Cardinal, papal secretary of state; b. Sestri Levante (Genova), Italy, May 16, 1776; d. Rome, May 12, 1854. After completing his early studies at S. Margherite Ligure, he joined the barnabites and took his vows (Nov. 18, 1794). His philosophical studies were made at Macerata and his theological course at Rome, but the installation of the Roman Republic caused him to transfer to Genoa. Subsequent to his ordination (Jan. 1, 1799), he taught in various colleges of the Barnabites. In 1814 he began a career of intense activity in the Roman Curia. He was appointed consultor (August 1814) and then secretary (March 1816) in the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. As theological consultor he collaborated with the secretary of state Cardinal Ercole consalvi in concluding concordats with Tuscany (1815) and Naples (1818) and in many other ecclesiastical matters of special importance. As vicar-general for Cardinal Francesco Fontana, he helped restore Barnabite colleges suppressed during the Napoleonic epoch in Italy. He was appointed archbishop of Genoa (1819) and nuncio to France (November 1826), while retaining the See of Genoa until 1830. In the Paris nunciature (1827–31) he demonstrated decisively his opposition to liberalism and to popular sovereignty. He was opposed to the July Revolution and remained loyal to the Bourbons, but he was hostile toward the house of Orléans. The new French government demanded his recall (1831).
Upon returning to Rome, Lambruschini, who had meanwhile been named titular archbishop of Beirut (July 5, 1830), was created a cardinal (Sept. 30, 1831). He became prefect of the Congregation of Regular Discipline (1832) and then prefect of the Congregation of Studies (1835). From 1832 he served also in the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. In January 1836 gregory xvi appointed him secretary of state, a post he held until the pope's death (June 1, 1846). At the papal conclave in 1846 Lambruschini received 15 votes in the first ballot. pius ix selected him as a member of the Congregation of State. Lambruschini also conducted the diplomatic arrangements with Russia for the concordat signed Aug. 3, 1847.
Toward the end of 1848 he fled Rome for Naples, where he was often consulted by Pius IX, who was in exile at Gaeta. After the fall of the short-lived Roman Republic, Lambruschini returned to Rome and served as prefect of the Congregation of Rites, secretary of briefs, librarian of the Roman Church, and bishop of Porto and S. Rufina, and of Civitavecchia. His role was very important in the preparation of the decree defining the Immaculate Conception (1854).
Lambruschini's knowledge of philosophy and theology was vast. He showed himself always an intransigent conservative and a strenuous defender of the Church's doctrines and of the Holy See's rights. He did not, however, comprehend contemporary problems. He realized the need for better education of the clergy, but he did not understand how the clergy could be dedicated to the instruction and education of all the faithful. In general he mistrusted all innovations in cultural, spiritual, ecclesiastical, political, and social areas.
Bibliography: l. lambruschini, La mia nunziatura di Francia, ed. p. pirri (Bologna 1934). a. giampaolo, "La preparazione politica del cardinale L…," Rassegna storica del Risorgimento 18 (1931) 81–163. g. boffito, Scrittori Barnabiti, 4 v. (Florence 1933–37) 2:312–336. j. grisar, "Die Allokution Gregors XVI vom 10. Dez. 1837," in Gregorio XVI Miscellanea Commemorativa, 2 v. (Rome 1948) 2:441–560. p. droulers, "La Nonciature de Paris et les troubles sociaux-politiques sous la Monarchie de juillet," in Saggi storici intorno al Papato dei professori della Facoltà di storia ecclesiastica (Miscellanea historiae pontificiae 21; Rome 1959) 401–463. l. m. manzini, Il cardinale L. Lambruschini (Studi e Testi 203; 1960).