Posts Tagged ‘Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’

Jesuit Cardinal’s Last Interview Calls for Renewal in the Church

Italian Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria MartiniItalian Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a renowned biblical scholar, former archbishop of Milan and popular writer, gave a final interview shortly before he died on August 31.

During the interview, Cardinal Martini discussed renewal in the church:

“Vatican II restored the Bible to Catholics. … Only someone who receives this Word in his heart can be among those who will help the renewal of the church and will know how to respond to personal questions wisely. The Word of God is simple and seeks as its companion a heart that is listening. … Neither the clergy nor church law can substitute for a person’s inwardness. All the external rules, the laws, the dogmas were given to us in order to clarify the inner voice and to discern spirits.”

Cardinal Martini also described the situation of the church today as “tired” and said the church is “two hundred years behind.” When asked who can help the church, he said:

I advise the pope and the bishops to look for twelve people outside the lines for administrative posts [posti direzionali] — people who are close to the poorest and who are surrounded by young people and are trying out new things. We need that comparison with people who are on fire so that the spirit can spread everywhere.

Cardinal Martini also said that “the church has to recognize its own errors and has to travel a radical journey of change, beginning with the pope and the bishops.”

He ended the interview saying, “The good people around me enable me to experience love. This love is stronger than the feeling of discouragement that I sometimes feel in looking at the church in Europe. Only love conquers weariness. God is Love. I have a question for you: ‘What can you do for the church?’”

Read a translation of the full interview at the Commonweal website.

Cardinal Martini, Jesuit, Biblical Scholar, Former Archbishop of Milan, Dies

Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria MartiniItalian Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a renowned biblical scholar and former archbishop of Milan, died on August 31 at the age of 85 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He made church teachings accessible to the public through his columns in an Italian newspaper and in Sunday afternoon dialogues with young people at the cathedral in Milan.

A writer and biblical scholar known for his warm, pastoral style, Cardinal Martini was long considered a papal candidate in the last conclave.

In a telegram to Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, Pope Benedict praised Cardinal Martini’s generous service to the Gospel and the church and his “intense apostolic work” as a Jesuit, a professor and “authoritative biblicist.”

As archbishop of Milan, the pope said, Cardinal Martini helped open for the church community “the treasures of the sacred Scriptures.”

Born in Orbassano, near Turin, Italy, on February 15, 1927, Carlo Maria Martini entered the Society of Jesus in 1944, was ordained a priest July 13, 1952, and took his final vows as a Jesuit in 1962.

With doctorates in theology and biblical studies, he was a seminary professor in Chieri, Italy; professor and later rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; and rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University. When he was named archbishop of Milan in December 1979, Cardinal Martini was the first Jesuit in 35 years to head an Italian archdiocese.

The cardinal was also a prolific author whose books were best-sellers in Italy and included everything from scholarly biblical exegesis to poetry and prayer guides.

Known as a strong pastor and administrator and as a very careful, thoughtful advocate of wide discussion on delicate and, often, controversial church positions, Cardinal Martini expressed openness to the ordination of married Latin-rite priests, under certain circumstances, and permitting women to serve as deacons.

Following his retirement as archbishop of Milan in 2002, Cardinal Martini moved to Jerusalem and focused on biblical studies, Catholic-Jewish dialogue and praying for peace in the Middle East. He returned to Milan after his health worsened in 2008.

Cardinal Martini’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 206 members, 118 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

For more on Cardinal Martini, see Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield’s account from Italy and the Catholic News Service obituary.

Reaching Out to Today’s Young Catholics

by Ed Schmidt, SJ
In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.
When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.
This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!
The occasion was a special liturgy, the traditio symboli, handing over the Creed to the catechumens who would be baptized a week later at Easter Vigil. Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, archbishop of Milan, had turned this liturgy into a faith testimonial for young people, for whom he had particular concern. Solemn and professorial, Martini had a draw on young adults of Milan, generating energy like a rock star. They listened to him. They cheered for him. They loved him.
Martini took young adults seriously. Early in his time as bishop, he sat on the steps of the cathedral to talk with them and learn their world. When some asked him how to pray with the bible, he scheduled sessions in the cathedral that grew quickly from 200 to 2,000 a month later and, in a couple of years, to 25 churches linked by radio.
He appreciated their struggles. He told a Jesuit retreat group recently that as the archbishop he met a lot of young people during parish visitations. But there were many more he never met, those for whom Church is not a part of life. Martini said, “I wrote to them, and I asked for an answer. And I received thousands of answers of young people not going to church or having left the church, telling their reason. And what impressed me very much was that some said, ‘When I am in the company of my friends, I am joyful. I am the one who proposes things, initiatives, play and so on. But when I come to my room, I am profoundly alone and sorry for my life. I see no sense in my life.’” Church does not offer them the life that they find with their friends. It is more like being alone.
I returned to Milan the following year, hoping to understand better where Martini’s appeal came from. After the liturgy, I approached a small group from a suburban parish and asked them what they found so attractive in him. They tossed the question around for a while in Italian and English until a young woman answered, “He’s authentic.” When Cardinal Martini spoke, they knew that he believed, and they believed with him.
This year the traditio focused on St. Paul. A lector imagines Paul looking around in Corinth, a vibrant, noisy port. People from many lands pass through Corinth, mixing languages and religions, all pushing for a better life. Everyone is in a hurry. Paul wonders: “Every instant of this hurry can be a threat or an opportunity. How can I proclaim the Gospel here? Where do I start?”
We have a lot in common with Paul’s Corinth, another commentator notes. Our cities grow larger, but we lack a sense of place. So many people meet but fail to communicate. “We need certainties,” he says, “but we don’t know where to look for them. How much searching and how much fear do we encounter in our streets?”
Many of us might feel more at home in Corinth, a proto-postmodern metropolis abounding in diversity, than in the rational Athens, where Paul earlier tried to proclaim Christ. We live in Paul’s experience. Young adults today are very much citizens of Corinth.
How do we minister to these young Catholics? We have resources. Even without Cardinal Martini’s scholarship and depth, we have Sacred Scripture as a powerful starting point. We have our own insights into its power. We have our own prayer.
Cardinal Martini is also profoundly experienced in the Spiritual Exercises. He has led a great variety of retreats, always tailored to the group he was with. He never gave the same retreat twice! Each was unique. And each was rich and memorable. We, too, have the Exercises as a particular gift of St. Ignatius that speaks clearly to our world, which finds God in the world as it is and that challenges us to hear the voice that calls to our better selves.
These two resources can have profound impact on young Catholics. They give us a lead into how to revivify young Catholic participation in Church life. Young Catholics tell us they long for spirituality. They long to connect. They want to know themselves, their tradition and the possibilities their tradition offers. All of our ministry, I believe, must work towards this connection. Other things matter a lot, excellent schools for example, but without this connection everything else is diminished.
We also have our credibility. A vast network of graduates brags that they are “Jesuit educated.” They know our name and recognize our mission. And they have friends who are also seeking to be Catholics in modern life and asking how to make this happen.
We also have our Jesuit vocations, our response to the God we meet in Scripture and in the Exercises, and we have our collective living of that vocation. Our first companions changed Catholic Europe with that vocation. We can reshape our world. Young Catholics want that and are ready for it. We need to accept their challenge.
Ed Schmidt, SJ (CHG) is the former Provincial for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus.

njn_milan_duomoby Ed Schmidt, SJ

In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.

When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.

This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!

Read the rest of this entry »

Reaching Out to Today’s Young Catholics

by Ed Schmidt, SJ
In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.
When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.
This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!
The occasion was a special liturgy, the traditio symboli, handing over the Creed to the catechumens who would be baptized a week later at Easter Vigil. Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, archbishop of Milan, had turned this liturgy into a faith testimonial for young people, for whom he had particular concern. Solemn and professorial, Martini had a draw on young adults of Milan, generating energy like a rock star. They listened to him. They cheered for him. They loved him.
Martini took young adults seriously. Early in his time as bishop, he sat on the steps of the cathedral to talk with them and learn their world. When some asked him how to pray with the bible, he scheduled sessions in the cathedral that grew quickly from 200 to 2,000 a month later and, in a couple of years, to 25 churches linked by radio.
He appreciated their struggles. He told a Jesuit retreat group recently that as the archbishop he met a lot of young people during parish visitations. But there were many more he never met, those for whom Church is not a part of life. Martini said, “I wrote to them, and I asked for an answer. And I received thousands of answers of young people not going to church or having left the church, telling their reason. And what impressed me very much was that some said, ‘When I am in the company of my friends, I am joyful. I am the one who proposes things, initiatives, play and so on. But when I come to my room, I am profoundly alone and sorry for my life. I see no sense in my life.’” Church does not offer them the life that they find with their friends. It is more like being alone.
I returned to Milan the following year, hoping to understand better where Martini’s appeal came from. After the liturgy, I approached a small group from a suburban parish and asked them what they found so attractive in him. They tossed the question around for a while in Italian and English until a young woman answered, “He’s authentic.” When Cardinal Martini spoke, they knew that he believed, and they believed with him.
This year the traditio focused on St. Paul. A lector imagines Paul looking around in Corinth, a vibrant, noisy port. People from many lands pass through Corinth, mixing languages and religions, all pushing for a better life. Everyone is in a hurry. Paul wonders: “Every instant of this hurry can be a threat or an opportunity. How can I proclaim the Gospel here? Where do I start?”
We have a lot in common with Paul’s Corinth, another commentator notes. Our cities grow larger, but we lack a sense of place. So many people meet but fail to communicate. “We need certainties,” he says, “but we don’t know where to look for them. How much searching and how much fear do we encounter in our streets?”
Many of us might feel more at home in Corinth, a proto-postmodern metropolis abounding in diversity, than in the rational Athens, where Paul earlier tried to proclaim Christ. We live in Paul’s experience. Young adults today are very much citizens of Corinth.
How do we minister to these young Catholics? We have resources. Even without Cardinal Martini’s scholarship and depth, we have Sacred Scripture as a powerful starting point. We have our own insights into its power. We have our own prayer.
Cardinal Martini is also profoundly experienced in the Spiritual Exercises. He has led a great variety of retreats, always tailored to the group he was with. He never gave the same retreat twice! Each was unique. And each was rich and memorable. We, too, have the Exercises as a particular gift of St. Ignatius that speaks clearly to our world, which finds God in the world as it is and that challenges us to hear the voice that calls to our better selves.
These two resources can have profound impact on young Catholics. They give us a lead into how to revivify young Catholic participation in Church life. Young Catholics tell us they long for spirituality. They long to connect. They want to know themselves, their tradition and the possibilities their tradition offers. All of our ministry, I believe, must work towards this connection. Other things matter a lot, excellent schools for example, but without this connection everything else is diminished.
We also have our credibility. A vast network of graduates brags that they are “Jesuit educated.” They know our name and recognize our mission. And they have friends who are also seeking to be Catholics in modern life and asking how to make this happen.
We also have our Jesuit vocations, our response to the God we meet in Scripture and in the Exercises, and we have our collective living of that vocation. Our first companions changed Catholic Europe with that vocation. We can reshape our world. Young Catholics want that and are ready for it. We need to accept their challenge.
Ed Schmidt, SJ (CHG) is the former Provincial for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus.

njn_milan_duomoby Ed Schmidt, SJ

In 2000, I had some work to do in northern Italy, and my best option was to fly to Milan and travel onward by train. I had never visited Milan, so before heading home I spent two nights with the Jesuits in the center of the city. Close by lies the Duomo, the venerable cathedral with its massive piazza in front. This is the heart of Milan.

When I climbed up from the metro at the Duomo stop, I found the streets barricaded to accommodate a bicycle race. Later, a political rally filled the great space. I walked out after dinner, expecting to find the piazza back to normal. It was about 8:30 at night and it was dark.

This time, the low barricades had been moved to isolate the piazza. Thousands of excited young people milled around beyond the barricades, laughing and talking. A few minutes later the huge bronze doors of the cathedral swung open and light flooded out into the piazza. The police opened the barricades and the crowd rushed through. Quickly 10, 12, perhaps 15,000 young people were running towards the open doors of the church. Quite a sight!

Read the rest of this entry »