Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The passing of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini yesterday
afternoon at the Aloisianum, a Jesuits institute in Gallarate, Varese province, has echoed all
over the world: The cardinal who was ill for some time with Parkinson's, was 85 years old.
"He generously served the Gospel and the Church", Benedict XVI writes of him in a telegram to Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan. "I remember with gratitude - he adds - the intense and profuse Apostolic work of this zealous, spiritual child of St. Ignatius, an expert teacher, an authoritative biblical scholar, and a beloved Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and a wise and diligent Archbishop of the Ambrosian Archdiocese. The Pope also recalled the "competent and earnest service" rendered by this "great pastor" to the Word of God, " always opening to the ecclesial community the treasures of the Sacred Scriptures, especially through the promotion of Lectio Divina." In his message, the Pope cites, finally, the long illness of Cardinal Martini, " which he lived with a tranquil soul and with confident abandonment to the will of the Lord."
Innumerous messages recall the cardinal, starting with that of President Giorgio Napolitano who described the death of Cardinal Martini as "a painful, severe loss not only for the Church and for the Catholic world but for Italy." "Personally - writes Napolitano - I have unforgettable memories of numerous meetings and conversations I had with him in the seat of the diocese of Milan, as President of the Chamber, and again, as Minister of the Interior, particularly on immigration issues. I always drew enlightened and concrete suggestions from these meetings.''
The news of the death of Cardinal has been reported world over: the New York Times writes, among other things, that "in the last years of John Paul II, Cardinal Martini was frequently mentioned as a candidate to become the next pope, especially by the progressive group within the Church. The Washington Post speaks of the Cardinal as a "rare" expression of liberalism in the Church, while the French AFP writes that "he pressed for openness to modern instances" and the BBC emphasizes John Paul II and Benedict XVI's "great respect" for the Cardinal.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency recalls that the cardinal was "known for building closer relations between Christians and Jews." The Australian, finally, quotes the words of Benedict XVI on the death of "a dear brother" who has generously served the Church.
Cardinal Martini's funeral will be held Monday, September 3 at 16:00 in the Cathedral of Milan.