Cardinal Cacciavillan, former nuncio to the US, has died

The late Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan. The late Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan. | Holy See Press Office

Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, a longtime Vatican diplomat and former apostolic nuncio to the United States, has died at the age of 95.

Cacciavillan was the president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) before his retirement in 2002 after decades of diplomatic service in the Philippines, Kenya, India, and the US.

Pope Francis is expected to attend Cacciavillan’s funeral, which will be held in St. Peter’s Basilica on the morning of March 7.

Born in 1926 in a village outside the northern Italian city of Vicenza, Cacciavillan grew up in a large Italian family with eight brothers and sisters.

Following the end of World War II, he was ordained a priest in 1949 at the age of 22. He was trained at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (1957-1959) in Rome before he was sent to the Philippines to serve as secretary in the apostolic nunciature in Manila.

Cacciavillan went on to work in the nunciatures in Madrid and Lisbon before he returned to the Vatican in 1968 to take up a post as the head of the Information and Documentation Office for the Secretariat of State.

Paul VI made Cacciavillan a titular archbishop and appointed him to be the apostolic pro-nuncio to Kenya in 1976. He spent five years in Kenya until John Paul II named him apostolic pro-nuncio to India in 1981 and the first apostolic pro-nuncio to the Kingdom of Nepal in 1985.

John Paul II appointed Cacciavillan as the apostolic nuncio to the US in 1990. The prelate remained in the Washington, DC post until 1998 when the pope called him back to Rome to manage Vatican finances.

Cacciavillan was mentioned more than 80 times in the McCarrick report prepared by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See in November 2020.

According to the report, as apostolic nuncio to the US, Cacciavillan received reports that Theodore McCarrick had acted inappropriately with seminarians in the 1990s, but considered the allegations to be “possible slander” and did not investigate further.

At the age of 93, Cacciavillan himself acknowledged that he had heard rumors about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct in 1994, but told CNS in 2018 that it “was not a formal complaint, but the expression of a concern.”

John Paul II made Cacciavillan president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See in 1998 and named him a cardinal in 2001.

Cacciavillan took part in the conclave of cardinals that elected Benedict XVI in 2005 following his retirement from curial office after reaching the age of 75.

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