Sergio Pignedoli (June 4, 1910—June 15, 1980) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as President of the Secretariat for Non-Christians from 1973 to 1980, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1973.


Born in Reggio Emilia, Sergio Pignedoli studied at the seminary in Reggio Emilia, the Catholic University of Milan (from where he received a doctorate in ancient studies), the Pontifical Lateran University (obtaining a doctorate in theology), and the Pontifical Gregorian University (master's in ecclesiastical history) before being ordained a priest on April 1, 1933. He then served as vice-rector of the seminary in Reggio Emilia until 1934, at which time he became a chaplain at the Catholic University of Milan. During World War II, from 1940 to 1943, Pignedoli served as a navy chaplain, and continued his work as a chaplian in Azione Cattolica and the Italian Boy Scouts. First raised to the rank of Monsignor on September 5, 1949, he was also the Secretary of the Central Committee for the 1950 Holy Year, on which he commented, "This year's great discovery is that in a world apparently skeptical and indifferent, there's a vigorous current of faith"[1].

On December 22, 1950, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Iconium and Nuncio to Bolivia. Pignedoli received his episcopal consecration on February 11, 1951 from Cardinal Adeodato Giovanni Piazza, OCD, with Archbishop Valerio Valeri and Bishop Beniamino Socche servng as co-consecrators, in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. After serving as Nuncio to Bolivia for four years, he was named Nuncio to Venezuela on October 19, 1954. On April 15, 1955, he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Milan, where he remained until September 23, 1960; during his time in Milan, Pignedoli established a deep friendship with Giovanni Battista Montini that continued into the latter's rise to the papacy. From 1960 until 1967, he held the positions of Apostolic Delegate to Western and Central Africa (1960-1964) and to Canada (1964-1967). Pignedoli also attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Pope Paul VI appointed Pignedoli as Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on June 10, 1967. He was created Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio al Velabro by Paul VI in the consistory of March 5, 1973. On the following day, March 6, he became the second President of the Secretariat for Non-Christians (later renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988).

In his capacity of cardinal, Pignedoli was one of the electors in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II respectively. He was considered by many as a papabile in both of those conclaves[2] [3].

Pignedoli died from a pulmonary embolism during a visit to his native Reggio Emilia, at age 70[4].


Preceded by
Paolo Marella
President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
6 March 1973–15 June 1980
Succeeded by
Jean Jadot
Preceded by
Pericle Felici
Cardinal Protodeacon
Succeeded by
Umberto Mozzoni


  1. Time Magazine. End of the Year January 1, 1951
  2. Time Magazine. After Paul: The Leading Contenders August 21, 1978
  3. Time Magazine. A "Foreign" Pope October 30, 1978
  4. Time Magazine. Recent Events June 30, 1980
  5. Time Magazine. How Pope John Paul I Won September 11, 1978
  6. The Star-Ledger. Special Projects May 13, 2001

External links

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.