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Papal condolences on death of Italy’s last conciliar father 

Bishop Luigi Bettazzi

Francesco Pierantoni | Wikimedia Commons, CC 2.0

I.Media - published on 07/19/23

Bishop Luigi Bettazzi participated in the Second Vatican Council and was committed to promoting peace and dialogue.

In a telegram of condolences published by the Holy See on July 18, 2023, Pope Francis pays tribute to Luigi Bettazzi, Bishop Emeritus of Ivrea, who died on July 16 at the age of 99. The prelate was Italy’s last living conciliar father (participant in the Second Vatican Council). 

The message was sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the current Bishop of Ivrea, Bishop Edoardo Aldo Cerrato. In it, the Pope expresses his “spiritual closeness” to the bereaved and to those who mourn the passing of the prelate, who was “so loved and appreciated by those he met during his long and fruitful ministry.”

An intrepid witness to the Council

The Argentine pontiff pays tribute to a “a great lover of the Gospel who distinguished himself for his closeness to the poor, becoming a prophetic sign of justice and peace in particular times in the history of the Church.” He expresses his gratitude for this “intrepid witness to the Council.”

Born in Treviso on November 26, 1923, and ordained a priest in 1946, Bettazzi served as auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Bologna alongside Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro. He participated alongside Lercaro in the Second Vatican Council, including the final sessions of the assembly in 1963, reports Vatican News.

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The inaugural ceremony of the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Basilica

The head of the Catholic Church hails him as “a man of dialogue and a point of reference for many representatives of Italian public and political life.” Highly committed to promoting peace and dialogue, including with non-believers, Bishop Bettazzi was president of the Pax Christi International organization for 17 years.

Praying that God may grant the deceased his “eternal reward,” Pope Francis confers his apostolic blessing on the diocesan community of Ivrea, as well as that of Bologna.

Bishop Bettazzi was also the last living signatory of the “Pact of the Catacombs,” secretly signed by some 40 Council fathers on November 16, 1965, a few days before the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). At the end of a mass in the Domitilla catacombs in the south of Rome, the signatories pledged to renounce privileges and to live “a life of poverty,” whether in terms of housing, food, means of transport or clothing.

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