July 20, 2010

Cardinal Enrico Dante (1884-1967) - Legendary Master of Papal Ceremonies




Birth. July 5, 1884, Rome, Italy. Son of Achille Dante, a devoted supporter of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian patriot, and Zenaide Ingegni; she died when Enrico was 8 years old; he had a brother who was a missionary in Brazil.

Education. Secondary studies with the Fathers of Sion, Paris; Collegio Capranica, Rome, from 1901; Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (doctorates in philosophy, theology canon law and civil law); Sacred Roman Rota, Rome (diploma of advocate rotale).

Priesthood. Ordained, July 3, 1910, church of S. Apollinare, Rome, by Giuseppe Ceppetelli, titular Latin patriarch of Constantinople, vice-gerent of Rome. Professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum "De Propaganda Fide," Roma, 1911 until 1928; and of theology 1928-1947. Official in the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, 1913. Member of the College of Pontifical Ceremoniers, March 25, 1914. In 1923, Pope Pius XI asked him to reopen the nunciature in Paris but he declined because he had two sisters in Rome and did not want to leave them behind. Substitute adjunct of the S.C. of Rites, October 26, 1923; substitute, September 28, 1930. Domestic prelate of His Holiness, May 15, 1943. Under-secretary of the S.C. Ceremonial, May 27, 1943. Prefect of pontifical ceremonies, June 13, 1947. Pro-secretary of the S.C. of Rites, January 24, 1959; secretary, January 5, 1960. Pastoral ministry in Agro Romano and in Torre Nova, as well as in the patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome. Dean of the chapter of the church of S. Maria in Monte, piazza del Popolo, Rome. Administered the sacrament of confession for forty years in the church of Sacro Cuore al Suffragio, Rome. He was an enthusiastic athlete and helped to inaugurate the Rome soccer team; he was also a mountaineer. As papal ceremoniere he participated in the conclaves of 1914, 1922, 1939, 1958 and 1963 and the coronation of Popes Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI. He was the first papal master of ceremonies to assist the pope in a consecration of a bishop, Gabriel Acacius Coussa, O.S.B.A., future cardinal, of the Byzantine rite.

Photo album


Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Carpasia, August 28, 1962. Consecrated, September 21, 1962, patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome, by Pope John XXIII, assisted by Francesco Carpino, titular archbishop of Sardica, assessor of the S.C. Consistorial, and by Pietro Parente, titular archbishop of Teolemaide di Tebaide, assessor of the Supreme S.C. of the Holy Office. In the same ceremony were consecrated future Cardinals Cesare Zerba, Pietro Palazzini, and Paul-Pierre Philippe, O.P. Attended the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 22, 1965; received the red biretta and the title of S. Agata dei Goti, deaconry elevated pro illa vice to title, February 25, 1965. Pope Paul VI visited him in the hospital, where he was convalescing, on April 6, 1967.

Death. April 24, 1967, in the early morning, Rome. Buried, basilica of S. Agata dei Goti, Rome (1).

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Source: 'The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church'