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The Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Archbishop emeritus of Milan, passed away on August 31. He was 85 years old and had for some time been battling Parkinson's disease. Upon hearing the news Benedict XVI recalled this religious figure, a scholar and pastor, in  a message of condolence sent to Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan.
Having learnt with sadness the news of the death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini after his long illness, endured with a serene spirit and confident in abandonment to the will of the Lord, I would like to express to you and to the entire Diocesan community and those close to the late Cardinal my profound share in their sorrow, thinking warmly of our dear brother who generously served the Gospel and the Church. I recall with gratitude his intense and profuse apostolic work as a spiritual son of St Ignatius, an experienced teacher, an authoritative biblical scholar and beloved rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and then as a diligent and wise Archbishop of the Ambrosian Archdiocese.

I think also of the competent and earnest service he rendered to the word of God, opening ever more the treasures of Sacred Scripture to the Ecclesial community, especially through  his promotion of Lectio Divina. I raise my fervent prayers to the Lord  that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he may welcome his faithful servent and distinguished pastor to  the Heavenly Jerusalem, and from my heart I impart my Apostolic Blessing to those who mourn his death. (Benedict XVI)

In another telegram sent to Cardinal Scola, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, expressed his own personal condolences and those “of the Secretariat of State and the entire Roman Curia” on the death of the Cardinal who “witnessed and taught the primacy of spiritual life and at the same time how to attentively listen to man in his various existential and social conditions”. The President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano spoke of “a painful and grave loss not only for the Church and for the Catholic world but also for Italy, the country of which he was a son and to which he gave  a great part of his commitment and his teaching”, recalling in particular “his knowledge and universal vision for Christianity and  innovative paths of interreligious dialogue” as well as his capacity to “dialogue with Italians as a great maestro of intellectual and moral life”. The Prime Minister of Italy Mario Monti spoke of Cardinal Martini in the pages of  Corriere della sera defining him as “a  point of reference of exceptional charisma and firm authority combined with a deep respect for every interlocutor”, underlining especially his passionate belief in the value of a united Europe.

After: Osservatore Romano, September 3, 2012

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