Benedict XVI on the late Card. Innocenti

From CNA:

Benedict XVI honors late cardinal who stood before firing squad during WWII

Vatican City, Sep 11, 2008 / 11:10 am (CNA).- A cardinal who assisted those sentenced to be deported during World War II died September 6 at the age of 93.  Yesterday, Benedict XVI spoke of Cardinal Anthony Innocenti’s life in a homily at the Vatican Basilica.

The Holy Father began his homily on Wednesday morning by sharing the details of the Italian cardinal’s life.

After his priestly ordination in 1938, Cardinal Innocenti taught at the diocesan seminary.  During World War II, he accompanied his bishop on pastoral visits.  “In that dramatic period he stood out for his selflessness and generosity in helping people and saving those destined for deportation. For this he was arrested and condemned to be shot, but the order was reversed as he stood before of the firing squad,” Benedict XVI recalled.

After the war, the cardinal served the Church in Rome.  He was “appointed as pontifical representative to Paraguay” and was ordained a bishop in 1968.  Later, he was appointed to serve in Rome and assumed “the role of secretary of the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Later, in 1980, he was sent as apostolic nuncio to Spain where he twice welcomed my venerated predecessor John Paul II on pastoral visits."

He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1985.

Cardinal Innocenti held the following positions at the Vatican: prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

Referring to Cardinal Innocenti’s episcopal motto, "Lucem spero fide," Pope Benedict concluded his homily by expressing the desire that "faith and hope may give way to the greatest of all truths, the charity which will never end."


He was the Titular of Santa Maria in Aquiro, one the very ancient diaconal titles in Rome.

I worked for him for a time at the PCED.


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  1. Did he ever celebrate the Extraordinary form regularly?

  2. Not after 1970, he didn’t. But today that is of secondary importance.


  3. Dan says:

    His Eminence, then Father Innocenti, stood in front of a firing squad!

    Father, do you know why and how he was pardoned at the last second?

    Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord.

  4. prof. basto says:

    Requiescat in pace.

  5. Dove says:

    We were at the Papal Audience on Wednesday and while we were waiting they showed the Pope giving the eulogy and the absolution (in Latin), after which the choir sang In Paradisum and Chorus Angelorum. The Pope referred to him as “Pro Antonio Episcopo Cardinali”.
    When we picked up our tickets on Tuesday we were told that the Pope would fly in by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo at 10:15 and would then come down to the audience hall by 10:30 but evidently he came in earlier to attend to the last rites of his Cardinal.

  6. lcb says:

    a firing squad for the faith? Pardoned at the last second?

    Would that I would have such faith at such an hour.

    May perpetual light shine upon him.

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