On Cardinal Carlo Martini

I have been thinking a lot recently about  the late Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan 
and was quite taken by his choice of episcopal motto.

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"Pro veritate adversa diligere " which means " For the sake of truth let us embrace difficulties."

"Why should one love adversities ? With hindsight, having to speak up almost singlehandedly in the higher eschelons of the Church against so much resistance to the implementation of Vatican II, the failure to make collegiality work, and so much else, his choice of motto now seems to have been quite prophetic."

The above was an accompanying extract from a comment by Alfred Agius in The Tablet Letters column, 15.09.12.

I wish someone would make an English translation of some of the late Cardinal's writings. In this Year of Faith it would be a fitting tribute to a great man and a continuing source of inspiration.

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I  find the article below on Cardinal Martini inspiring (taken from here).
"Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s claim to renown during the first half of his life was that he was a world authority on a very arcane science with very few adepts: the critical analysis of the manuscripts of the Bible. 

So why did people sit up and listen whenever he spoke after he became Archbishop of Milan in 1979?

In one of his many books, Le Eta’ Della Vita, (The Ages of Life), Martini speaks of an Indian proverb that says that there are four stages in a person’s life.

In the first we learn, in the second we teach, in the third we reflect, and in the fourth we beg, even without realising it!

Life taught him that there was so much he did not know that he sought better understanding and insight into the human condition. Knowing how to listen, really and deeply, made him capable of speaking with authority to the men and women of his time, believers and unbelievers.

His first love, and his best listening ear, was for the Bible, and he dedicated huge amounts of his time and energy to giving it a more important place in the life of the Church and of all Christians.

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The Duomo in Milan would fill with young people who flocked to discover, with his help, the riches of the Word of God, and his writings and speeches were a constant attempt to make the Word come alive and active, still the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What perhaps made him different from other commentators on the contemporary scene was his positive judgement of our world: he did not see contemporary culture as being closed to truth or to the message of salvation; on the contrary he recognised a deep thirst for meaning.

No longer satisfied with ideologies or consumerism, our world desperately seeks meaning and needs to hear a word of hope, which ultimately has to be transcendent.

Instead of proposing ready-made recipes or a return to the past, he was ready to involve himself in this vital quest, sharing its risks and perils and never shying away from the difficult questions, whether about bioethics, politics or justice in the world.

The motto he chose for his Episcopacy is very revealing: Pro veritate adversa diligere (for the sake of truth let us embrace difficulties).

He was convinced that in each one of us dwell both a believer and an unbeliever, and some years after his appointment as bishop he set up the "Cattedra Dei Non Credenti."(Lecture Series For Non- Believers)

He invited believers and unbelievers to discuss the big questions of life, from the silence of God before human suffering, to life after death, faith and violence, and the prayer of unbelievers: he saw this as an opportunity for dialogue in earnest, but also a true challenge for believers to give a reason for their hope in what sometimes feels like a hopeless world.

One of his most striking books was a long interview with a Jesuit who works with street children in Bucharest: he called it Conversazioni Notturne A Gerusalemme, Sul Rischio Della Fede. ( Nighttime Conversations in Jerusalem:The Risk of Faith)

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There he says: “The night is the time of darkness, of imaginings, when the senses become more sensitive. If, as someone once said, the middle of the night is the beginning of the day, these conversations in Jerusalem, the place where the history of the Christians had its beginning, are also conversations of the ways of faith in uncertain times.”

His dream for the Church was spelled out in his last interview, a Church that takes listening more seriously, firstly to the Word of God and then to the sufferings and joys of humanity.

While proposing new solutions to new problems or to replace older answers that no longer seemed helpful to him, he insisted the Church’s primary mission was spiritual, reminding us that the world is under God’s loving domain.

This great master was listened to because he was seen to be begging for morsels of truth as he humbly journeyed towards its fullness, which he believed to be the God of the Bible.

As the Corriere della Sera said in an editorial, Cardinal Martini was above all an understanding father in a society that has ever fewer fathers, even though it so desperately needs them."

Fr Pace is the Maltese Jesuit Provincial and teaches moral theology at the University of Malta

 Related stories 

Great post here: on why Cardinal Martini embodied the spirit of Vatican II, which also contains this amusing story from Fr Ross Jones, Rector of St Ignatius’ College Riverview, who remembered a visit to Australia by Cardinal Martini 15 years ago, in which he preached on the story of Jesus’ encounter with two disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
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"A somewhat testy feminist theologian in the audience then stood up at question time. She reminded the Cardinal of the Church’s inherent sexism, how women were ignored and put down at every turn. Then she turned to the text. “These two people walking to Emmaus,” she posited, “only one is named—Cleopas, the man. Surely the other one is a woman. It is so typical that the Church would not name the woman and deliberately overlooked her and her ministry. What do you think, Your Eminence?”

‘The ever-urbane and charming Martini looked at her and smiled warmly. “No, I am sorry, but I cannot agree with you. The text tells us that Jesus spoke to the two of them in their confusion, saying, "How foolish you are, and slow to believe." Jesus would never have spoken like that to a woman.” The critic was instantly disarmed."

and another here by Gerald O'Collins S.J. on Cardinal Martini as a "Spiritual Leader for Questioning Catholics" with an interesting comments section

and this extract below again both challenges and inspires me......

"When John Paul I tragically died after barely a month as pope, Martini preached a remarkable homily, taking as his text what the Fourth Gospel has Jesus say about John the Baptist: 

 ‘He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a time in his light’  (John 5:35). 

Martini challenged his audience: ‘Is that all you are willing to do—merely rejoice for a time in the shining lamp that “the smiling Pope” was?’

During the Lent of 1997, Martini was among the cardinals invited to preach at Westminster Cathedral, London, for the centenary of its foundation. In its spiritual and biblical brilliance, his sermon stood out. Those who heard him preach on that occasion knew that the Catholic Church had lost a pope who would have ranked right at the top of papal preachers—with Leo the Great and Gregory the Great."

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 I love this phrase he chose to be placed on his grave, taken from Psalm 119-118:
 'You are a lamp to my feet. Your word is a light to my path.'  

 It is a great one to lead me into this Advent too.

 Now for some music ....Thomas Tallis:  If ye love me

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