Birth. January 20, 1841 (1), Lagos, diocese of Faro, Algarve, Portugal. His parents were Raimundo José Neto, who participated in the Peninsular Wars, and Catarina Lúcia de Almeida.
Education. Studied at the Seminary of Faro. Received the subdiaconate on September 20, 1862; and the diaconate on May 21, 1864
Priesthood. Ordained, April 1, 1865. Coadjutor of the parish church of São Sebastian, Boliqueime, diocese of Faro, 1873-1875. Entered the Order of the Friars Minor Discalced, August 15, 1875; took the name Joseph of the Sacred Hearts; in 1897, his order merged into Order of Friars Minor. He was presented by the king of Portugal for the see of Angola and Congo on July 30, 1879.
Episcopate. Elected bishop of Angola and Congo, September 22, 1879. Consecrated, April 18, 1880, church of São Julião, Lisbon, by Gaetano Aloisi Masella, titular archbishop of Neocesarea, nuncio to Portugal, assisted by Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos, archbishop of Goa, and by José Lino de Oliveira, former bishop of Angola. He was presented by the king of Portugal for the see of Lisbon on July 12, 1883. Promoted to the patriarchal see of Lisbon, August 9, 1883.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of March 24, 1884; received red hat and title of Ss. XII Apostoli in the consistory of June 10, 1886. Cardinal protoprete since July 22, 1902. Participated in the conclave of 1903, which elected Pope Pius X. Resigned pastoral government of patriarchate, November 7, 1907; and retired to a convent of his order in Leiria; in January 1909, he went to live at the convent of Varatojo. Due to the religious persecution, he was expelled from Portugal on October 9, 1910 and went to live in the Franciscan convent of Fuente del Maestre, Badajoz, Spain; and from May 30, 1913, he resided at the convent of Villariño de Ramallosa. On September 4, 1913, in Sigmaringe, he married King Manuel II of Portugal, whom he had baptized, given the first communion and confirmation, to his cousin, Princess August Victoria von Hohenzollern. Participated in the conclave of 1914, which elected Pope Benedict XV.
Death. December 7, 1920, at 1:30 p.m., Villariño, near Sevilla, Spain. On December 9, his body was transferred to Tuy, Galicia, Spain, where it arrived at 5 p.m.; the body was received by Bishop Manuel Lago of Tuy, several canons of the cathedral chapter and the Franciscan community of "Colegio de San Antonio"; the coffin was placed in an elevated catafalque in the middle of the cathedral. On December 10, at 11 a.m., the solemn requiem mass was sung by Archbishop Manuel Vieira de Mattos of Braga; King Alfonso XIII of Spain ordered military honors for the late cardinal; after the mass, the bishop of Tuy delivered the funeral oration. The mortal remains were buried in the crypt of the chapel of San Telmo, tomb of the bishops of Tuy. On April 28, 1928, the body was exhumed and solemnly translated to Lisbon, where it was buried on April 30 in the tomb of the patriarchs in the church of São Vicente de Fora (2).
Bibliography. Betti, Umberto. I cardinali dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori. Presentazione di Alberto Ghinato. Roma : Edizioni Francescane, 1963. (Orizzonti Francescani. Collana di cultura francescana, 5), p. 35; "Cardinali defunti." Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1922. Città del Vaticano : Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1921, p. 67; Chapeau, O.S.B., André and Charles N. Bransom. "Franciscan bishops." Franciscan Studies, XLVII (1987), 342; Rema, Henrique Pinto. "D. Frei José Sebastião Neto, O. F. M." in Os patriarcas de Lisboa. Coordenação D. Carlos Azevedo, Sandra Costa Saldanha, António Pedro Boto de Oliveira. Palavra de apresentação do Cardeal Patriarca, D. José da Cruz Policarpo. Lisboa : Centro Cultural do Patriarcado de Lisboa; Alêtheia Editores, 2009, p. 119-128; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 31, 46, 103 and 346.
Webgraphy Brief biography, in Portuguese, in Os Cardeais Portugueses, under "D. JOSÉ SEBASTIÃO NETO - 12: Cardeal Patriarca de Lisboa", patriarcado de Lisboa.
(1) This is according to Rema, "D. Frei José Sebastião Neto, O. F. M.". Os patriarcas de Lisboa, p. 119. "Cardinali defunti."
Annuario pontificio per l'anno 1922, p. 67; Chapeau, "Franciscan bishops." Franciscan Studies, XLVII (1987), 342; and Ritzler, Hierarchia
Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi, VIII, 103, say that he was born on February 8, 1841. Betti, I cardinali dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori, p. 35, says that
he was born on May 20, 1841.
(2) This is the text of the inscription on his vault, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:
Birth. April 14 (or 18), 1834, Aversa. Second son of of the three children of Giuseppe, grand duke of Acquavella (1812-1866), and his first wife, Giovanna Di Martino, of the barons of Montegiordano (+1836); they were married in Naples on September 6, 1830 in the parish church of S. Maria della Neve in Chiaia. The father was secretary general of the intendency of Basilicata in 1859. He was baptized at home the day after his birth. Received the sacrament of confirmation on June 1, 1846.
Education. First instruction at home. Then, he began his studies at the Royal College of Maddaloni and continued them from the age of ten in the Benedictine studentato of Cava de' Tirreni. In the meantime, since the family had moved to Naples and lived near the cathedral, in the parish of S. Giorgio Maggiore of the pious workers, he was welcomed into the Neapolitan clergy as an external cleric on September 23, 1851 by the pro-vicar general Vincenzo Balzano. While studying philosophy, he received tonsure and minor orders on September 18, 1852. He entered the Benedictines of the abbey of the Ss. Trinità of Cava de 'Tirreni on November 21, 1853; attended the novitiate of S. Germano di Cassino and made his first profession on July 15, 1855. Entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey nullius of SS. Trinità de Cava dei Tirreni, November 21, 1853; while still a student, he was asked to teach Latin, Greek and Italian Literature; religious profession, July 15, 1855; received the subdiaconate, August 15, 1855; and the diaconate, August 17, 1856; he also studied at the University of Naples, where he obtained a doctorate in theology on September 4, 1875; and at College of Protonotaries, Rome, where he earned a doctorate in utroque iuris, both civil and canon law, on April 27, 1876.
Priesthood. Ordained, March 15, 1857, by Cardinal Sisto Riario Sforza, archbishop of Naples. He emitted the solemn profession in Cava on July 9, 1857, in the hands of Abbot Onofrio Granata. Lector of theology in the abbey of Montecassino, 1858; master of novices, 1861-1867. In the abbey of SS. Trinità de Cava dei Tirreni, lector and dean; vicar general, July 15, 1874; he founded the liceo ginnasio, annexed to the abbey.
Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Naples, July 18, 1878. Consecrated, July 21, 1878, church of S. Maria in Campitelli, Rome, by Cardinal Alessandro Franchi, secretary of State, assisted by Tommaso Reggio, bishop of Ventimiglia, and by Ignazio Persico, O.F.M.Cap., titular bishop of Bolina and coadjutor of Aquino, Sora e Pontecorvo. His humanitarian assistance following the earthquake which hit Casamicciola in 1883; and the cholera epidemic which struck Naples in 1884, were highly acclaimed by citizens and authorities of both places.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of March 24, 1884; received red hat and title of S. Clemente, March 27, 1884.
Death. January 3, 1897, of pulmonary complications after being stricken by bronchitis, in Naples. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Naples; and buried in the chapel of the Congregation of S. Maria in Vertecoeli, Pianto Cemetery, Naples. At a later date, his remains were transferred to the metropolitan cathedral of Naples and reburied in the Brancaccio chapel (1).
Webgraphy. Biography by Ugo Dovere, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 90 (2017), Treccani; his engraving, portrait, photograph and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
(1) This is the inscription on his funeral monument, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:
GULIELMI SANFELICE O.S.B.
NOBILI PATRICIORUM GENERE NATI
XIV CALENDAS MAIAS AN. REP. SAL. MDCCCXXXIV
S. R. E. CARD. ARCH. NEAPOL.
QUI HUMANIS LITTERIS ET IURE CANONICO EXCULTUS
DUODOVIGINTI ANNOS HUIC ECCLESIAE PRAEFUIT
MAGIS ANIMI LIBERALITATE QUAM IMPERIO
TERRAEMOTU AENARIAM QUASSANTE AN MDCCCLXXXIII
LUE ASIATICA URBEM INVADENTE AN MDCCCLXXXIV
CUM HUMBERTO ITALORUM REGE IN EXEMPLUM ENITUIT
RELIGIONEM PATRIAMQUE CONCORDES LAETE AUSPICATUS
IN PACE CRISTI REQUIEVIT DECIMO NONAS IANUARIAS AN MDCCCXCVII CLERUS
MULTIS CUM LACRIMIS HEIC CONDIDERE
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