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Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi: Profile of a Candidate for Pope

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Who is Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi?:

Dionigi Tettamanzi was born on March 14, 1934, in Renate, Italy.

Background and Early Life of Dionigi Tettamanzi:

Dionigi Tettamanzi entered the seminary when he was just 11 years old and was ordained in 1957 by archbishop of Milan Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI. In 1989 he became archbishop of Ancona; two years later he became secretary of the Italian bishops’ conference. In 1995 he was named archbishop of Genoa

Current Status of Dionigi Tettamanzi:

Dionigi Tettamanzi is cardinal-archbishop of Milan, one of the world’s largest archdioceses with 5 million Catholics and 1,000 parishes.

Theology of Dionigi Tettamanzi:

Dionigi Tettamanzi is moderate to conservative on theological issues. In recent years he has increased his support among conservatives by praising Opus Dei and its founder Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer. He is thought to have helped Pope Paul VI write his controversial 1968 encyclical condemning contraception, Humanae Vitae. On the other hand, he has also supported antiglobalization protests and encouraged greater involvement in social justice issues.

Assessment of Dionigi Tettamanzi:

Dionigi Tettamanzi is probably the leading Italian candidate for pope. The Italian contingent of cardinals is fairly well disciplined and likely want to return the papacy to an Italian, so if they are able to succeed it will likely be with Tettamanzi.

On the other hand, Dionigi Tettamanzi does not appear to support decentralization efforts — in 1989, he refused to sign a petition calling for less “centrist” rule in the Vatican. He doesn’t speak many languages and he hasn’t traveled a great deal.

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