Giuseppe Cardinal Siri

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Giuseppe Cardinal Siri (20 May 1906 - 2 May 1989) was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Born in the parish of S. Maria Immacolata in Genoa, Italy, his parents were Nicolò and Giulia (née Bellavista) Siri. Siri entered the Minor Seminary of Genoa on 16 October 1917, Genoa's Major Seminary in 1917, and the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) in 1926. He was ordained into the priesthood by Carlo Cardinal Minoretti on 22 September 1928. Siri furthered his studies and pastoral work at Rome from 1928 to Autumn 1929.

Elected titular bishop of Liviade and appointed auxiliary of Genoa on 14 March 1944, he was consecrated in May of the same year by Pietro Cardinal Boetto, S.J. at the cathedral of S. Lorenzo; in 1946, he was promoted to the metropolitan see of Genoa. As Archbishop of Genoa, he was one of the more conservative Catholic prelates of the Second Vatican Council. He was raised, in 1953, to the cardinalate by Pope Pius XII.

Cardinal Siri
Cardinal Siri

It has been claimed that Siri was in fact elected to the papacy twice; in 1958 and 1963 (even announcing in the Papal Conclave that he wished to be known as Pope Gregory XVII) but that on both occasions when faced with threats that Catholics in the Eastern Bloc would face persecution on account of his fiercely anti-Soviet Union opinions in the event of his assuming the papacy, he declined the Papal Tiara, a not unknown occurrence. Given that the conduct of papal conclaves is strictly confidential and that any cardinal revealing the details would face instant excommunication, no documentary evidence has ever substantiated or disproved the widely claimed rumour.

Siri was a leading candidate for the papacy (Papabile) in both the August and October 1978 conclaves that followed the deaths of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I respectively. Media reports suggested that Siri in fact topped the first count of votes in the August conclave but ultimately was beaten by Albino Cardinal Luciani, who became Pope John Paul I. Following Luciani's death in the papacy, Siri was the leading conservative candidate in opposition to Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, the leading liberal candidate. Vaticanologists suggested that the eventual winner, Karol Cardinal Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II, was chosen as a compromise candidate between the two.

Though championed by some Catholics following the widespread rumours that he had actually been elected to the papacy in 1958 and 1963, only to be displaced by Angelo Cardinal Roncalli (Pope John XXIII) and Giovanni Cardinal Montini (Pope Paul VI) respectively, Siri remained in full communion with the Catholic Church and refused to support any sedevacantist Catholic organisation.

He died on 2 May 1989 in the Villa Campostano, Albaro, and is buried at S. Lorenzo metropolitan cathedral in Genoa.

Preceded by:
Pietro Cardinal Boetto
Archbishop of Genova
1946 - 1987
Succeeded by:
Giovanni Cardinal Canestri
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