Dionigi Tettamanzi

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His Eminence

Dionigi Tettamanzi
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Milan
Tettamanzi in 2010
Appointed11 July 2002
Installed14 September 2002
Term ended28 June 2011
PredecessorCarlo Maria Martini
SuccessorAngelo Scola
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santi Ambrogio e Carlo
Ordination28 June 1957
by Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (later Pope Paul VI)
Consecration23 September 1989
by Carlo Maria Martini
Created cardinal21 February 1998
by John Paul II
Personal details
Born(1934-03-14)14 March 1934
Renate, Kingdom of Italy
Died5 August 2017(2017-08-05) (aged 83)
Triuggio, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
MottoGaudium et pax
(Joy and peace)
SignatureDionigi Tettamanzi's signature
Coat of armsDionigi Tettamanzi's coat of arms
Styles of
Dionigi Tettamanzi
Coat of arms of Dionigi Tettamanzi.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeMilan (emeritus)

Dionigi Tettamanzi (14 March 1934 – 5 August 2017) was an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, who was named a cardinal in 1998. He was Archbishop of Genoa from 1995 to 2002 and Archbishop of Milan from 2002 to 2011.

Early years[edit]

Tettamanzi was born on 14 March 1934 in Renate, then in the province of Milan, now in the province of Monza and Brianza. He was educated at the Minor Seminary of Seveso and the Seminary of Venegono Inferiore and finally at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. After studying in local seminaries, he was ordained a priest on 28 June 1957 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. He served in the Archdiocese of Milan as a pastor and faculty member at the Minor Seminary of Masnago and of Seveso San Pietro from 1960 until 1966. He was a faculty member of the Seminary of Venegono from 1966 to 1986.[1][2]


On 1 July 1989 Pope John Paul II named Tettamanzi Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo. He received his episcopal consecration from Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini at the Milan cathedral on 23 September. Tettamanzi submitted his resignation as bishop on 6 April 1991[2] to take up a five-year assignment as Secretary-General of the Italian Episcopal Conference.[3]

John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Genoa on 20 April 1995. He helped John Paul draft his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (1995).[1]

At the consistory of 21 February 1998, Tettamanzi was created Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Ambrogio e Carlo.[2] He was named to succeed Martini as archbishop of Milan on 11 July 2002.[4]

Although thought one of the favorite candidates to succeed John Paul II in 2005, there were reports that he received few votes in the conclave.[5] Tettamanzi was said to speak only Italian. He was little known outside his own country.[1]

In 2006, giving the opening address at the decennial conference of the Italian Catholic Church, he challenged the traditional alliance of the hierarchy with the country's conservative parties and called for more flexibility in forming alliances in contrast to the preference of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of the Italian Episcopal Conference, for Silvio Berlusconi. He said: "It is better to be Christian without saying it, than to proclaim it without being it."[5]

In response to Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum of July 2007, Tettamanzi stated that the rules it presented for the celebration of the Mass in different forms did not apply to the Milan archdiocese since it uses the Ambrosian Rite rather than the Roman.[6]

In March 2009, as required upon reaching the age of 75, he submitted his resignation,[7] and Pope Benedict accepted it on the 54th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, 28 June 2011. In retirement, Tettamanzi lived at the Villa Sacro Cuore [it], a retreat house of the Milan Archdiocese, in Triuggio.[8]

In July 2012, he was named apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Vigevano.[9] He served in that post for a year.[10]

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that selected Pope Francis.[11]

In 2015, at the behest of Pope Francis, he produced a study of the feasibility of creating a Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life for consideration by the Council of Cardinals.[12] In September 2015, Pope Francis nominated him to participate in the Synod on the Family in October.[13] He supported, under certain conditions, admitting the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist.[14]

He died on 5 August 2017, after a long illness.[1] Cardinal Tettamanzi is buried in the metropolitan Cathedral of Milan.[15]


Social relations[edit]

In his speech on St. Ambrose day in 2008, he said that Muslims have the right to build their mosques in the cities of predominantly Catholic countries.[16] In his speech on St. Ambrose day 2010 he defended immigrants to Italy against attempts to classify them as criminals.[17][18]

Remarried Catholics[edit]

In 2008, in a letter addressed to Catholics who had divorced and remarried, he wrote:[19]

The fact that these relationships are frequently lived with a sense of responsibility and with love among the couple and for the children is a reality that the Church and its pastors take into account. It is an error to think that the norm regulating access to Eucharistic Communion means that divorced and remarried couples are excluded from a life of faith and charity, lived within the ecclesial community.

He said he wanted to "establish dialogue ... to try to hear about your daily life, to allow myself to be questioned by some of your questions.... The Church has not forgotten nor rejected you, nor does it consider you unworthy. For the Church, and for me, as a bishop, you are my beloved brothers and sisters."[19]

In 2014, he published Il Vangelo della misericordia per le famiglie ferite (The Gospel of Mercy for Wounded Families) and said he anticipated allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion as long as there is no confusion about the Church's insistence on the indissolubility of marriage and there is "a restored commitment to Christian life through faithful paths that are true and serious."[20]


  1. ^ a b c d Giangravè, Claire (5 August 2017). "Progressive champion once seen as papal candidate dies in Milan". CRUX. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "College of Cardinals Biographical Notes: Tettamanzi, Card. Dionigi". Press Office of the Holy See. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Milano. Addio a Tettamanzi, pastore col cuore in mano". Avvenire (in Italian). 5 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2017. Extensive biography.
  4. ^ "Cardinal Tettamanzi Picked to Lead Milan Archdiocese". Zenit. 11 July 2002. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Allen Jr., John L. (21 October 2006). "Tettamanzi and the challenge of being Catholic on the left". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Vatican to clarify motu proprio soon". The Tablet. 17 November 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  7. ^ Tosatti, Marco. "Tettamanzi: ecco le dimissioni". La Stampa (in Italian). Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Ora Tettamzni vive a Triuggio" (in Italian). incrocinews. 19 September 2011. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Vigevano, la missione di Tettamanzi nella diocesi dei misteri". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 25 July 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Dionigi Tettamanzi saluta Vigevano Maurizio Gervasoni nuovo vescovo". Il Cittadino (in Italian). 20 July 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  11. ^ "List of Cardinal Electors". Zenit. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Eleventh Meeting of Council of Cardinals Concludes". Zenit. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Synod Will Include 45 Francis Nominees". The Tablet. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  14. ^ Matzuzzi, Matteo (5 August 2017). "Addio a Dionigi Tettamanzi, il cardinale che tentò di seppellire il ruinismo". Il Foglio. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Tettamanzi, Dionigi". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Tettamanzi: "Moschee nei quartieri"" (in Italian). Tgcom.mediaset.it. 6 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Il richiamo del cardinale Tettamanzi: non tutti gli immigrati sono delinquenti. Scarcerato Fikri" (in Italian). Il Sole 24 ORE. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  18. ^ Allen Jr., John L. (5 July 2009). "Tough immigration law in Italy spawns Catholic backlash, insider drama". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Cardinal: Church Does Not Reject the Divorced". Zenit. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  20. ^ Magister, Sandro (7 October 2014). "Dal conclave al sinodo. È sempre discordia tra i cardinali ambrosiani". L'Espresso. Retrieved 6 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Camillo Ruini
Secretary-General of the Italian Episcopal Conference
14 March 1991 – 20 April 1995
Succeeded by
Ennio Antonelli
Preceded by
Giovanni Canestri
Archbishop of Genova
20 April 1995 – 11 July 2002
Succeeded by
Tarcisio Bertone SDB
Preceded by
Carlo Maria Martini
Archbishop of Milan
11 July 2002 – 28 June 2011
Succeeded by
Angelo Scola
Preceded by
Ugo Poletti
Cardinal-Priest of SS Ambrogio e Carlo
21 February 1998 – 5 August 2017