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Gilberto Agustoni

His Eminence
Gilberto Agustoni
Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura
See Santi Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta
Appointed 26 November 1994
Term ended 5 October 1998
Predecessor Achille Silvestrini
Successor Zenon Grocholewski
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santi Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta
Ordination 20 April 1946
Consecration 6 January 1987
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 26 November 1994
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1922-07-26) 26 July 1922
Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Nationality Swiss
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Motto christus spes gloriae
Coat of arms
Styles of
Gilberto Agustoni
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Caprulae (titular see) 1986–1994

Gilberto Agustoni (born 26 July 1922) is a Swiss prelate, a former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and a Cardinal-Priest of the Roman Catholic Church.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Roman Curia appointments 2
  • Ottaviani Intervention 3
  • References 4

Early life

Agustoni was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and had four brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers were also priests. Their mother came from a village on the shores of Lake Constance. He was educated at the Seminary of Lugano; because of the war, his bishop, Angelo Jelmini, kept his student in Switzerland and had him continue his studies at the University of Fribourg, but later sent him to the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he earned licentiates in theology and law.

Roman Curia appointments

In 1950, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani asked Jelmini for the young Agustoni, whom he had met on several occasions, to work in the Holy Office, while continuing his studies. Agustoni began his service there on 1 July 1950 and eventually became Ottaviani's secretary.

On 18 December 1986 Pope John Paul II appointed Agustoni Titular Archbishop of Caprulae and Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy. On 2 April 1992 he was appointed Pro-Prefect of Apostolic Signatura, becoming Prefect when created Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Urbano e Lorenzo a Prima Porta on 26 November 1994.

He resigned his post on 5 October 1998, becoming Prefect Emeritus of the Signatura. In early 2005, he took the option, open to Cardinal-Deacons after ten years, of becoming a Cardinal-Priest.

Ottaviani Intervention

He was secretary to Ottaviani at the time of the Ottaviani Intervention. Jean Madiran, a critic of the reforms of Vatican II[2] and founder-editor of the French journal Itinéraires, claimed that this letter was fraudulently presented to the elderly and already blind cardinal for his signature by his secretary Agustoni, and that Agustoni resigned shortly afterwards.[3] No confirmation of this story by the cardinal himself was published. Agustoni resigned as Ottaviani's secretary in 1970 to join the Ecclesiastical Magistrature as Prelate Auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota[4] and there is no evidence to suggest his departure was anything more than a routine change of assignment. Furthermore, Madiran admits that he was not in the room to see this alleged deception of Ottaviani.[5]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Achille Silvestrini
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
2 April 1992 – 5 October 1998
Succeeded by
Zenon Grocholewski


  1. ^ Cardinal Agustoni bio
  2. ^ Je suis un témoin à charge contre mon temps
  3. ^ The Ottaviani Intervention – Part I, by Michael Davies
  4. ^ Cardinals of the Catholic Church
  5. ^ The Ottaviani Intervention – Part 1, by Michael Davies
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