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Felice Cavagnis

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Canonist, b. in Bordogna, Diocese of Bergamo , Italy, 13 January, 1841; d. at Rome, 29 December, 1906. After a brilliant course in the Pontifical Roman Seminary he received the doctorate in philosophy, theology, and in civil and canon law. Leo XIII named him professor of public ecclesiastical law in the Roman Seminary in 1880, a position which he retained for fifteen years, during which time he proved himself an eminent canonist, especially in all that related to the constitution of the Church and its relations with civil society. The Roman congregations vied with one another in securing his services. He was appointed Consultor of the Sacred Congregations of Bishops and Regulars, of the Council, and of Studies; Consultor and Secretary of the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs; Canonist of the Sacred Penitentiary; and member of the Commission for the Codification of Canon Law. In all these exalted offices he left profound traces of his acuteness and skill in handling arduous and delicate questions. Austria, Spain, and Portugal honoured him with titles and distinctions, while the sovereign pontiff made him successively canon of several Roman basilicas, rector of the Roman Seminary, Domestic Prelate, and finally, 18 April, 1901, raised him to the cardinalate. He is best known by his important work: "Institutiones Juris Publici Ecclesiastici" (Elements of Public Ecclesiastical Law), a reliable and even classical manual of ecclesiastical government. He was conspicuous for gentleness of manner and the modest retirement which he observed even as cardinal.

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His death was mourned as a public loss to religion and science. The most important of his publications are: "Della natura di società giuridica e pubblica competente alla Chiesa" (Rome, 1880); "Nozioni di diritto pubblico naturale ed ecclesiastico" (Rome, 1886); "La Massoneria quel che e quel che ha fatto, quel che vuole" (Rome, 1905); "Institutiones Iuris Publici Ecclesiastici" (Rome, 1906), in three volumes.

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