Sodano, Angelo Cardinal (1927 – )
Italian cardinal; papal secretary of state and dean of the college of cardinals.
Imprinted Christmas card, 2010 with a few words and signature in his handwriting.
(02/2016) Angelo Sodano is Dean of the College of Cardinals and Secretary of State emeritus. Ordained 1950. In his early career he taught dogmatic theology and engaged in youth apostolate. In 1959, Sodano joined the Diplomatic Corps. Following graduation from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he served in Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile, as secretary of the nunciature. In 1968, he was called to Rome to serve in the then Council for Public Affairs of the Church. During this period he also was a member of the Holy See’s missions, visiting Romania, Hungary and East Germany. In 1977, Sodano was named apostolic nuncio in Chile where he worked for 10 years. Much of his energy was focused on seeking a peaceful solution to the controversy of the two countries in some zones of austral territory.
In 1988, Pope (Saint) John Paul II appointed Sodano to serve as Secretary of the Council for Public Affairs. He then assumed the title of Secretary for Relationships With States. He devoted particular attention to the Pontifical Commission for Russia, of which he was President.
On December 1, 1990, Sodano was named Pro-Secretary of State. The following year he became Papal Secretary of State. In 2002, Cardinal Sodano was elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals. Three years later, Pope-emeritus Benedikt XVI reconfirmed Sodano as Secretary of State and approved the election by cardinals of the order of bishops that Sodano be named Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Sodano retired from active pastoral administration on 15 September 2006.