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Francesco Coccopalmerio

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio was born in the Diocese of Milan, in the town of San Giuliano Milanese, where he was baptized on March 14. His mother Giuseppina was from Sernio, a village in an Alpine valley in the region of Lombardy, while his father Alberto was from Scontrone, a small town in the Abruzzi region.
From 1957 to 1962, he studied at Milan’s Archbishop Seminary in the town of Venegono Inferiore, following the classes of the Faculty of Theology, and obtaining a diploma in Theology. After completing his educational path, the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, ordained him Presbyter on June 28, 1962. He then went to Rome to attend the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Gregorian University, until he completed his doctorate in 1968 under the guidance of Father Bertrams. Afterward, he studied at the School of Law at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, from which he graduated in 1976 under the supervision of Prof. Orio Giacchi. On April 8, 1993, Pope John Paul II ordained him Titular Bishop of Celiana di Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of Milan. After being consecrated at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Milan on May 22, 1993 by Milan’s Archbishop, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, he was assigned several tasks focusing on juridical issues, culture and ecumenicalism. For the Holy Seat, he has been a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. On February 15, 2007 he was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Under his presidency, celebrations were held for the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of the Code of Canon Law (1983-2008) and for the 25 years from when the Code of the Canons of the Oriental Churches came into force (1990-2015). He was a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Since 2008 he has been an advisor for the Union of the Italian Catholic Jurists.
He founded the Quaderni di Diritto Ecclesiale newsmagazine and authored many publications, including articles on the identity of the Church Law, Book II of the Code (particularly focusing on the communion with FrancescoCoccopalmerio.indd 5 26/09/16 10:10
the Church and the Parish), the Communicatio in Sacris, and writings on Criminal Law. Benedict XVI appointed him Cardinal in the Consistory of February 18, 2012, making him the Deacon of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami in Rome. Although Cardinal Coccopalmerio has studied, taught and practiced canon law in Milan in Rome, he has also performed very active roles, such as a presbyter and a confessor in the Parish of St. George in Milan, as well as a spiritual leader for five priests-to-be. In addition, he was Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop, celebrating thousands of Confirmations, particularly in the Diocese of Milan, where he still officiates, helping the Cardinal Archbishop. Cardinal Coccopalmerio feels spiritually linked to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, with whom he collaborated for 22 years, and considers him like a father for all matters related to faith. One of Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s main commitments today is to support the poor, and particularly those families that have no income whatsoever. In this respect, he has also founded a voluntary association, named Lo vuole il cuore, i.e. “The heart craves for it”.

Reasons for assigning the Award

After his long educational growth in the environment of the Church of Milan, which played a pivotal role in the twentieth century and in the Council, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio has always spoken up with the voice of the Church, particularly focusing on the social aspects of the job sector and the poor people, with great competence also thanks to his expertise on criminal law and the “Communicatio in Sacris” canon law.
He is greatly appreciated for his humanity, altruism, and uncommon self-denial. Cardinal Coccopalmerio has been very attentive to the social needs of the community, always supporting many initiatives in the fields of solidarity, voluntarism and culture. In this respect, he has always been committed to concretely helping families in dire straits due to unemployment, and has started and supported projects managed by voluntary associations - including the one that he founded, Lo vuole il Cuore - whose purpose is to aid the social rejects, the outcasts, those who suffer, or – as Pope Francis puts it – the “scraps of society”.


Conferimento Premio Internazionale per la Cultura "Vissi d'Arte – Città di Alcamo" a Mons. Francesco Coccopalmerio, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per i Testi Legislativi.


Consegnano il Premio Francesco Bambina, Presidente dell'Associazione "Amici della Musica"
e Domenico Surdi, Sindaco del Comune di Alcamo.

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