August 31st, 2012
09:03 PM ET

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, prominent Vatican figure, dies at 85

By Livia Borghese, for CNN

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a prominent Vatican figure and one of the more progressive voices in the Catholic Church, died Friday at age 85, the Archdiocese of Milan announced.

Martini suffered from Parkinson's disease and died at his residence in Milan, where he had lived since 2008, when the disease forced him to leave Jerusalem, the archdiocese said.

A public viewing was scheduled for Saturday at Milan Cathedral and the funeral for Monday.

Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, remembering his "beloved brother that served with generosity the Gospels and the Church."

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, called Martini "an expert and passionate in the Holy Scripture."
Martini was born in 1927 and entered the Society of Jesus at age 17.

Pope John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Milan in 1979 and proclaimed him cardinal in 1983. In 2002, at the retirement age of 75, Martini moved to Jerusalem to dedicate himself to Biblical studies, according to his official Vatican biography.

Martini was known for his progressive position on some of the Church's most controversial issues, including priestly celibacy, the use of condoms, euthanasia and homosexuality.

Even after his retirement, Martini raised "subtle though crucial objections" to the Church's opposition to all cases of assisted fertility, distribution of condoms to AIDS victims, and so-called right-to-die cases, Time magazine reported in 2007.

He "politely challenged" the pope's strong condemnation of an Italian government proposal to legalize civil unions for homosexual partners and voiced support for the ordination of women as deacons, Time reported.
Italy's ANSA news agency said Martini was considered one of the more liberal high-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano remembered Martini's "innovative paths in the inter-religious dialogue," as well as the "enlightening and concrete suggestions" he received from the prelate in each of their many encounters, especially on social themes like immigration.

Martini was one of the "papabili," or papal contenders, at the 2005 Conclave that elected the current pope.


Filed under: Catholic Church • Vatican

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. TruthPrevails :-)

    They're all getting old and maybe within the next 50 years (if we haven't killed our species off by then) we'll see the end to the Catholic cult.

    September 1, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  2. Rational Libertarian

    He'll be molesting kids with God now.

    September 1, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  3. Rick1948

    Oh no – not the inventor of the martini.

    September 1, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  4. Fonseka




    September 1, 2012 at 4:38 am |
  5. End Religion

    Magic wands change things too.

    September 1, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  6. GOD

    I've been reading your posts... keeping a list.... and checking it twice. Once and for all, I want to settle this debate. I want to let everyone know that I do exist, as I provide to you definitive proof since I am posting here... it's not like someone could just make this stuff up, like Scientology... or Mormonism. And yes, Heaven has Wi-Fi. Please pass this along to your friends so I don't have to bother making some grand appearance. Thankssomuch!

    September 1, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  7. End Religion


    September 1, 2012 at 3:11 am |
  8. realbuckyball


    September 1, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  9. He stood up and whispered into an empty room

    "politely challenged"

    I bet that was really effective at bringing the Catholic Church to reason and decency. Yes, they are so much better now.

    September 1, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  10. YBP

    I recommend the Brit doc called The Mormon Candidate, available for viewing on the 'Tube.

    September 1, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  11. mark

    WooHoo! One more down!

    September 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • SPW

      Really dude..

      September 1, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • SPW

      Even after his retirement, Martini raised "subtle though crucial objections" to the Church's opposition to all cases of assisted fertility, distribution of condoms to AIDS victims, and so-called right-to-die cases.

      This was a good man

      September 1, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • ChristardMingle.com


      Yes, a good man who believed in fairy tales and supported an unholy church.

      September 1, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      SPW: Any man that remains within this group knowing what they do to young children is not a good man!

      September 1, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  12. HeavenSent

    @you athiests

    I don't see why you think I need to have any proof of my faith in Jesus's truth which is the truth of Jesus. Jesus and the Bible are infallable and do not need facts or evidence. God witnessed this Earth and wrote down the truth of the things which He saw. The tropical storm hit my trailer park this week and did $100,000 in improvements. You can say, evidence, facts, whatever, but God knows he does not deal in truth, just what is God.


    August 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • mark

      Pointing at you – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

      September 1, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • YBP

      yahweh, jesus, judas=allegorical characters (their names have specific meaning)
      near east=no place I would ever set foot, ever, ever, ever
      ancient near east=no place i would ever look to for wisdom of any kind

      September 1, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • ScottCA

      Heaven Sent is a satirical parody right? There are not really people that stupid around are there?

      September 1, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • therealpeace2all


      Yes... all you have to do is look and you will find somewhere buried in the middle of his posting some funny non-sequitur zinger.

      This is a 'fake' HeavenSent. A typically funny one, I might add... IMO.


      September 1, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I think most prefer the new HS. 🙂

      September 1, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  13. ScottCA


    August 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Thanks Scott. I like this one.

      September 1, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  14. ScottCA

    Very witty and completely on the Mark.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Fuking A.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      Love it !


      September 1, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  15. ScottCA

    If only he could have had a thought after dying. I am sure it would have been utter shock at realizing there was no afterlife, and his consciousness just winked out of existence with his brain shutting down.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Bullpen

      And only you, and the rest of your atheist friends, have been privy to this crucial information, eh?

      September 1, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  16. alligator face

    he was clearly brainwashed from an early age and ran with it his entire life....thats how catholics are.....my grandma was a severley brainwashed zealot as well, kneeled for communion and always had to sit in the front row, as soon as she got out it was back to profanity right away, GD this and GD that.......man catholics are a fanatical bunch and always have been......i just wonder what they are going to do with his outfit, especially that weird looking hat or head gear he,d wear.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  17. realbuckyball

    I would like to buy his pointy helmet. If anyone see's it up for sale on eBay, please let me know. I also like red dresses, and ruby slippers.

    August 31, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent


      You make fun of a man of God yet you are an atheist headed for the fires of hell with your father satan who is the devil and no friend of Jesus' truth. My grandson is the first graduate of the family. He passed Drivers Ed. It is so funny how you can spew your hatred for good people and all the while lie about Jesus' truth wihich is true.


      August 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      HeavenSent! Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?

      August 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Heaven Sent It is very hard for someone to be heading to a place that only exists in your imagination.
      There is no evidence of god, or hell, or an afterlife.

      Just as it is insanity to believe in the 6ft tall green monster in my closet without evidence, so is it insanity to believe in god without evidence.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent


      Scotty, you don't even disguise your name now tommie tom. Seek that which lies to you in the talmud and preach satan's truth which is a lie. Every time I try to get up I start to hiccup and pee. Jesus said he would give you reprobate minds.


      August 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • mark


      September 1, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Fake HeavenSent

      LOL ! 😀


      September 1, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  18. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    I take no joy in anyone's death but the death of each religious charlatan is one small step towards rationality.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Carnal athiest, you are a ptuz, cough fool and a liar against God's truth. Don't be so prideful and wear the umbrella of truth Jesus opened for you. My granny panties were once white but now they match the stain in the sink. Abide in Jesus' truth or stay on the wrong side of the gulf until you are blotted out for eternity.


      August 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      As Clint E. implied Obama asked him to tell Romney, go fuck yourself! But I suspect you are not the real HeavenStink and actually agree with me...

      August 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Tommie tom or whatever you are calling yourself tonight, I hope you like worms because you will have a personal worm that feeds off your fat drippings and is never quenched, for eternity. I just swalled something...either a tooth or a roach. Do as the atheists do in this country to ensure the USA goes belly up.


      August 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I am not TomTom but am pleased to be considered her equal.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Sure Scotty, you are not tommie tom joke cough. You are on these articles to steal my handle and lie about Jesus. My cat was licking my ear and choked on ear wax. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus so you can walk the walk of Jesus.


      August 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      HeavenSent, if Jesus actually loved you your panties would still be white.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I can truthfully say that I have never used anyone else's name, but again am happy to be in their company.

      August 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • mark


      September 1, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      God... I love the 'fake' -HeavenSent here.

      Ya' just gotta' look for that one-line zinger buried in the middle of what the real HeavenSent would normally post.

      Keep it up ! LOL... 😀


      September 1, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  19. .o.

    Well if I had the makings for a martini, I would toast his progressive efforts, but it looks like a rye manhattan will have to do.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      I am enjoying a double gin and tonic. 🙂

      August 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions about prayer and atheism are unfounded. I notice that you continue to repeat unfounded ideas and falsehoods. Would you like me to recommend a book on Alzheimer's? It may help with this problem.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • steve

      i would like to know what other living things except humans can be athiest ? and on the same note what other living things pray to a god

      August 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      All creation honors and worships God, testifying to His existence. Only man in his human arrogance is granted the choice to deny God and only the extremely foolish do so. God bless

      September 1, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • truth be trolled


      September 1, 2012 at 10:26 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.