Fernando Cento

Fernando Cento

infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Fernando Cardinal Cento| dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Velletri-Segni (suburbicarian see)|
"His Most Reverend Eminence" Fernando Cardinal Cento (10 August 1883 - 13 January 1973) was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and was former Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary.

Fernando Cento was born in Pollenza, Italy. His parents were Evaristo Cento and his second wife, Ermelinda Andreani. He had a half-sister, Rosa, and a brother, Vincenzo.


He was educated at the Seminary of Macerata from 1893-1905 where he was taugh philosophy and theology and later at the Pontifical Gregorian University where he was taught canon law. He continued his studies at La Sapienza University, Rome where he obtained a doctorate in letters. He received the diaconate on December 17 1905 in the basilica of the Madonna della Misericordia.


He was ordained on Saturday 23 December 1905 in Macerata; he had to obtain a dispensation for not having yet reached the canonical age of 23 years required to be ordained a priest. He served as professor of literature at the Seminary of Macerata; and of philosophy at the State Institute of Macerata from 1906-1916. He demonstrated excellent qualities as a preacher in several Italian dioceses. He was called to the military service when Italy entered the First World War in 1915 and was attached to the Service of Health at the military hospital of Ancona from 1915-1917. He was created Privy chamberlain of His Holiness on 15 November 1917.


He was appointed Bishop of Acireale by Pope Pius XI on 22 July 1922. He was consecrated on 3 September 1922, by Giovanni Cardinal Tacci Porcelli, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Church, assisted by Domenico Pasi, bishop of Macerata-Tolentino, and by Placido Ferniani, bishop of Ruvo e Bitonto. He was promoted to titular archbishop of Seleucia Pieria on 24 June 1926 and was appointed nuncio in Venezuela four days later. He remained in Venezuela until he was transferred to Peru on 26 July 1936. As well as his duties in Peru he was charged with the affairs of the church in Ecuador, which did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See for nearly forty years. He was named nuncio in Ecuador on July 25 1937, after having successfully negotiated the modus vivendi with the Ecuadorian government, which established the diplomatic relations between both states. He was the Extraordinary ambassador to the inauguration of President Manuel Prado y Ugarteche of Perú, on 8 December 1939. and extraordinary ambassador to the inauguration of Juan Antonio Ríos Morales of Chile on April 2 1942. Extraordinary ambassador to the inauguration of President José Luis Bustamante y Rivero of Perú on July 28, 1945. He remained in Latin America until he was appointed as nuncio to Belgium and Luxemburg on 9 March 1946. He served as Extraordinary papal envoy to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on 2 June 1953 and was Nuncio in Portugal, from 1953.


He was created Cardinal-Priest of "Sant'Eustachio" (deaconry elevated pro hac vice to title) by Pope John XXIII in the consistory of December 15 1958. He was appointed as Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary on 12 February 1962. He attended the Second Vatican Council that was called by Pope John. He participated in the conclave of 1963 that elected Pope Paul VI. He was elected to the order of Cardinal bishop taking the title of the suburbicarian see of Velletri on 23 April 1965. He resigned his post of Major Penitentiary in 1967. He lost the right to participate any future conclaves by being older than eighty years in 1 January 1971.


He died in 1973, at 4 a.m., Rome. On that same day, Pope Paul visited the chapel where the body of the cardinal was exposed. The funeral mass, celebrated by Luigi Punzolo, titular archbishop of Sebastea, apostolic administrator of Velletri, took place in the patriarchal Vatican basilica on January 16 at 10:30 a.m. Luigi Cardinal Traglia represented the pope in the final commendation. A large number of cardinals, archbishops and bishops of the Roman Curia, as well as from Macerata, Pollenza and Acireale, attended the funeral. A funeral mass in the cathedral of Macerata was presided by Bishop Ersilio Tonini, bishop of Macerata, and concelebrated by 100 priests and numerous bishops. The funeral in Pollenza was a demonstration of the esteem of its population for the late cardinal. His mortal remains were buried in the parish church of S. Antonio, Pollenza, where he had celebrated his first mass.

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