Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio
Cardinal Lajolo was born on 3 January 1935 in Novara, Italy. His father was a doctor, and his mother had emigrated to the USA but returned to Italy (while retaining her new US citizenship).
His Eminence studied at the Pontifical Roman Seminary in Rome and obtained degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University and later a higher degree in canon law from the University of Munich. He then studied diplomacy at the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
He was ordained for the diocese of Novara on 29 April 1960 by Bishop Ugo Poletti, then auxiliary bishop of Novara. After his studies in Rome, he entered into the diplomatic service of the Holy See, working in the Secretariat of State, the nunciature in Germany and then in the Roman Curia in the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. He was closely involved in the negotiations that led to the 1984 revision to the concordat between Italy and the Holy See.
Pope John Paul II appointed him secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See on 3 October 1988, raising him to the episcopate. He was consecrated a bishop on 6 January 1989 by Edward Cardinal Cassidy in St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
He was Nuncio to Germany from 1995 to 2003 and was responsible for the signing of a number of diplomatic agreements between the Holy See and various German states during that time.
He was brought back to Rome in 2003, being named the Secretary of the Secretariat of State for the Relations with States (the diplomatic office).
Pope Benedict XVI named him President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President ofthe Governatorato of Vatican City, with effect from 15 September 2006.