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Antonio Bacci

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Antonio Cardinal Bacci
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Colonia in Cappadocia (titular)

Antonio Bacci (4 September, 1885—20 January, 1971) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Secretary of Briefs to Princes from 1931 to 1960, when he was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John XXIII. He is perhaps best known for his role in the Ottaviani Intervention.


Bacci was born in Giugnola, near Florence, and ordained to the priesthood on 9 August, 1909. From 1910 to 1922, he served as professor and spiritual director of the seminary in Florence. Bacci then entered the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1922 as an expert in Latin. He was raised to the rank of Honorary Chamberlain of His Holiness on 15 March, 1923, and appointed Secretary of Briefs to Princes in 1931. During his 31-year-long tenure as Secretary, he prepared the Latin text of important Vatican documents during the reigns of Pius XI, Pius XII, and John XXIII.[1] Prior to the 1958 papal conclave, he called for "a saintly Pope" who could "be a bridge between heaven and the earth...between the social classes...[and] a bridge among nations, even those who reject and persecute Christian religion."[1]

John XXIII created him Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Eugenio in the consistory of 28 March, 1960. Cardinal Bacci was later named Titular Archbishop of Colonia in Cappadocia on 5 April, 1962, and received his episcopal consecration on the following April 19 from John XXIII, with Giuseppe Cardinal Pizzardo and Benedetto Cardinal Aloisi Masella serving as co-consecrators. He attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and participated in the 1963 papal conclave that elected Pope Paul VI.

One of the Vatican's leading Latin experts, Bacci strongly opposed the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass.[2] In what was known as the Ottaviani Intervention, 79-year-old Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and 84-year-old Bacci sent to Pope Paul VI, with a short covering letter from themselves, a study by a group of theologians under the direction of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre criticizing the revision of the Roman Rite Mass.[3][4] In a press statement the two cardinals called the revised Mass "a clear attack on dogma...such as to please the most avant-garde Protestants."[5]

Among Bacci's publications was Lexicon Eorum Vocabulorum Quae Difficilius Latine Redduntur, a dictionary of modern terms in Latin; he invented such words as gummis salivaria ("chewing gum"), barbara saltatio ("the twist"), and diurnarius scriptor ("newspaper reporter").[2][2] This was a standard reference for writers of Modern Latin, especially at the Vatican, until it was superseded by the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis.

Bacci died at Vatican City, at age 85. He is buried in his native Giugnola.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Seven New Hats". TIME Magazine. 1960-03-14.,9171,871562-2,00.html. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Milestones". TIME Magazine. 1971-02-01.,9171,909776,00.html. 
  3. The Ottaviani Intervention, 1969, hosted on the Modern History Sourcebook
  4. "Archbishop Lefebvre gathered together a group of 12 theologians who wrote under his direction, A Short Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae often called the Ottaviani Intervention." A Short History of the SSPX
  5. "The New Mass: More Variety for Catholics". TIME Magazine. 1970-01-26.,9171,878755-2,00.html. 

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