Pontiff sends condolences upon the death of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi

Intrepid witness to the Council

 Intrepid witness to the Council  ING-029
21 July 2023

Pope Francis has expressed spiritual closeness to the family and all those who are mourning the passing of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi, who died on Saturday, 16 July, just months ahead of what would have been his 100th birthday.

In a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the Pontiff and addressed to Bishop Edoardo Aldo Cerrato of Ivrea, the Pope recalls the prelate whom he says was “so loved and appreciated by those he met during his long and fruitful ministry”.

In particular, Pope Francis remembers him as “a great lover of the Gospel who distinguished himself by his closeness to the poor, becoming a prophetic sign of justice and peace in particular times in the history of the Church, as well as a man of dialogue and a point of reference for numerous representatives of Italian public and political life”.

Bishop Bettazzi of Ivrea, in Italy’s northern Piedmont region, was a long-time friend of Pax Christi International and served as President of the peace movement from 1978 to 1985.

His focus on active non-violence, disarmament and human rights fuelled by biblical spirituality was evident in the many books he wrote and in his pledge to renounce wealth and privilege and to embrace a lifestyle of evangelical poverty.

He played a role in promoting dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Italian political scene and even offered himself — together with two other bishops — as hostage to the Red Brigades terrorists in exchange for kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

The Pope’s message continues with words of gratitude to the Lord “for this intrepid witness to the [Second Vatican] Council”, and the invocation of the eternal reward promised to faithful servants.

Finally, he imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon Bishop Bettazzi’s Diocesan community and upon “that of Bologna, which saw him esteemed as presbyter and then as Auxiliary Bishop”.