Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, was born on 28 May 1934 in Barletta, Italy. He studied at the Pontifical Minor and Major Seminaries in Rome and holds doctorates in theology and canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.
He was ordained a priest on 16 March 1957. He was vice-rector and spiritual director of the seminary of Bisceglie and professor at the regional seminary of Molfetta.
In 1964, having entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service, he served at the nunciatures in Madagscar and Egypt. Having returned to Rome, in 1970 he worked in the Secretariat of State dealing with topics concerning the Middle East.
On 24 December 1982 he was appointed titular Archbishop of Alba Maritima and was consecrated on 6 January 1983. At the same time, he was appointed apostolic nuncio to the Republic of Korea and served until 1987, when he returned to the Secretariat of State and dealt with matters regarding Africa.
On 11 June 1993 he was nominated the first apostolic nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On 7 March 1998 he was appointed secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, and became secretary of the college of cardinals.
On 3 July 2009 he was appointed Archpriest of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome.
Archpriest emeritus of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, 23 November 2012.
He participated in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 20 November 2010, of the Title of San Paolo alla Regola (Saint Paul alla Regola) Deaconry elevated pro hac vice to presbyteral title (3 May 2021).