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Ugo Poletti

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Ugo Poletti
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Rome (vicariate)

Ugo Poletti (April 19, 1914—February 25, 1997) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Vicar General of Rome from 1973 to 1991, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1973.


Born in Omegna, Ugo Poletti studied at the seminary in Novara before being ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1938. He then served as vice-rector of the theological seminary and bursar of the general diocesan seminary in Novara until 1946. After a period of pastoral work from 1946 to 1951, Poletti was made Pro-Vicar General of Novara in 1954, and on June 16, 1955 a Protonotary Apostolic.

On July 12, 1958, Poletti was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Novara and Titular Bishop of Medeli. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 14 from Archbishop Vincenzo Gremigni, MSC, with Bishops Mario Longo Dorni and Francesco Brustia serving as co-consecrators. Poletti attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and was later named Archbishop of Spoleto on June 26, 1967. Pope Paul VI made him Titular Archbishop of Aemona and Second Vicegerent of Rome on July 3, 1969, and then Pro-Vicar General of Rome on October 13, 1972. He was also President of Pontifical Mission Aid Societies (1964-1967), a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and was President of Pontifical Works and of the Liturgical Academy.

Poletti was created Cardinal Priest of Ss. Ambrogio e Carlo by Pope Paul in the consistory of March 5, 1973, in advance for his appointment as Vicar General of Rome, and also Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica, on March 26 of that same year. As Vicar General, Poletti administered the diocese in the name of the Pope, who is the Bishop of the diocese of Rome.

One of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, Poletti is believed to have received up to thirty votes during a ballot of the latter conclave.[1] Earlier, in July 1976, the newsletter Bulletin de l'Occident Chrétien had claimed that Poletti himself, among other high-ranking Church officials, was a Freemason, having been initiated on February 17, 1969, with the Masonic code name of "Upo". According to David Yallop, in his 1984 novel In God's Name, it was because of these alleged Masonic connections that Pope John Paul I had planned on transferring Poletti as Archbishop of Florence.[2] From 1985 to 1991, he was President of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Upon his resignation as Cardinal Vicar on January 17, 1991, he was made Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica. In that same year, he allegedly authorized the interment of gangster Enrico De Pedis in the crypt of St. Apollinare’s Church in Rome.[3]

The Cardinal died from a heart attack in Rome,[4] for whose poor he showed deep compassion.[5], at age 82. He is buried in the chapel of Santa Lucia in the Liberian Basilica.


  1. TIME Magazine. A "Foreign" Pope October 30, 1978
  2. Yallop, David. "In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I". Carrol & Graff, 2007.
  3. The Italian Almanac. The Tomb of the Gangster October 5, 1991
  4. Catholic World News. Cardinal Poletti, Former Rome Vicar, Dies at 83 February 26, 1997
  5. TIME Magazine. The September Pope October 9, 1978

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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Raffaele Radossi, OFM Conv
Archbishop of Spoleto
Succeeded by
Giuliano Agresti
Preceded by
Angelo Dell'Acqua
Vicar General of Rome
Succeeded by
Camillo Ruini
Preceded by
Angelo Dell'Acqua
Cardinal Priest of Ss. Ambrogio e Carlo
Succeeded by
Dionigi Tettamanzi
Preceded by
Anastasio Ballestrero
President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Succeeded by
Camillo Ruini
no:Ugo Poletti

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