« Anton, Paul Antonelli, Giacomo Antonians »

Antonelli, Giacomo

ANTONELLI, ɑ̄n"to-nel´lî, GIACOMO, jɑ̄´cō-mō: Cardinal secretary of state under Pius IX. and chief political adviser of that pope; b. at Sonnino (64 m. s.e. of Rome), in the then Papal States, Apr. 2, 1806; d. in Rome Nov. 6, 1876. He received his earlier education at the Roman Seminary, then studied law at the Sapienza, and, after holding several minor posts in the papal government, was appointed delegate or governor successively of Orvieto, Viterbo, and Macerata. He showed so much force and judgment at the outbreak of the revolution of 1831 that Gregory XVI. found a place for him in the Ministry of the Interior, transferring him in 1845 to the position of treasurer of the Camera Apostolica or minister of finance. On his appointment in 1840 as canon of St. Peter’s he received deacon’s orders, but he never became a priest. Pius IX. made him a cardinal in 1847, and on the organization of the municipal council, in the autumn of that year, named him as its president. A few months later, on the establishment of a ministry on modern lines, he was again placed at the head (as president of the council, though Recchi was nominally prime minister), but soon resigned the position, becoming prefect of the pontifical palaces, in which position he organized the flight to Gaeta. Thence, as secretary of state, he conducted the negotiations which led to the pope’s return (Apr. 12, 1850); from which date till his death he remained at the head of public affairs under Pius IX.

As the strongest supporter of the reactionary policy, Antonelli was regarded by the Liberals as an incarnation of evil; but materials are not yet 206 at hand for the formation of a final judgment on his career. His opponents, however, admit that he was a man of genius in diplomacy and of unswerving constancy in the defense of his principles. His private life has been bitterly attacked, and it is true that he was more statesman than cleric. Whatever may be thought of his character, however, he was one of the strong men of the nineteenth century; and his name will be indissolubly connected in history with that of the pontiff whom he served so faithfully. See Pius IX.

Bibliography: A. de Waal, Cardinal Antonelli, Bonn. 1876; Tres hombres ilustres, Pio IX., Lamoricière y Antonelli, Madrid, 1860; E. Veuillot, Célébrités catholiques contemporaines, Paris, 1870; KL, i. 978-979.

« Anton, Paul Antonelli, Giacomo Antonians »
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