Pontiff Remembers Cardinal Martini as Man of God

Says He Not Only Studied Bible But 'Loved It Intensely'

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI again expressed his esteem for Cardinal Carlo Martini today, sending a message to the funeral Mass for the cardinal, who died Friday at 85.

"'Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path' (Ps 119: 105): the Psalmist's words can sum up the entire existence of this generous and faithful pastor of the Church," the Pope said.

The Holy Father referred to the Jesuit cardinal, who was the archbishop of Milan from 1979 till 2002, as a man of God "who not only studied the Bible, but loved it intensely, he made it the light of his life, so that everything was 'ad maiorem Dei gloriam,' for the greater glory of God."

It was this that enabled him to teach believers and truth-seekers "that the only word worthy of being listened to, accepted and followed is that of God, because it shows all the path of truth and love," the Pontiff continued. "He did so with a great openness of heart, never refusing to encounter and dialogue with anyone, responding concretely to the Apostle’s invitation to 'always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope' (1 Peter 3:15). He was, with a spirit of profound pastoral charity, according to his Episcopal motto, Pro veritate adversa diligere, attentive to all situations, especially the most difficult, lovingly close to those who were lost, the poor, the suffering."

"May the Lord, who guided Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini his whole life, receive this tireless servant of the Gospel and of the Church in the Heavenly Jerusalem," Benedict XVI concluded. "May my blessing comfort all those present and those who mourn his loss."