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Fernando Cento
Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Fernando Cento in Lisbon, 1958
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed12 February 1962
Term ended7 April 1967
PredecessorArcadio Larraona Saralegui
SuccessorGiuseppe Antonio Ferretto
Other post(s)Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri (1965–73)
Ordination23 December 1905
Consecration3 September 1922
by Giovanni Tacci Porcelli
Created cardinal15 December 1958
by Pope John XXIII
RankCardinal-Priest (1959–65)
Cardinal-Bishop (1965–73)
Personal details
Fernando Cento

(1883-08-10)10 August 1883
Died13 January 1973(1973-01-13) (aged 89)
Rome, Italy
Previous post(s)
Alma mater
MottoImpendam et super impendar
Styles of
Fernando Cento
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeVelletri-Segni (suburbicarian see)

Fernando Cento (10 August 1883 – 13 January 1973) was a cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary.

Early life

Fernando Cento was born in Pollenza, Italy. His parents were Evaristo Cento and his second wife, Ermelinda Andreani. He had a half-sister, Rosa, and a brother, Vincenzo.

He was educated at the Seminary of Macerata from 1893 to 1905, where he was taught philosophy and theology, and later at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he studied canon law. He continued his studies at La Sapienza University, Rome where he obtained a doctorate in letters. He received the diaconate on 17 December 1905 in the basilica of the Madonna della Misericordia.


He was ordained on 23 December 1905 in Macerata; he had to obtain a dispensation for being not yet 23. He served as professor of literature at the Seminary of Macerata and of philosophy at the State Institute of Macerata from 1906 to 1916. He demonstrated excellent qualities as a preacher in several Italian dioceses. He was called to military service when Italy entered the First World War in 1915 and was attached to the military hospital of Ancona from 1915 to 1917. He was created Privy chamberlain of His Holiness on 15 November 1917.

Bishop and nuncio

He was appointed Bishop of Acireale by Pope Pius XI on 22 July 1922. He was consecrated on 3 September 1922, by Cardinal Giovanni Tacci Porcelli, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Church, assisted by Domenico Pasi, Bishop of Macerata-Tolentino, and by Placido Ferniani, Bishop of Ruvo e Bitonto.

He was promoted to Titular Archbishop of Seleucia Pieria on 24 June 1926 and was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela four days later. He was next named Apostolic Nuncio to Peru on 26 July 1936. In addition, he was responsible for the affairs of the church in Ecuador, which did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See for nearly forty years. He was named nuncio to Ecuador on 25 July 1937 once the Ecuadorian government and the Holy See established diplomatic relations.

He was appointed nuncio to Belgium and Internuncio to Luxembourg on 9 March 1946.[1]

He became Nuncio to Portugal on 26 October 1953.


Pope John XXIII created him a cardinal of the order of cardinal priests on 15 December 1958 and assigned Sant'Eustachio as his titular church on 12 March 1959. He was appointed as Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary on 12 February 1962. He attended the Second Vatican Council for which he produced a report on the practice of indulgences that was not favorably received by many at the council.[2] He participated in the conclave of 1963 that elected Pope Paul VI. He was named a Cardinal bishop and given the title of the suburbicarian see of Velletri on 23 April 1965. He resigned his post of Major Penitentiary in 1967.

He died on 13 January 1973 in Rome. He was buried in the parish church of S. Antonio, Pollenza, where he had celebrated his first mass.


  1. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. XXXVIII. 1946. p. 164. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  2. ^ O'Malley, John (2008). What Happened at Vatican II. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2.
Catholic Church titles Preceded byArcadio Larraona Saralegui Major Penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary 12 February 1962 – 7 April 1967 Succeeded byGiuseppe Ferretto Preceded byClemente Micara Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni 23 April 1965 – 13 January 1973 Succeeded byIldebrando Antoniutti