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Francesco Roberti
CardinalCoA PioM.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Ss. XII Apostoli (titular)

Francesco Roberti (July 7, 1889—July 16, 1977) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in the Roman Curia from 1959 to 1969, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1958.


Early life and ordination

Francesco Roberti was born in Pergola to Terenzio and Giuseppina (née Profili) Roberti. He was baptized on the very day of his birth. After entering the minor seminary of Pesaro in 1899, he received the clerical tonsure on December 26, 1901. Roberti studied at the Pontifical Roman Seminary before being ordained to the priesthood on August 3, 1913.

Pastroal and academic work

From the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare he obtained his doctorates in philosophy, theology, and canon and civil law. After a period of pastoral work in Rome, Tor di Mezzavia d'Albano, and Torretta Massimi, Roberti was Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Minor Seminary in Rome from 1915 to 1916. He was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on March 2, 1917, and taught canon law at his alma mater of the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare from 1918 to 1938.

Roman Curia

Made an advocate of the Roman Rota and the Holy Office in 1927, Roberti became a referendary prelate of the Apostolic Signatura on March 17, 1928, and later a voting prelate of the same on November 27, 1930. On April 24, 1931, he was appointed Undersecretary of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities. Monsignor Roberti was made Auditor of the Roman Rota on June 5, 1936, and served as Dean of the Pontifical Institute of Canon and Civil Law from 1937 to 1943.

He was named Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on March 9, 1946; as such, he was the second-highest official of that dicastery, successively under Cardinals Francesco Marmaggi, Giuseppe Bruno, and Pietro Ciriaci. In 1948, after a Communist newspaper accused him of illegal financial manipulations, Roberti successfully sued for libel, sending the reporter to jail for twenty months[1]. On October 6, 1952, Roberti also assumed the position of legal consultor to the Secretariat of State.


Pope John XXIII created him Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the consistory of December 15, 1958, and then Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on November 14, 1959. As Prefect, Roberti headed the Church's highest judicial authority below the Pope himself. He was appointed Titular Archbishop of Columnata on April 5, 1962, and received his episcopal consecration on the following April 19 from Pope John, with Cardinals Giuseppe Pizzardo and Benedetto Aloisi Masella serving as co-consecrators, in the Lateran Basilica. He resigned as Titular Archbishop shortly afterwards, on April 20 of that same year. From 1962 to 1965 he attended the Second Vatican Council, during the course of which he was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1963 papal conclave that selected Pope Paul VI.

Pope Paul had Roberti ask the prefects of the Roman congregations to suggest possible reforms within the Curia[2].

Before resigning as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on March 24, 1969, Roberti exercised his right as a Cardinal Deacon of ten years' standing to become a Cardinal Priest (receiving the title of Ss. XII Apostoli in the consistory of June 26, 1967).


Roberti died in Rome, at age 88. He is buried in his family's plot in Pergola.


  • Roberti was also known for his work in moral theology[3] [4].
  • His former titular church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin has been vacant since his appointment to his cardinalatial appointment of Santi XII Apostoli.


  1. TIME Magazine. The New Cardinals December 22, 1958
  2. TIME Magazine. Reluctant Revolutionary September 24, 1965
  3. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit May-June 1998
  4. Tradition in Action. Card. Georges Cottier, papal theologian, approves the use of condoms against AIDS February 2005

External links

Preceded by
Gaetano Cicognani
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
Succeeded by
Dino Staffa

no:Francesco Roberti