Crescenzio Sepe (born June 2, 1943) is an Italian Cardinal and Archbishop of Naples. He is Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 20 May 2006. He served as a priest in Italy and Brazil. Cardinal Sepe was appointed titular Archbishop of Grado on 2 April 1992. Besides his native Italian, he speaks English, French and Spanish.


Early life and ordination

Born at Carinaro, in the province of Caserta, he was ordained for the Diocese of Aversa on 12 March 1967 and holds degrees in theology and Canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University and in philosophy from the University of Rome La Sapienza. He taught theology at the Lateran and Urban Pontifical Universities and then studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He was posted to Brazil and then recalled to the Secretariat of State, where he was appointed Assessor for General Affairs in 1987. He was also President of the Commission for Vatican Telecommunications.

Career in the Curia

On 3 November 1997 he was named General Secretary of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. He was President of Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem from 8 November 1997 until July 2001. On 9 April 2001 he was named Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He is also the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urban University. Created and proclaimed Cardinal-Deacon of Dio Padre misericordioso by Pope John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 2001. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Styles of
Crescenzio Sepe
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Naples

Curial membership:


A statue of Sepe


He was nominated Archbishop of Naples and his Cardinal-Deaconry was elevated pro hac vice to Cardinal-Priest on 20 May 2006 (it was too early for him to opt for the order of cardinal priests).

Cardinal Sepe's move to Naples from the prefect's post at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples made him the first head of a Roman dicastery in decades to be dispatched to a diocese and, in the eyes of some, the first casualty of Pope Benedict's purge of the church's administration, which is expected to be picking up speed after September 2006.

Cardinal Sepe has been a member of Facebook, where he collected the maximum of 5 000 friends.


Clerical celibacy

Many of his memorable statements came from 1995 to 1997 and involved disagreement with the idea of ending the celibate priesthood.

In 1997 he said a relaxing of the celibacy rule for Latin rite priests would not ease the vocations crisis and would have no theological or pastoral foundation. Linked to his position he also is active in evangelizing efforts.

Priest-sharing program

In 1995 he helped implement a priest-sharing program among dioceses worldwide to help redress the geographical imbalance in vocations.

Abuse scandals

He criticized the media in 1995 for focusing too much on scandals involving priests and ignoring much of the good work done by the vast majority of clergy.

Return of priests

In that year he further said that the Vatican was facilitating the return of hundreds of priests who had left the active ministry and married in civil ceremonies, but who were now divorced or widowed and were “sincerely sorry” for having strayed from their vocation.

Crime in Naples

As Archbishop in 2007 he called on "the youth of Italy's murder capital to unsheathe [their] courage and hand over their knives in church, anonymously and without penalty" [1].

Preceded by
Michele Giordano
Archbishop of Naples
20 May 2006–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Jozef Cardinal Tomko
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Succeeded by
Ivan Cardinal Dias
la:Crescentius Sepeno:Crescenzio Sepept:Crescenzio Sepe

ru:Сепе, Крешенцио fi:Crescenzio Sepe

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