Pontiff Mourns Cardinal Saldarini

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI affirmed his personal grief at the death of Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, the retired archbishop of Turin who died Monday at 86.

A papal telegram sent to the current archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, noted the cardinal's "long illness lived with confident abandonment in the Lord."

"Thinking with affection of this dear brother who served generously the Gospel and the Church," the Bishop of Rome expressed to Archbishop Nosiglia, to the whole Turin community and to the deceased cardinal's family his "profound participation in your sorrow."

He also recalled with gratitude "the intense pastoral work carried out" by the cardinal "first as a zealous priest and auxiliary bishop of Milan, and then a solicitous and kind archbishop" of Turin. He assured his "fervent prayers to the Lord to receive him in His peace."

Finally, the Holy Father imparted to all who mourn the demise of the cardinal "the consoling apostolic blessing," "with a special thought for those who assisted lovingly in these last years of illness."

Cardinal Saldarini was born in Cantu, Lombardy, on Dec. 11, 1924. He was ordained a priest on May 31, 1947, and a bishop on Dec. 7, 1984. He was created cardinal on June 28, 1991.

With his death, the College of Cardinals now has 199 members, 115 of whom are electors.