Definition of nuncio in US English:



  • (in the Roman Catholic Church) a papal ambassador to a foreign court or government.

    • ‘The canons of the thirteen collegiate churches of his diocese were idle, or quarrelsome, or ignorant, or drunken, or lecherous, or all of the above; in his struggles to reform them, he had to invoke the help of the papal nuncio.’
    • ‘The Vatican has not had diplomatic relations with China since 1951 when the communist government expelled its apostolic nuncio, or papal ambassador.’
    • ‘The pope sent a letter to papal nuncios throughout Europe asking whether they thought he should remain in Rome at all: there was ample precedent for the pope to flee Rome under such circumstances and set up the Holy See elsewhere.’
    • ‘Last year the Roman Catholic parish in Tula, about a hundred miles south of Moscow, sought temporary access to their stolen church building so that the visiting papal nuncio could say Mass there.’
    • ‘They join such luminaries as Cardinal Cushing of Boston, a diocese best known for its clerical child abuse, as well as about 20 other bishops, cardinal legates, papal nuncios, chaplains and priests.’
    • ‘All of the flags at the Vatican, and at the offices of papal nuncios throughout the world, will be a half-mast throughout the interregnum.’
    • ‘The papal nuncio here, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, is expected to consult with priests in the diocese regarding a successor.’
    • ‘When confronted with charges that Teilhard was a pantheistic heretic, however, the papal nuncio in Paris at the time, Angelo Roncalli, pushed the accusations aside.’
    • ‘Teresa had managed to keep her reform alive through the support of influential friends, but in 1577 she lost her strongest protector when the papal nuncio Odmaneto died.’
    • ‘At the same time, however, the archdiocese is required to reveal all confidential files on priests who are accused, including communications with the papal nuncio and the Holy See.’
    • ‘He developed the idea of Papal nuncios to represent the Church abroad.’
    • ‘Working behind the scenes and at the scenes through the papal nuncios was more effective than issuing public statements from the safety of the Vatican.’
    • ‘In a vivid display of interreligious unity, the Muslim cleric shared the stage with the Vatican's papal nuncio, Pietro Sambi, as well as other senior clergy, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.’
    • ‘As a result, the papal nuncio told a group of catechists that ‘The church is in danger because of the insane behavior of this archbishop.’’
    • ‘Roy Keane and Sonia O'Sullivan recently got the freedom of Cork, joining a list of just 47 people which included 20 bishops, cardinal legates, papal nuncios and priests.’
    • ‘The Papal nuncio was granted diplomatic immunity in a High Court action seeking damages for clerical sex abuse, it has emerged.’
    • ‘Though the award is at his discretion, John Paul II will come to his decision aided by the advice of Archbishop Pablo Puente, the Vatican's papal nuncio - or diplomatic envoy - to the United Kingdom, who is based in London.’
    • ‘There is an intriguing sentence in Cassin's memoirs where he says that in the fall of 1948 he was aided on several occasions by the ‘discreet personal encouragements’ of the papal nuncio in Paris.’
    • ‘It appears, although it is not certain, that the letter was sent only to McCarrick and the papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who was, of course, present at the meeting.’
    • ‘The papal nuncio described the Tablet as ‘a living laboratory of the marvelous reality that is the prophetic mission of the laity in the Church.’’
    envoy, emissary, agent, ambassador, representative, commissioner, commissary, delegate, proxy, surrogate, deputy, spokesperson, plenipotentiary, messenger
    View synonyms


Early 16th century: from Italian, from Latin nuntius ‘messenger’.