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SAMORE, Antonio Cardinal (1905-83)

Price: $95.00


Italian cardinal and important member of the Roman Curia; papal diplomat. Archivist and Librarian of the Church.

MS – Two line handwritten note, (unsigned) dated 1953, the year he was appointed to Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs.  Penned on his biglietto as secretary of the same-named congregation. Accompanied by a second typewritten signed biglietto, this one as cardinal, dated 1970, addressed to a noble lady. Both items sold as one lot.

Began his diplomatic career in the Lithuanian nunciature. Went on to serve as secretary of the nunciature in Switzerland. Served as counselor of the apostolic delegation to the United States (1947-50). Apostolic Nuncio to Colombia. Named Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (1953). Before and after the Second Vatican Council, later as President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, he was charged by Pope Paul VI to stem support of liberation theology and “ecclesial base communities” by the Latin American Episcopal Conference. Created a cardinal in 1967. A protégé of Alfredo Ottaviani, the staunchly conservative Samore advised Pope Paul against granting his approval to artificial birth control. In semi-retirement, Samore served as archivist and librarian of the Church.

From the “Clerical Whispeers” blog: “…on December 22, 1978, Chile and the pope’s own Argentina were quite literally days away from war. Both countries were ruled by military dictators ready to engage in battle over the Beagle islands, which pivoted on navigation rights and sovereignty over several islands in the Fuegian Archipelago, as well as maritime boundaries and the delimitation of the Straits of Magellan.

“Argentina’s military junta was ready to invade one of the islands when Pope John Paul II was called in as a mediator in the conflict. By Jan. 9, 1979, an agreement had been signed in which both nations promised not to use force against each other, pledged to reduce their military presence on the border, and to refrain from adopting measures that might impair harmony.

“The man behind the agreement was an Italian cardinal by the name of Antonio Samoré. Once a rising star in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, he had served in Vatican embassies in Lithuania, Switzerland, Washington and had a term as top papal representative in Colombia from 1950-1953.

“A strong conservative, Samoré also served in the Vatican’s Secretary of State and later as Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (which no longer exists). A critic of Latin America’s Liberation Theology, he’s also considered  one of the men who advised Pope Paul VI against granting approval to artificial birth control.

“However, in the late 1970s he was once again in the center of world affairs, preventing a war and leading a mediation that would conclude peacefully, a year after his death. For his role, Time magazine dubbed him the “Vatican’s Kissinger.”

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