Deceased Academicians

Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli


Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli

Date of birth 05 March 1944

Place Meda, Milan, Italy (Europe)

Nomination 08 April 2003 - 07 April 2013 (Former Academician)

Field Law, Ecclesiastical and Canon Law, Law of the Relations between Church and State, History of Law, Catholic Social Doctrine

Title Professor

Place and date of death Milan, Italy † 16 March 2021

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Commemoration

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Awards: Commendatore al Merito dell'Ordine della Repubblica Italiana; Dama di Gran Croce di Merito dell'Ordine Costantiniano S. Giorgio. Prizes: S. Valentino Prize for the book Giustizia Inquieta, 1991; "Together for Peace" NGO Prize 2001. Academies: Full Professor of Canon and State Ecclesiastical Law, since 1975; Director of the Law Department at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, since 2010; Editor-in-chief of JUS (Law Review of Catholic University of the Sacred Heart); member of the Consejo Asesor of Ius Canonicum; member of UGCI (Union of Italian Catholic Jurists), ADEC (Society of Italian State Ecclesiastical Law Professors) and ASCAI (Society of Italian Canon Jurists); member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, since 2003.

Summary of scientific research
My scientific research has focused on different fields of law. After initial research on Italian penal procedure, I specialized in canon and ecclesiastical law. In canon law my scientific production concerns religious marriage; the law of Catholic Church and her constitutional structure; the relations between Church and States; the presence of the Holy See in the international community; the freedom of the Church and in the Church. In the field of public law, I focused with special reference on religious freedom, schools, religious marriage, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. I specifically analysed the relationship between the State's laïcité and the freedom of the Churches on three main points: the dawn and formation of the lay status of the State; the Italian State during the liberal, fascist and democratic Age; religions and religious freedom in Europe. Concerning religious freedom, I researched canon law and ecclesiastical law under four points of view: doctrine of the Church, International law, violations of praxis, inter-religious dialogue. As regards the history, my research has focused on the freedom of the Catholic Church during the Medieval Age and under French Absolutism. Other studies have focused on the Italian administration of justice, both from the perspective of inquiries into judicial institutions and the Senior Council of Magistrates. During my chairmanship of the International "Parliamentarians for the Jubilee" Intergroup, I paid special attention to the international debt of poor and under-developed countries, to religious freedom and the dignity of the person, and to ethics and globalisation. With regard to the relationship between law and economics, I coordinated an inter-disciplinary research on Lombardy's ecclesiastic museums, analysing positive and negative aspects in order to supply a juridical-operative model applicable to other museums. Membership in the PASS has given me the opportunity to further examine human dignity in the international arena, considering the roles of the Holy See and of NGOs. Main roles: member of the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (Superior Council of the Judiciary), 1981-86; member of the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies), 1987-96; member of the Senato della Repubblica (Senate of the Republic), 1996-2001; Under Secretary of State (i.e. Vice-Minister) for Post and Telecommunications, 1992-93, to the Presidency of the Council of Ministries, delegated for Civil Defence, 1994-95; for Home Affairs, delegated for religious freedom, 1999-2000; for Health, 2000-01; President of the International "Parliamentarians for the Jubilee" Intergroup, 1999-2001; moderator of the Session 5 at the OSCE Cordoba Conference on Anti-Semitism and on Other Forms of Intolerance, 2005; keynote speaker at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Freedom of Religion or Belief, 2009; member of the OSCE-ODIHR Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, since 2013.

Main publications
BooksIntelletto e volontà nel consenso matrimoniale in diritto canonico (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 1974 and 1981); I fondamenti religiosi dell’Assolutismo in Bossuet (Giuffrè, Milan, 1975); Il matrimonio canonico dopo il Concilio (Giuffrè, Milan, 1978); Società civile e società religiosa di fronte al Concordato (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 1980); Giustizia inquieta (Rusconi, Milan, 1990); Il Governo universale della Chiesa ed i diritti della persona, (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 2003); “A Cesare ciò che è di Cesare, a Dio ciò che è di Dio”. Laicità dello Stato e libertà delle Chiese (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 2006); Il matrimonio canonico tra principi astratti e casi pratici (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 2008); I musei ecclesiastici: organizzazione, gestione, marketing (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 2008); Matrimonio ed enti tra libertà religiosa e intervento dello Stato (Vita e Pensiero, Milan, 2012). Encyclopaedia entries: "Matrimonio" in Enciclopedia del Diritto, Giuffrè; "Matrimonio religioso" in Novissimo Digesto Italiano, Appendix (Utet, Turin, 1984); "Equità canonica" and "Istruzione Religiosa" in Enciclopedia Giuridica Italiana (Treccani); "Donna nella Chiesa" in Digesto, IV ed. (Utet, Turin, 1992); “Orio Giacchi” in Diccionario General Derecho Canónico (Editorial Aranzadi, Pamplona, 2012).

Commemoration by Archbishop Roland Minnerath during the 2022 Plenary Session

Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli (1944-2021) was a member of our Academy from 2003 to 2013. She was a jurist and a canonist. She was the first woman to own a chair of Canon Law in Italy. She taught canon law and ecclesiastical law at the prestigious Catholic university of the Sacred Heart of Milan. 

Ombretta Fumagalli was married to Adolfo Carulli and mother of two children. She earned several awards and prizes and was a member of societies of jurists.

Her curriculum shows that she combined scientific research and political commitment. She was a member of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (1981-1986), and was also the first woman of that institution. She served as a Member of Parliament (1987-1996) and Senator (1996-2001) and participated in various governments as Under-Secretary of State. After 2001 she did not seek re-election to the Senate and left politics.

Her research focused on three fields: canonical matrimony, religious freedom and State law with respect to religious organizations, especially in the Medieval period and under the French Absolutism.

Her main publication in Italian might be To Cesar what is Cesar’s (2006). She deepened the Catholic understanding of the mutual autonomy and independence of the temporal and the spiritual order as a unique contribution to the modern concepts of freedom of religion and the rule of law. 

In the international arena, Prof. Fumagalli was President of the International Parlmentarians for the Jubilee Intergroup (1999-2000). She moderated the 5th Session of the OSCE Cordoba Conference in Anti-Semitism and other Forms of Intolerance. Her last appointment in 2013 was as member of the OSCE-ADIHR Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

In our Academy, Prof. Fumagalli delivered eight papers dealing with religious freedom, concordats, State-Church relationship, the Millennium Goals, the family, and the rights of children and minors in international conventions.

Ombretta Fumagalli always defended her positions passionately. She elaborated on the principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church, specifically the anthropology of human freedom and natural law. 

The Promotion of Religious Tolerance and Non-Discrimination as a Fundamental Factor to Ensure Tranquillitas Ordinis (PDF) 2012

Concordats as Instruments for Implementing Freedom of Religion (PDF) 2011

Freedom of Conscience and Religion as Fundamental Human Rights. Their Importance for Interreligious Dialogue (PDF) 2009

Lumière et ombres dans les rapports entre ONG et Organisations internationales (PDF) 2008

International Justice and Poverty. Are the Millennium Goals Enough to Free the Poorest from Poverty? The Millennium Goals and the Role of the Family (PDF) 2007

The Rights of Children and Minors in International Charters (PDF) 2006

Comment: Dal diritto romano al diritto europeo (PDF) 2005