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Girolamo Prigione

Girolamo Prigione Catholic bishop

Catholic bishop
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Catholic bishop
Was Religious scholar Theologian Diplomat Priest
From Italy
Type Politics Religion
Gender male
Birth 12 October 1921, Castellazzo Bormida, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy
Death 27 May 2016, Alessandria, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy (aged 94 years)
The details

Girolamo Prigione (12 October 1921 – 27 May 2016) was an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. Prigione was born in Castellazzo Bormida and ordained a priest on 18 May 1944. Prigione was appointed Titular Archbishop of the Lauriacum as well as Apostolic Nuncio of El Salvador and Guatemala on 27 August 1968. He was consecrated a bishop on 24 November 1968. Prigione was appointed Apostolic Delegate to Ghana and Nigeria.

He was then appointed Apostolic Delegate to Mexico on 7 February 1978, during the pontificate of Paul VI. After the 33-day papacy of John Paul I, Prigione played an important role in implementing major changes in the Church's direction under John Paul II, clamping down on liberation theology and reasserting papal primacy. When Archbishop of Chihuahua Adalberto Almeida y Merino denounced electoral fraud in the 1986 gubernatorial elections, he announced the closing of churches in the diocese on July 20. Prigione moved to avert a replay of the Church-State conflict of the late 1920s. During this period the Vatican and the Mexican government had no diplomatic relations, so Prigione functioned as Church "liaison to the regime on an unofficial basis, with a view to winning diplomatic recognition of the Vatican and improving the status of the Church in Mexico." His power came directly from the pope, so his actions were not mediated by the Mexican hierarchy. Prigione is considered to be the key player in the change in attitude and in action of the Mexican state; he was engaged in secret talks with the government the month before the inauguration of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari in December 1988. Diplomatic relations were established with the Vatican, but also major changes in the Mexican Constitution of 1917, which had stringent anticlerical articles. He became Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico when diplomatic relations were restored in 1992. He retired on 2 April 1997.

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