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A man of God who loved the Word and served the Church

· The Pope recalls Cardinal Martini in a message read at the funeral celebrated in Milan Cathedral ·

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica and Vicar General of His Holiness for Vatican City, represented Benedict xvi at the funeral of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Archbishop emeritus of Milan, celebrated on Monday afternoon, 3 September, in Milan Cathedral.  Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop, presided at the Mass and delivered the Homily. At the beginning of the celebration Cardinal Comastri read a Message in which the Holy Father joins in the prayers for the deceased Cardinal, remembering him as a “tireless servant of the Gospel and of the Church, and a “man of God” who studied and loved Scripture. The following is a translation of the Pope’s Message, which was written in Italian and dated 3 September.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At this moment I would like to express my closeness with prayer and affection to the entire Archdiocese of Milan, to the Society of Jesus, to the relatives of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and to all who loved  and esteemed him and have wished to accompany him on his last journey.

“A lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119[118]:105): the Psalmist’s words can sum up the whole life of this generous and faithful Pastor of the Church. He was a man of God who not only studied Sacred Scripture but loved it intensely. He made it the light of his life so that all things might be  “ ad maiorem Dei gloriam ”, for the greater glory of God. And for this very reason he was able to teach believers and those in search of the truth that the only Word worth listening to, accepting and obeying is God’s, because it points out to everyone the path of truth and love. He was such with great openness of mind, never refusing to meet and converse with anyone, giving a practical response to the Apostle’s invitation:  “always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15). He was such with a profound spirit of pastoral charity, according to his episcopal motto, Pro veritate adversa diligere , attentive to all situations, especially those that were more difficult, lovingly close to those who had strayed, who were in a situation of poverty or suffering.

In a homily during his long ministry at the service of this Ambrosian Archdiocese, he prayed with these words: “We ask you, Lord, that you make us spring-water for others, bread broken for our brothers and sisters, a light for those who walk in the darkness, life for those who are groping in the shadows of death. Lord, may you be the life of the world; Lord, guide us towards your Pasch; together we shall walk toward you, we shall carry your Cross and savour communion with your Resurrection. With you we shall walk towards the heavenly Jerusalem, towards the Father” (Homily, 29 March 1980).

May the Lord who guided Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini throughout his life welcome in the heavenly Jerusalem this tireless servant of the Gospel and of the Church. May the comfort of my Blessing reach all those present and all who are mourning his death.

From Castel Gandolfo, 3 September 2012

Benedictus PP. XVI

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