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Francesco Coccopalmerio

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Rank  Cardinal-Deacon
Consecration  May 22, 1993
Denomination  Roman Catholic
Appointed  February 15, 2007

Name  Francesco Coccopalmerio
Ordination  June 28, 1962
Francesco Coccopalmerio Pope Benedict XVI installs new Italian Cardinal Francesco
Other posts  Cardinal-Deacon of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami Titular Archbishop of Coeliana
Birth name  Francesco Coccopalmerio
Born  6 March 1938 (age 77) San Giuliano Milanese (1938-03-06)
Previous post  Auxiliary Bishop of Milan (1993–2007) Titular Bishop of Coeliana (1993–2007)
Motto  Iustus Ut Palma Florebit
Education  Pontifical Gregorian University, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart

Created cardinal  February 18, 2012
Predecessor  Julian Herranz Casado

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Francesco Coccopalmerio (6 March 1938) is a prelate of the Catholic Church who has been president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 15 February 2007.


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Early life

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Coccopalmerio was born in San Giuliano Milanese, Italy, where his parents were living during World War II, on 6 March 1938 and raised in Sernio, his mother's home town. He was ordained a priest on 28 June 1962 by Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI), then the archbishop of Milan. He received a licentiate in theology in 1963. He received a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1968. In 1976 he obtained a doctorate in law at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

Archdiocese of Milan

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He held positions in the archdiocese of Milan until 1994. He was professor of canon law at the Faculty of Theology in northern Italy from 1966 to 1999. Since 1981, he has been a professor of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Francesco Coccopalmerio John Thavis A top Vatican canonist argues for pastoral

On 10 April 1993, Pope John Paul II appointed Coccopalmerio an auxiliary bishop of Milan with the titular see of Coeliana. He was consecrated bishop on 22 May of that year. Within the Italian Episcopal Conference, he is one of the leading voices on legal issues and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. Since 2000, Coccopalmerio has been a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

Francesco Coccopalmerio Missa pro eligendo le facce dei cardinali

On 15 February 2007, he was given the personal title of archbishop and appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Since 2008, at the direction of Pope Benedict, one of his principal responsibilities has been the revision to procedures for handling clergy sex abuse and the applicable punishments. In 2014, he explained: "We want to make this delicate material more accessible, more understandable and easier for bishops to apply." At issue is "Book VI: Sanctions in the Church".

Coccopalmerio was reported to have been one of the senior cardinals who, in preparing to announce the lifting of the excommunications of four leaders of the Society of Saint Pius X in January 2009, failed to take account of recent reports that one of them, Bishop Richard Williamson, was a Holocaust denier.

He was appointed a five-year renewable term as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 23 December 2010.

On 18 February 2012, Pope Benedict XVI created him cardinal-deacon of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami. He retains voting rights in papal conclaves until 8 March 2018, his 80th birthday. On 21 April 2012, Cardinal Coccopalmerio was named a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Apostolic Signatura, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. On 22 December 2012, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He can hold these memberships until his 80th birthday.

At the Synod of Bishops on New Evangelization in October 2012, Coccopalmerio argued that ecumenical efforts to further unify Christians across sectarian lines could play a pivotal role in countering the ongoing "de-Christianization" of Europe by presenting "an extraordinary sign to Islam" of Christian solidarity.

Rise of Jorge Bergoglio

In the meetings of cardinals that preceded the papal conclave of March 2013, Cardinal Coccopalmerio proposed to create a moderator of the Curia, a prelate who would identify inconsistencies and devise methods of ensuring consistency among departments of the Roman Curia that sometimes contradict one another. The idea was widely appreciated by some cardinals but some were wary that such an appointment would act as a "vice-pope" that would effectively set Vatican and Curial policy or duplicate the already considerable authority of the Substitute in the Sectetariate of State, who already fills the role of the Pope's "chief of staff".

In advance of that conclave, he said: "It's time to look outside Italy and Europe, in particular considering Latin America." He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis, and was mentioned in the Italian press as a possible pope. According to one report, he received more votes in the conclave than any other Italian cardinal because of his proposal for reform of the Roman Curia.

Synod on the Family

On 27 August 2014, Pope Francis named him to a working group tasked with speeding up the process for assessing the nullity of a marriage. Its work resulted in changes implemented by Francis in September 2015, which eliminated obligatory appeals, eased the dismissal of appeals in certain instances, and instituted a shorter process in some cases.

Following the first session of the Synod on the Family held in October 2014, he expressed disappointment that not all the participants addressed the pastoral needs of those "who are suffering through problems connected to their relationships" and instead "showed that they simply wanted to reaffirm the doctrine". He provided an example:

We have both doctrine and people to consider. Let's consider a very problematic topic, extremely current: the topic of homosexual couples. If I meet a same-sex couple, I observe right away that their relationship is illicit: That is what the doctrine says, and I reaffirm that with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, if I stop at doctrine, I don't see the people anymore. But if I observe that two people really do love each other, say they practice charity towards the needy...then I can also say that, while their relation remains illicit, in those two people there emerge positive elements. Instead of closing my eyes to those positive aspects, I want to underline them. It is a matter of being objective and recognizing, objectively, the positive points in a given relationship, that is illicit in itself.

He also endorsed the idea of access to the Eucharist for some Catholics in irregular marital situations. He offered the example of a woman who lives with a man who has three small children by a wife who abandoned him. He imagined her coming to Communion "during her father’s funeral Mass, or the day of one of the children’s confirmation". Fearing the consequences of asking her to abandon the man and the children, he asked: "So would it really be totally impossible to admit her to communion? In admitting her to communion, would I be going against the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage? I really don’t think so: In fact, this has to do with a case of exception."

Roman Curia work under Francis

In January 2015, Pope Francis named Coccopalmerio to a new board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that reviews appeals from clergy found guilty of sexual abuse of minors.

In 2015, Cardinal Coccopalmerio questioned the scope of the authority given to the Secretariat for the Economy and its prefect Cardinal Pell. These questions involved not the demand for transparency in all financial operations, but the consolidation of management under the Secretariat for the Economy.

In 2017, he said provisions of Amoris Laetitia allow people in irregular marriage access to the sacraments only if they recognize their situation is sinful and desire to change it. The fact that such a couple also believes changing the situation immediately by splitting would cause more harm and forgoing sexual relations would threaten their current relationship does not rule out the possibility of receiving sacramental absolution and Communion.

Secretary Scandal

Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, the secretary of Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, was caught and arrested by Vatican gendarmerie for hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in 2017 that took place in the former Palace of the Holy Office, a building that's currently being used by various high-ranking churchmen, including prefects, presidents, and secretaries to the Roman Curia. At the time of the arrest, Msgr. Capozzi was allegedly so high on cocaine that he was hospitalized for detoxification for a short period in the Pius XI clinic in Rome. He is currently in an undisclosed convent in Italy undergoing a spiritual retreat, Italian media reported. Msgr. Capozzi’s arrest comes on the verge of him being appointed a bishop on the recommendation of his superior, Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio.


Francesco Coccopalmerio Wikipedia