Gianfranco Ravasi


Gianfranco Ravasi

infobox bishopstyles
name=Gianfranco Ravasi
dipstyle=The Most Reverend
offstyle=His Excellency
relstyle=Monsignor
deathstyle=not applicable |

Gianfranco Ravasi (born 18 October 1942 in Merate, Italy) is the current President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Pope Benedict, it has been said, did not simply give his approval to this. He personally willed it, overcoming resistance. For years Ravasi has been a candidate for everything; he was even in the running for archbishop of Milan, but he has always been stuck at the gate.

His first books were of pure biblical exegesis, like the three imposing volumes of his commentary on the Psalms. And so came the revelation of Ravasi as a great populariser. If today the Sacred Scriptures have become familiar to many in Italy, this is due in large part to this priest born in the Brianza region, in Merate, in 1942.

As a professor of exegesis in the theological faculty of Milan, Ravasi immediately stuck out as extraordinary. He knew how to make himself understood by all, with simple words, within and above all outside of the academic halls.

In 1989 the post of prefect of the Ambrosian Library and Gallery, in Milan, remained unoccupied, it was natural that the appointment should go to him, a great expert not only in ancient and modern books, but also in art and music. With Ravasi as prefect, the institution founded in 1607 by Federigo Cardinal Borromeo got a jolt of celebrity unequaled in its four centuries of history.

In 2005 it seemed done; the bishopric of Assisi was ready for him: a small diocese, but of great importance worldwide. Then on 25 June, the Congregation for Bishops gathered its members for the final examination, on the table appeared the clippings of an article Ravasi published on 31 March 2002 in the Sunday supplement of the economics and finance newspaper “"Il Sole 24 Ore"”. The article was about Easter, and the headline read: “"He was not raised; he arose."” Brows were furrowed; some said this was an attack on correct doctrine. Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, prefect of the congregation, withdrew his candidacy.

On 2 September 2007 he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology. On 29 September he was ordained bishop by Pope Benedict XVI with the dignity of titular archbishop of Villamagna in Proconsulari. Before becoming member of the Roman Curia, he was prefect of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy.

As per tradition it is expected that Archbishop Ravasi will be created a Cardinal-Deacon at the next consistory sometime in the future by Pope Benedict possibly in 2010.

Some commentators have claimed that Archbishop Ravasi will be the next Archbishop of Milan, replacing Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi. However,the same writers would consider him "papabile" in either position [http://ncrcafe.org/node/1781] .


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