Dionigi Tettamanzi


August 19, 2022

Dionigi Tettamanzi (Renate, March 14, 1934 - Triuggio, Italy, August 5, 2017) was an Italian cleric, cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was archbishop emeritus of Milan, elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1998. Before his service in Milan, he was archbishop of Genoa.


Tettamanzi was born in Renate, then in the province of Milan (today in the province of Monza and Brianza). At the age of 11, in 1945, he entered the minor seminary of Seveso and the seminary of Venegono Inferiore and, finally, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in theology. He was ordained priest on June 28, 1957 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini. He served as rector of the archbishopric of Milan, as well as a trainer of the minor seminaries of Masnago and Seveso San Pietro between 1960 and 1966; as well as at the major seminary of Venegono between 1966 and 1986. He was professor of moral theology at the Venegono Inferiore seminary from 1959; due to his predilection for the topics of marriage, sexuality or bioethics, he was asked by Pope John Paul II to collaborate in the writing of some of his encyclicals. Appointed rector of the Pontifical Lombard Seminary in Rome in 1987, he worked at the service of the Pontifical Curia and the Italian Episcopal Conference.


On July 1, 1989, Pope John Paul II named him Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo. He received his episcopal consecration from the hands of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini SJ in the Duomo of Milan on the following 23 September, with Archbishop Carlo Maccari and Bishop Bernardo Citterio as co-consecrators. On being elected General Secretary and Vice-President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Tettamanzi submitted his resignation as bishop on April 6, 1991. Pope John Paul II called Tettamanzi back to active ministerial service, appointing him Archbishop of Genoa on April 20, 1995. On February 21, 1998, he was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, with the title of Cardinal Prester of Ss. Ambrose and Carlo. When Cardinal Martini's retirement was announced, Tettamanzi was named the new Archbishop of Milan on July 11, 2002. On September 24, he received the Pope's pallium in the private chapel of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, and entered solemnly in the archdiocese on September 29 of the same year. With the death and funeral of Pope John Paul II, intense speculation about his successor began. Tettamanzi's situation at the head of an archdiocese that has historically been seen as a step towards the Papacy (and considered one of the richest and most powerful Italian dioceses), as well as his charisma and popularity among the people place him according to the press Italian in one of the favorites to succeed John Paul II. He himself seemed to count on success, making an elaborate photo-call on his march from the diocese to the conclave. The press portrayed him as one of the leading Italian candidates, but Italian cardinals are now a minority in the College of Cardinals. Also, Tettamanzi is not a figure at international level. It is said that he had no more than two votes. The choice fell on the German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Cardinal Tettamanzi speaks only Italian, which is a disadvantage at a time when national leaders, and especially popes, are required to speak several foreign languages. In addition, it is little known outside Italy. In response to Pope Benedict's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Tettamanzi controversially stated that that document would not apply to northern Italian dioceses, as they use the Ambrosian rite rather than the Roman one. March 20, 2008 , Tettamanzi published the new Lectionary of the Ambrosian rite, previously confirmed with the Holy See, which supervised the experimental edition of 1976, fulfilling for this rite the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council. The decision to comply with the reform had already been mad