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Pope mourns cardinal who worked for 6 popes

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CPP / Polaris/East News

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/11/21

Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo died this week at 94, after beginning his service in Pius XII's secretariat of state.

Pope Francis paid homage to the “spiritual fruitfulness” of Cardinal Eduardo Martìnez Somalo, his “dear brother,” in a telegram sent to Monsignor Fernando Loza Martínez, a priest and nephew of the Spanish cardinal.

The cardinal died in the Vatican on the morning of August 10 at age 94. Among his many duties in God’s service was administering the Church after the death of John Paul II, until Benedict XVI was elected.

Francis testified to his “sincere admiration” for “the long and rich experience acquired by the late cardinal as an assiduous collaborator of no less than six of my predecessors.” He was called into service under Pope Pius XII.

Francis recalled that Cardinal Martinez had been entrusted during his lifetime with “complex and important functions” — he was sostituto in the Secretariat of State, Camerlengo, and prefect of two dicasteries — and the Holy Father thanked God for the service he rendered to the Church and the Holy See.

Pope Francis bestowed his apostolic blessing on those who mourn the death of the cardinal. He also transmitted a special thought to the Missionary Sisters of Jesus the Priest who lovingly assisted the Cardinal in his last moments.

Martinez was ordained in 1950, shortly before turning 23 years old, after completing studies in Rome. In August 1956, under Pope Pius XII, he became an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, and was made responsible for the Spanish section. Thus began his long years of service in the Curia.

The funeral for Cardinal Martinez Somalo will be held on Friday morning at St. Peter’s Basilica, and will be presided over by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

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