DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     June 16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 114


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

66.   Cardinal Pio Laghi

          Born on May 21, 1922 in Castiglione, Italy Cardinal Pio Laghi was ordained after the war at the age of 24 on April 20, 1946 in his Diocese of Fiorli-Bertinoro in the Romagna region. He continued his studies after ordination, receiving his Doctorate in Theology a year later and three years later in Canon Law from the Lateran. Two years later Pope Pius XII tabbed him for a career in the Vatican's diplomatic services. His first assignment was to Nicaragua for two years before he was appointed secretary of the apostolic delegation to the United States and India from 1956 to 1961 when Pius' successor Pope John XXIII recalled him to Rome to serve on the Pontifical Council for Public Affairs of the Church. until June 22, 1969 when John's successor Pope Paul VI elevated him to titular Archbishop of Mauriana. That same year he was reassigned to the diplomatic corps, being appointed Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, serving as Pro-Nuncio to Cyprus and Apostolic Visitor for Greece until 1974 when he was made made Papal Nuncio to Argentina. This post lasted until December 1980 when Paul's successor Pope John Paul II made him Apostolic Delegate to the United States and four years later in March of 1984, the Holy See and the US established official diplomatic ties which made Archbishop Laghi the First Pro-Nuncio to the U.S. during the Reagan era in the White-House and the fall of communism worldwide.

          On April 6, 1990 he was recalled to Rome to begin a stint as Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. A year later, during the Holy Father's third Consistory of June 28, 1991 he was named to the cardinalate, receiving the titular church of St. Mary Auxiliartrix in Via Tuscalona. The "pro" was also removed from his title and two days after receiving his red-hat as a cardinal-deacon he was made Prefect of the same congregation he had served for a year. It is a position he still holds today. In 1993 he was named to the additional honor of Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. At 72 he enjoys active curial memberships in the Secretary of StateCongregation of Bishops, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Congregation for the Clergy plus the Pontifical Council for Culture.


June 16, 1999       volume 10, no. 116


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