Francesco Borgongini Duca

Styles of
Francesco Borgongini Duca
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Francesco Borgongini Duca (26 February 1884 4 October 1954) was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as Apostolic Nuncio to Italy from 1929 to 1953, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.


Borgongini Duca was born in Rome, and studied at the Pontifical Roman Seminary, from where he obtained his doctorates in theology and in canon and civil law. He was ordained to the priesthood on 22 December 1906, and then taught theology at both the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum De Propaganda Fide from 1907 to 1909. He was favorably impressed by a young American seminarian named Francis Spellman,[1] whom Duca would later assist in consecrating as auxiliary bishop of Boston in 1932.[2]

Borgongini Duca entered the service of the Roman Curia upon being made an official of the Apostolic Penitentiary in 1909, of which he became Secretary on 24 February 1917. He was raised to the rank of Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on 2 March 1917, and was named Pro-Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs on 28 June 1921, rising to become full Secretary on 14 October 1922 (the Pope was the nominal head of that dicastery). He was made an Domestic Prelate of His Holiness (7 July 1921) and apostolic protonotary (January 11, 1927) before being named to the commission to negotiate the Lateran Treaty.

On 7 June 1929, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Heraclea in Europa by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 29 June from Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, with Archbishop Carlo Cremonesi and Bishop Agostino Zampini, OSA, serving as co-consecrators, in the Hall of Benedictions at St. Peter's Basilica. Duca was named Apostolic Nuncio to Italy, the first after the Lateran Treaty, the next day, on 30 June. In addition to his diplomatic duties, he was also made pontifical administrator of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls on 1 April 1933, and of the Basilica of Our Lady of Loreto on 25 March 1934.

In early 1937, he bestowed the Golden Rose on Queen Elena of Italy, on the occasion of her fortieth wedding anniversary to Victor Emmanuel III.[3] During World War II, Benito Mussolini clashed with Duca over the issue of restricting Jewish converts to Catholicism.[4] In 1952, he wrote The Seventy Weeks of Daniel and the Messianic Date, in which he determined the date of the crucifixion of Jesus as April 7, 30 AD, by using the cryptographic prophecies contained in the Book of Daniel.[5] Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Vallicella in the consistory of January 12, 1953, whereupon he ceased to be Nuncio.

Cardinal Duca died from a heart ailment[5] at his apartment in the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome at age 70, having also received Extreme Unction. He was initially buried in the chapel of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, but his remains were later transferred to the church of San Salvatore in Ossibus in Vatican City.


  1. TIME Magazine. America in Rome February 25, 1946
  2. TIME Magazine. Crosier & Mitre September 19, 1932
  3. TIME Magazine. Laetare Sunday March 15, 1927
  4. Shoah Rose. Papal Nuncios of 1933-1945: Ambassadors of the Vatican in the Shoah
  5. 1 2 TIME Magazine. Milestones October 18, 1954

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
New office
Apostolic Nuncio to Italy
30 June 1929 12 January 1953
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Fietta
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