Loris Francesco Capovilla

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Loris Capovilla (2014)
Cardinal coat of arms by Loris Francesco Capovilla

Loris Francesco Cardinal Capovilla (born October 14, 1915 in Pontelongo , † May 26, 2016 in Bergamo ) was the private secretary of Pope John XXIII. and later Prelate of Loreto and Archbishop of Chieti. He was the oldest living cardinal since his admission to the College of Cardinals .


Loris Francesco Capovilla, one of two children of Rodolfo and Letizia Callegaro, was born in 1915 in Pontelongo, northeast Italy, and baptized in the parish church there. His father, an employee of the Società Belga Zuccherifici, died in 1922 at the age of 37. In 1929 the family moved to Mestre . Capovilla entered the seminary of the Patriarchate of Venice and studied philosophy and theology. He received on 23 May 1940, Patriarch Adeodato Giovanni Piazza Cardinal OCD the priesthood . He was chaplain in the parish of San Zaccaria and in the patriarchate. Later he became master of ceremonies in St. Mark's Basilica and was also a catechist in middle school, chaplain in Porto Marghera , prison pastor and pastor in the children's hospital. In the Second World War he served in the Air Force . After the armistice in 1943, he got involved in humanitarian work at Parma Airport .

From 1945 to 1953 he worked for Radio Venice on behalf of Patriarch Adeodato Giovanni Piazza. In 1949 he became director of the weekly La Voce di San Marco and editor of the Catholic newspaper L'Avvenire d'Italia, which was published in Bologna until 1968 . In 1950 he became a member of the Italian Association of Journalists.

The Patriarch of Venice, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (from October 28, 1958 Pope John XXIII.), Appointed him his private secretary in 1953; an office that he held until the death of Pope John XXIII. held on June 3, 1963.

His successor Pope Paul VI. appointed him Archbishop of Chieti on June 26, 1967 and ordained him episcopal on July 16, 1967 ; Co-consecrators were the Bishop of Cesena , Augusto Gianfranceschi , and Curia Bishop Jacques-Paul Martin .

Pope Paul VI appointed Capovilla on September 25, 1971 Titular Archbishop of Mesembria and Prelate of the Territorial Prelature of Loreto and Pontifical Envoy for the Sanctuary of Loreto . On December 10, 1988, Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation. Since then, Capovilla lived in Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII .

In the consistory of February 22, 2014, Pope Francis accepted him as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Maria in Trastevere in the college of cardinals . Due to his old age of 98, Capovilla did not travel to Rome. The biretta and cardinal ring were presented to him outside the consistory on March 1st of the same year by Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano .

On May 26, 2016, Capovilla died as the first of the cardinals created by Pope Francis at the age of one hundred.


Loris Capovilla was a close confidante of John XXIII. and has the last hours on the deathbed of John XXIII. documented in his diaries.

He oversaw numerous publications on John XXIII, especially his letters from 1958 to 1963, and has himself published a large number of brochures and articles in newspapers, weeklies and magazines.


Fonts (selection)

  • John XXIII Pope of the Council, Unity and Peace . Johann Michael Sailer 1963 (German)
  • Pope John, a sign of the times . Herder 1969 (German)
  • John XXIII: Letters to the Family. 1901-1944 . Herder 1969 (German)
  • John XXIII: Letters to the Family. Volume 2. 1945–1962 . Herder 1970 (German)
  • John XXIII: Letters to the Family. 1901-1962 . Herder 1970 (German)
  • Giovanni XXIII papa di transizione , Rome 1979 (Italian)
  • Giovanni e Paolo due papi. Saggio di corrispondenza (1925–1962) . 1982, ISBN 8838234752 (Italian)
  • Twenty Years Encyclical Pacem in Terris , Berlin Conference of European Catholics 1983 (German)
  • John XXIII: Witness to the Tenderness of God , Médiaspaul 2001, ISBN 2894204655 (English)
  • together with José Luis González-Balado: Juan XXIII: Anécdotas de una vida . PPC Editorial 2005, ISBN 8428816328 (Spanish)
  • Ricordi dal Concilio. Siamo solo all'aurora . La Scuola 2011, ISBN 8835024374 (Italian)
  • together with Vincenzo Pizzaleo (ed.), Francesco Beschi (author): Giovanni XXIII e il Concilio Vaticano II . Marcianum Press 2012, ISBN 8865121343 (Italian)
  • Ezio Bolis (Ed.): Giovanni XXIII: il congedo: lettere a Loris Francesco Capovilla . 2013, ISBN 8838242240 (Italian)
  • Mes années avec le pape Jean XXIII: Conversations avec Ezio Bolis . Editions des Béatitudes 2014 (Kindle Edition; French)


  • Christa Langen-Peduto, Josef Albert Slominski: In the shadow of the popes. The everyday life of the Pope's secretaries from Pius XII. until Francis . Benno, Leipzig 2016, ISBN 978-3-7462-4676-5 , chapter Cardinal Loris Francesco Capovilla: private secretary of Pope Johannes XXIII. , Pp. 25-39.

Web links

Commons : Loris Francesco Capovilla  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bergamo, morto il cardinale Capovilla. Corriere Del Veneto, May 26, 2016, accessed May 26, 2016 (Italian).
  2. ^ Concistori ordinario pubblico per la creazione dei nuovi Cardinali: Assegnazione dei Titoli o delle Diaconie ai nuovi Porporati. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , February 22, 2014, accessed February 10, 2016 (Italian).
  3. ^ Sodano a Sotto il Monte per Capovilla Cardinale. L'Eco di Bergamo, February 22, 2014, accessed February 10, 2016 (Italian).
  4. VATICAN / JOHN XXIII. Better times . In: Der Spiegel . No. 19 , 1969, p. 150-151 ( Online - May 5, 1969 ).
  5. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.59 MB)
  6. Emanuele Roncalli: Laurea honoris causa all'arciv. Capovilla dall'Accademia Russa delle Scienze. L'Eco di Bergamo, January 2, 2011, accessed February 10, 2016 (Italian).
predecessor Office successor
Giovanni Battista Bosio Archbishop of Chieti
Vincenzo Fagiolo
Aurelio Sabattani Prelate of Loreto
Pasquale Macchi