Giacomo Biffi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His Eminence

Giacomo Biffi
Cardinal, Archbishop of Bologna
Installed19 April 1984
Term ended16 December 2003
PredecessorEnrico Manfredini
SuccessorCarlo Caffarra
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Petronio
Ordination23 December 1950
by Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, O.S.B.
Consecration11 January 1976
by Giovanni Colombo
Created cardinal25 May 1985
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Giacomo Biffi

(1928-06-13)13 June 1928
Died11 July 2015(2015-07-11) (aged 87)
Bologna, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
  • Titular Bishop of Fidenae (1975-1984)
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Milan (1975-1984)
MottoUbi Fides Ibi Libertas
Coat of armsGiacomo Biffi's coat of arms
Styles of
Giacomo Biffi
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeBologna (Emeritus)

Giacomo Biffi (13 June 1928 – 11 July 2015) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna, having served as archbishop there from 1984 to 2003. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1985.


Biffi was born in Milan and studied at the seminaries of the Archdiocese of Milan. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, O.S.B., Archbishop of Milan, on 23 December 1950. From 1951 to 1960, Biffi taught dogmatic theology at the Seminary of Milan, also publishing numerous works on theology, catechetics and meditation. He received a doctorate in theology from the Faculty of Theology at Venegono in 1955; his thesis was entitled: La colpa e la libertà nell'odierna condizione umana.

From 1960 to 1975, he did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Milan, serving as a parish priest at Santi Martiri Anauniani in Legnano (1960–1969) and later at Sant'Andrea in Milan (1969–1975). Biffi became Episcopal Vicar for Culture in 1974, and a canon theologian of the metropolitan chapter of Milan on 1 February 1975. He also served as director of the Istituto Lombardo di Pastorale and the Commission for the Ambrosian Rite.

On 7 December 1975, Biffi was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Milan and Titular Bishop of Fidenae by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on 11 January 1976 from Cardinal Giovanni Colombo, with Bishops Bernardo Citterio and Libero Tresoldi serving as co-consecrators. Within the Italian Episcopal Conference, he served on commissions for doctrine, catechetics, culture and liturgy.

Following the death of Enrico Manfredini, Biffi was named Archbishop of Bologna on 19 April 1984 and installed on the following 1 June. He was elected President of the Episcopal Conference of Emilia-Romagna on 7 July 1984. Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal-Priest of Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Petronio in the consistory of 25 May 1985. Biffi preached the Lent spiritual exercises for the pope and Roman Curia in 1989. He retired from the governance of the archdiocese in December 2003 and was succeeded by Carlo Caffarra.

Biffi was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. According to a leaked diary, he received one vote on the fourth ballot[citation needed] and subsequently discovered it was of Joseph Ratzinger.[1]

In 2008, he turned 80 and lost the right to participate in future conclaves. He died on 11 July 2015.[2]


In 2000, Biffi told a Bologna conference that the Antichrist would most likely be a prominent philanthropist promoting the ideas of ecumenism, vegetarianism, and pacifism.[3] Many of these predictions originate from the 19th century Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, in whom Biffi is well-studied.[4] Biffi believed that ecumenicism promotes the dilution of Catholic doctrine (a view common among conservative Catholics) and thereby encourages the acceptance of the Antichrist.[5]

He also held views that, while conservative, are in agreement with the Catholic teaching on homosexual acts, freemasonry, and feminism.[citation needed] Biffi has stated that an "ideology of homosexuality" threatens to marginalize whoever disagrees with the homosexual agenda,[6] and that Catholics must prepare for persecution by homosexual activists and their allies.[7]

Cardinal Biffi also once said that the Italian government should favour Catholic immigrants to offset the number of Muslim immigrants to protect Italy's "national identity".[8] He has denounced journalists as "rats".[7]

In 2007, Biffi expounded on many of his views by publishing Memorie e digressioni di un italiano cardinale (Memoirs and digressions of an Italian cardinal).[9]


  1. ^ "È morto l'arcivescovo emerito Giacomo Biffi, il teologo della 'città sazia e disperata'" [In memory of the cardinal Biffi]. Il Resto del Carlino (in Italian). Bologna. 11 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Italian Cardinal Biffi dies at 87". Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Cardinal: Antichrist is a vegetarian". BBC. 6 March 2000.
  4. ^ Biffi, H.E. Giacomo Cardinal (6 March 2007). "Vladimir Sergeievich Soloviev: an unheeded prophet". Saint Benedictine Center. – reprint of Biffi's writing on Soloviev and the Antichrist
  5. ^ "Antichrist is an ecumenist, Vatican preacher warns". Catholic World News. Trinity Communications. 1 March 2007.
  6. ^ Brother André Marie (10 December 2008). "Cardinal Biffi versus 'A Mysterious Cabal of Maniacs'".
  7. ^ a b Caldwell, Simon (17 November 2010). "Italian cardinal warns gay activists are persecuting Christians". London: Telegraph Media Group.
  8. ^ Whispers in the Loggia blog
  9. ^ Magister, Sandro (16 November 2010). "The Inconvenient Memoirs of Cardinal Biffi". Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso Spa. – English translation of selected excerpts

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Bologna
19 April 1984 – 16 December 2003
Succeeded by