Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Some Prelates to watch: Part Two



On Jan 31, 2012, Mgr Filippo Iannone, O.Carm (now aged 54 years), Bishop of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, was appointed vice-Regent of the Diocese of Rome. The vice-Regent is the senior Auxiliary Bishop, the deputy, to the Pope's Vicar General for Rome, currently Agostino Cardinal Vallini.

Cardinal Vallini was born on April 17, 1940 (your humble but esteemed scrivener here was born on the same date twelve years later) at Poli in the Diocese of Tivoli, Italy, but because of the war his family soon moved to Barra, Naples.

Ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Naples, His Eminence obtained his Licence in Sacred Theology at Naples before heading to the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome where he earned a doctorate in utroque iure in both canon and civil law (his dissertation was on the new Code of Canon Law). His Eminence became a noted Canon Lawyer, in time being appointed a Professor at the Pontifical Lateran University. He was named an auxiliary of Naples and provided to the titular See of Tortiboli on March 23, 1989. His episcopal ordination took place on May 13, 1989 in the cathedral of Naples. The Consecrator was His Eminence Michele Cardinal Giordano, archbishop of Naples. The Principal Co-Consecrators were Luigi Diligenza, archbishop of Capua, and Antonio Ambrosiano, archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia.

His Eminence was transferred to the suburbicarian see of Albano on November 13, 1999. Less than five years later he was named Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, on appointment being honoured as an archbishop. He was created Cardinal Deacon of San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo at the next consistory, on March 24, 2006. Just over two years later, on June 27, 2008, Pope Benedict named him his Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and thus Archpriest of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Ss. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran (to give it its proper title). He also became Grand Chancellor of his legal alma mater, the Pontifical Lateran University.

It would be safe to hazard that His Eminence must have had a great deal to do with the appointment of Mgr Iannone as his principal Auxiliary.

Mgr Iannone was born in Naples on December 13, 1957. After completing his high school education locally, he entered the Carmelite Order. Taking simple vows in 1977, he was solemnly professed three years later before being ordained priest on June 26, 1982. After graduating BTh, he followed Cardinal Vallini’s path to Rome to obtain the same legal qualification, a doctorate in utroque iure at the Pontifical Lateran University (while also attending special courses run by the Congregations for the Sacraments and for Religious). In 1987 Mgr Iannone qualified as an Advocate of the Sacred Roman Rota.

He subsequently held several positions of importance both within the Carmelite Order and the Archdiocese of Naples. In the Carmelite Order, he was commissariat procurator from 1985 to 1988, bursar from 1988 to 1991, commissariat councillor from 1988 to 1994 and Chairman of the Commission for the revision of the Constitutions from 1989 to 1995. In the Archiocese of Naples, he served as a lecturer in Canon Law at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy, a Judicial Vicar at the Diocesan Tribunal of Naples (1990-94), Episcopal Vicar (1994-96) and Vicar General (1996-2001).

It is hardly surprising, then, that Rome should have early identified Fr Filippo as a priest meriting and worthy of episcopal responsibilities. And so on April 12, 2001, he was named an Auxiliary Bishop of Naples and provided to the titular See of Nebbi. As with Cardinal Vallini, his episcopal ordination took place in the cathedral of Naples. His Consecrator on May 26, 2001 was also Cardinal Giordano. The Co-Consecrators were Bishop Vincenzo Pelvi, Auxiliary of Naples (now Archbishop of the Italian Military) and Mgr Agostino Vallini, then Bishop of Albano but today, as noted above, the Pope’s Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Vallini later appointed Mgr Iannone a member of the Apostolic Signatura. His Excellency is also a consultant for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In the Italian Episcopal Conference he is a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Chairman of the Committee for the Liturgy.


After spending eight years as an Auxiliary in Naples, on June 19, 2009, Mgr Iannone was translated to the nearby diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo as ordinary when Bishop Luca Brandolini retired. Less than three years later came the call to Rome. As Vice-Regent Mgr Iannone was named an Archbishop upon appointment.

At 64, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, is a mere youth by Roman Curia standards. In a bit over ten years time Cardinal Burke will retire and Archbishop Iannone will be the age His Eminence is today. Cardinal Burke's predecessor was Cardinal Vallini. There must be a very good chance that his successor will be Cardinal Vallini's deputy.

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