Giovanni Cheli
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Giovanni Cheli

His Eminence

Giovanni Cheli
President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants
SeeSS Cosma e Damiano
Appointed18 September 1986 (Pro-Prefect)
Term ended15 June 1998
PredecessorEmanuele Clarizio
SuccessorStephen Fumio Hamao
Other postsCardinal-Priest of SS Cosma e Damiano
Ordination21 June 1942
by Umberto Rossi
Consecration16 September 1978
by Jean-Marie Villot
Created cardinal21 February 1998
Personal details
Born(1918-10-04)4 October 1918
Turin, Italy
Died8 February 2013(2013-02-08) (aged 94)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Archbishop of Santa Giusta (1978-1998)
  • Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations (1978-1986)
  • Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano (1998-2008)
Mottounitas in charitate
Coat of armsGiovanni Cheli's coat of arms
Styles of
Giovanni Cheli
Coat of arms of Giovanni Cheli.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeSanta Giusta (titular see)

Giovanni Cheli (4 October 1918 - 8 February 2013) was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church, who had a career in the diplomatic service of the Holy See and then in the senior ranks of the Roman Curia. He was made a cardinal in 1998.

Early years

Cheli was born in Turin, Italy. He was educated at the seminary of Asti and soon developed his skills in canon law. At the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome he obtained his doctorate in that subject in 1942 and was ordained on 21 April of that year. Cheli returned to the parish of Asti and became diocesan vice-counselor of the Young Men of Catholic Action.


He prepared for a career in the diplomatic corps at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.[1] He entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1952. At first, Cheli had the minor role of attaché of the nunciature in Guatemala and then in more important roles in Spain and Italy. He also did pastoral work in Madrid and worked for the Pontifical Council for Public Affairs from 1967 to 1973.

He became Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in 1973.[2] By this time Cheli was known for his knowledge of the problems the Vatican encountered relating to the communist nations of Eastern Europe.

On 8 September 1978, Pope John Paul I named him titular archbishop of Santa Giusta and gave him the rank of nuncio,[3] though his title remained permanent observer. He received his episcopal consecration on 16 September.[3]

Roman Curia

He was named Pro-Prefect of the Pontifical Commission for Migration and Tourism in 18 September 1986, and his title changed to President when it was reorganized as the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in 1988.[3]

John Paul II made Cheli Cardinal-Deacon of Ss. Cosma e Damiano in the consistory of 21 February 1998. On 1 March 2008, he was elevated to Cardinal-Priest.

On 15 June 1998, he retired from his role at the Pontifical Council upon the appointment of his successor, Stephen Fumio Hamao.

He continued to be outspoken in retirement. He criticized the rule excluding cardinals over the age of 80 from participating in a papal conclave. He told a journalist in December 2003: "It is a great deprivation for cardinals. Perhaps different limits can be used in future. Perhaps those whose minds have gone should not vote. We all know who they are. And some of them are in their seventies."[4] Behind the scenes he participated in a campaign in opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's appointments of Tarcisio Bertone as Secretary of State, believing Bertone lacked the requisite diplomatic experience.[5]

He was decorated with the Order of Isabel the Catholic and named commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and of the Verdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Cheli died on 8 February 2013 of natural causes, at the age of 94. His funeral was held on 9 February at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City with Cardinal Angelo Sodano saying the Mass.[6]


  1. ^ "Pontificia Accademia Ecclesiastica, Ex-alunni 1950 - 1999" (in Italian). Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Laird, a 'Stayer,' Denies Rumors of Quitting". New York Times. 28 July 1973. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Cheli Card. Giovanni". Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Arie, Sophie (25 October 2003). "Cardinals rebel at second-class status". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ Magister, Sandro (27 June 2006). "A Change of Tune in the Vatican - And Not Only in the Secretariat of State". La Repubblica. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "Cardinal Giovanni Cheli dies, 94 years old". Retrieved 2013.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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