Ferrata, Domenico

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Cardinal, secretary of state of Benedict XV; b. Gradoli (Viterbo), March 4, 1847; d. Rome, Oct. 10, 1914. After receiving in Rome doctorates in Canon Law, theology, and philosophy, he taught Canon Law there at St. Apollinaris (1876) and at the College of Propaganda (1877). He entered the papal diplomatic service at the urging of Pius IX and became auditor in the nunciature in Paris (187983). In 1883 he was named director of the Accademia dei nobili ecclesiastici. In the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, he was undersecretary (1883), and secretary (1889). Leo XIII sent him four times on delicate missions to Switzerland to settle difficulties between dioceses and cantons (188388). He was designated titular archbishop of Thessalonica and nuncio to Brussels (1885). When sent as nuncio to Paris (1891), he was the principal architect, as well as executor, of Leo XIII's policy regarding the ralliement. He became a cardinal in 1896. After returning to Rome (1899), he was named successively prefect of four congregations: Indulgences (1899); Rites (1900); Religious (1902); and Discipline of the Sacraments (1908); and then secretary of the Holy Office (1913). Benedict XV appointed him secretary of state a few weeks before his death. Of his Mémoires (3 v., 192021) Benedict XV said, "They should serve as a guide and example for ecclesiastics called to the Church's diplomatic corps."

Bibliography: u. stutz, Die päpstliche Diplomatie unter Leo XIII nach den Denkwürdigkeiten des Kardinals Domenico Ferrata (Berlin 1926). g. jacquemet, Catholiscisme 4:119899.

[w. h. peters]