Giuseppe Albani

Giuseppe Albani

Italian curial cardinal.
Date of Birth: 13.09.1750
Country: Italy

Biography of Giuseppe Andrea Albani

Giuseppe Andrea Albani was an Italian curial cardinal who played a significant role in the election of several popes, including Leo XII, Pius VIII, and Gregory XVI. He was born on September 13, 1750, in Rome, into a prestigious aristocratic family known as the "black nobility," which had many prominent members in the highest ranks of the Catholic clergy. His great-uncle was Pope Clement XI, and three other relatives were also prominent cardinals.

Giuseppe Andrea was the son of Horatio Albani, Prince of Soriano al Cimino, and Maria Anna Matilda Chigi-Malaspina. Although little is known about his early education, it is known that he received his priestly training in Siena. At the age of twenty, Albani returned to Rome to become a domestic prelate of Pope Clement XIV. During his time in Rome, he gained extensive experience in canon law, which he would later use to great effect.

Albani held important positions in the Roman Curia from a very young age, and by the time he was made a cardinal by Pius VII, he was already a controversial figure in the Church. During the French occupation of Rome, he found refuge in Vienna, where he became a staunch ally of the Holy Roman Empire. This alliance gave him the freedom to influence subsequent papal conclaves, ensuring that no candidate who displeased him was elected.

He became the prefect of the Congregation for the Affairs of Bishops in 1817, and in all three subsequent conclaves, Albani played a crucial role in influencing the majority of cardinals to vote in favor of candidates he supported. Even though his own candidate, Vincenzo Macchi, only received a maximum of twelve votes in the 1830 conclave, Albani's connection with Emperor Franz II proved decisive in the 1823 conclave and was important in excluding Giacomo Giustiniani in 1830. His support, albeit absent during the early ballots, undoubtedly helped Pius VIII become the Roman Pontiff.

Albani's role in these conclaves also included crowning both Pius VIII and Gregory XVI after their election as popes. On November 30, 1830, Cardinal Albani was appointed Librarian of the Holy Roman Church. He passed away in Pesaro four years later on December 3, 1834.