of construction on Cologne Cathedral , Cologne, August 15, 1998
  • Legacy at the South American youth meeting in Santiago de Chile, Chile, 6. – 11. October 1998.
  • Papal legate at the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia , Osnabrück and Münster, October 24, 1998


  • Legacy at the European Youth Meeting in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 4. – 8. August 1999.
  • Papal legate at the celebrations for the reopening of the Upper Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the consecration of the new papal altar, Assisi, November 28, 1999.
  • Papal Legate for the Consecration of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Mary , Moscow, Russia, December 12, 1999


  • Papal legate for the millennium celebrations of the Archdiocese of Gniezno , Poland, March 12, 2000
  • Papal legate for the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of Brazil, Porto Seguro, April 26, 2000
  • Papal legacy for the funeral services of Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor , Archbishop of New York, New York, May 8, 2000
  • Papal Legate for the Millennium Celebrations of St. Stephen of Hungary, Budapest, August 20, 2000.


  • Papal legate for the festive consecration of the new cathedral in Tirana, Albania, January 26, 2002.


  • Papal legate at the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the death of Pope Boniface VIII , Anagni Cathedral , Italy, October 12, 2003
  • Papal legate at the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the election of Pope Julius II , Savona (birthplace of Pope Julius II), Italy November 30, 2003


  • Papal legacy at the closing ceremony of the Central European Catholic Day 2003/2004 in the pilgrimage site of Mariazell, Austria, 22 May 2004.
  • Personal Representative of the Pope at the State Funeral of Former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan , National Cathedral, Washington, DC, USA, June 11, 2004


  • Papal legate at the celebrations for the liberation of Hungary from Soviet rule (50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising) in Budapest, Hungary, 22./23. October 2006.


  • Papal legate at the opening of the celebrations for the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary, in Fátima, Portugal, 12./13. May 2007.


  • Papal legate for the consecration of the Holy Cross Church in Kazan, Russia, 29 August 2008.


  • Papal legate at the conclusion of the 1000th anniversary of Lithuania, Vilnius, 6 July 2009.
  • Personal representative of the Pope at the funeral of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle I. (Gojko Stojcevic), Saint Sava Cathedral / Rakovica Monastery, Belgrade, Serbia, 19 November 2009


  • The Pope's designated special envoy at the memorial services for the 96 victims of the plane crash near Smolensk , Warsaw, Poland, April 17, 2010 - because of the suspended air traffic in large parts of northern and central Europe due to an ash cloud as a result of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano , I traveled to Poland not possible. The Archbishop of Warsaw , Kazimierz Nycz , presided over the celebrations in Warsaw.
  • His Holiness's Special Envoy-Designate and Chief Celebrant of the Funeral Services and Requiem in Kraków's St. Mary's Church for Lech and Maria Kaczynski, Kraków, Poland, April 18, 2010 - For the above reason, the Archbishop of Kraków , Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz , took over the celebrations in Kraków.
  • Papal legate at the closing ceremonies of the 10th Eucharistic Congress, Toledo, Spain, May 27-30, 2010.



Honorary doctorates



  • Angelo Sodano: La Corteccia e il tronco. La Chiesa fra apparenza e realtà. Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1998, ISBN 88-209-2539-7 .
  • Angelo Sodano: Il lievito del vangelo. La presenza della Santa Sede nella vita dei popoli. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006, ISBN 88-209-7866-0 .
  • Angelo Sodano: La Santa Sede nel quadro istituzionale europeo. Art, 2007, ISBN 978-88-7879-062-9 .
  • Angelo Sodano: Verso le origini. Una genealogia episcopale. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008, ISBN 978-88-209-8112-9 .
  • Angelo Sodano: Per una nuova Europe. Il contributo dei cristiani. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009, ISBN 978-88-209-8281-2 .


Web links

Commons : Angelo Sodano  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 1964 , Città del Vaticano 1964, p. 1276.
  2. Pippo Sacco: Novant'anni in San Secondo per il cardinal Sodano. La Stampa , November 23, 2017, accessed December 8, 2019 (Italian).
  3. See Sodano, el contacto de Chile en el Vaticano in El Mercurio of 21 de Noviembre de 2004, viewed on September 22, 2008: “… siete sacerdotes a principios del año 87 enviaron una carta al Vaticano pidiendo su destitución y denunciando su“ cercanía con el régimen militar "..."
  4. See Sodano, el contacto de Chile en el Vaticano in El Mercurio of 21 de Noviembre de 2004, viewed on February 18, 2009: «… Además, gran parte de sus acciones en favor de los perseguidos nunca salieron a la luz pública. Una de ellas es recordada por el senador Andrés Zaldívar. Él confidencia que el año 80 monseñor Sodano y el cardenal Raúl Silva Henríquez se reunieron privadamente con Pinochet para solicitar el regreso al país de varios dirigentes que estaban exiliados, entre ellos Zaldívar. Pero, la respuesta fue negativa. ... »
  5. See Sodano, el contacto de Chile en el Vaticano in El Mercurio of 21 de Noviembre de 2004, viewed on February 18, 2009: «… Para la visita papal, el propio nuncio gestionó la reunión del Sumo Pontífice con los dirigentes de la Alianza Democrática en la Nunciatura. Entre ellos estaba el presidente Ricardo Lagos.… »
  6. «… VATICANO PIDIÓ LIBERTAD DE PINOCHET 18 de febrero: El secretario de Estado vaticano, cardenal Ángelo Sodano, afirmó que la Santa Sede desea“ que esta odisea termine lo más pronto posible ”, al referirse al caso Pinochet. La situación de Pinochet "It is a caso humanitario y jurídico que preocupa al gobierno de Chile y también a la Santa Sede", precisó Sodano. Agregó que lo mejor es que vuelva Pinochet a Chile, pues „tiene derecho; es su patria ”. “Confiamos en el buen sentido del gobierno inglés, que en este momento tiene la llave del arca; por lo que hacemos votos para que dates cuanto antes esta odisea. Estimamos que (Pinochet) tiene derecho a regresar, agregó. “…»
  7. ^ Westdeutsche Zeitung of April 5, 2010
  8. Stern: "Who is papabile?" dated April 4, 2010
  9. rinuncia all'incarico di Decano del Collegio Cardinalizio. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office, December 21, 2019, accessed December 21, 2019 (Italian).
  10. The Favor of a Peaceful Minute
  11. Thomas Jansen in FAZ from December 23, 2019, page 3 Thank you, Eminenz ; Francis says goodbye to the controversial Cardinal Sodano
  12. ^ Announcement by ANSA from April 4, 2010.
  13. Vatican embassy irritates church sacrifices . In: Spiegel Online
  14. Abuse overshadows Easter celebrations - support for the Pope . ( Memento from April 7, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) In: Die Zeit Online
  15. Vatican issues press release.
  16. a b About the city of Qaraghandy ( Memento from February 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Kathpress article
  18. newspaper report RISU
  19. ^ Report from the Vatican
  20. Nomine nell'ambito della Seconda Assemblea Speciale per l'Africa del Sinodo dei Vescovi in: Holy See Press Office: Daily Bulletin of 23 September, 2009.
  21. ^ Vatican website of June 23, 2009 in Latin
  22. VIS Vatican Information Service of Saturday, September 1, 2012
  23. Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher International. Retrieved October 22, 2012,
  24. ^ Ordine al Merito della Republica Italiana on the official Presidenza della Repubblica website
  26. ENTIDADES ESTRANGEIRAS AGRACIADAS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS - Página Oficial the Order of Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved September 15, 2019 .
  27. Wayback Machine. March 4, 2016, accessed September 15, 2019 .
  28. List of medals of the White Double Cross 1st Class, Order of the White Double Cross
  29. ^ Bollettino Ufficiale di Stato
  30. conferimento al Cardinale Sodano del Collare del Sovrano Militare Ordine di Malta. April 12, 2001, accessed September 28, 2013 (Italian).
  33. ^ Path to Peace Award List . Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  34. List of the bearers of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland - (see column Grand Cross): Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  35. Verso le origini. Una genealogia episcopale.
predecessor Office successor
Achille Silvestrini Secretary for Relations with the States
Jean-Louis Tauran
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli Cardinal Secretary of State
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone SDB
Francesco Cardinal Carpino Cardinal Bishop of Albano
since 1994
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Cardinal
Subdean 2002–2005
Roger Cardinal Etchegaray
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Cardinal Bishop of Ostia
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Cardinal Dean
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re