Rampolla del Tindaro, Mariano
RAMPOLLA DEL TINDARO, MARIANO
Cardinal, secretary of state; b. Polizzi, Sicily, Aug. 17, 1843; d. Rome, Dec. 16, 1913. Of noble birth, he had to brave paternal hostility to pursue his priestly studies in Rome, receiving ordination in 1866. Following legal studies he became doctor in utroque jure (1870). He then served the secretariate of state in the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs until 1875 when he went to Spain as counselor in the nunciature, becoming chargé d'affaires in 1876. Grave political disturbances were troubling Spain, with Catholics divided between the Carlists and Alfonsists. The representative of the Holy See had to try to pacify these opposing parties.
Msgr. Rampolla was called to Rome (1877) by Pius IX to become secretary for affairs of the Oriental rite in the Congregation for the propagation of the faith. Aided by his grasp of Oriental languages, he sought to end the Armenian schism; he reached a solution in 1879. He served as secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs from Nov. 16, 1880, until his appointment, Oct. 25, 1882, as nuncio to Madrid. On Dec. 8, 1882, he was consecrated titular archbishop of Heraclea. Msgr. Della Chiesa, the future benedict xv, acted as his secretary. The new nuncio urged Spanish Catholics to distinguish the cause of religion from that of political parties. In dioceses he favored lay associations promoting a rigorously Catholic program. He also contributed to the erection of an episcopal see in Madrid, which until 1885 had been dependent on the Diocese of Toledo. It was to Rampolla that Cardinal jacobini, Secretary of State, addressed the important letter (April 13, 1885) on the powers of nuncios. The nuncio's good offices permitted the Holy See to act as mediator between Spain and Germany in the dispute over the Caroline Islands, which was settled in December 1885.
Named cardinal (March 14, 1887), Rampolla succeeded Jacobini as secretary of state, June 1, 1887, and held the post until Leo XIII's death, July 20, 1903. It would be extremely difficult to differentiate the respective roles of Pope and secretary in the conduct of pontifical diplomacy during these 16 years. Their views were identical, according to witnesses. It is significant that leo xiii, after some months of hesitation, chose Rampolla rather than Luigi Galimberti, who favored a modus vivendi with Italy and good relations with the Central Powers. As matters turned out, hope for a settlement of the roman question gradually subsided. Italy's association with Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance led Rome to seek an entente with France and Russia. Cardinal Rampolla sympathized with France; interested himself in the southern Slavs who were subject to Austria-Hungary; sought cordial relations with Russia; wished to see the Church endorse democratic aspirations; and favored decidedly the Christian social movement in Austria. These explain Austria's hostility to the secretary of state, manifested most notoriously at the conclave in 1903 when Cardinal Puzyna stifled all chance of Rampolla's election, after he had received 29 votes, by exercising his government's veto power.
Pius X appointed Rampolla secretary of the Holy Office, and also as a member and then president of the pontifical biblical commission. His manner of life was retired, austere, and free of personal ambition.
Bibliography: c. crispolti and g. aureli, eds., La politica di Leone XIII da Luigi Galimberti a Mariano Rampolla (Rome 1912). p. sinopoli di giunta, Il cardinale Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro (Rome 1923). b. cerretti, Il cardinale Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro (Rome 1929). e. soderini, Il pontificato di Leone XIII, 3 v. (Milan 1932–33). f. engel-janosi, Österreich und der Vatikan, 1846–1918, 2 v. (Graz 1958–60).
[j. m. mayeur]
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