Cardinal Martini’s ‘last testament’ challenges Church after his death
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s final interview, which was published immediately after his death on Friday last week, aged 85, has continued to cause ripples across the ecclesiastical world and beyond because of his critical words about today’s Church.
In comments published posthumously last Saturday in the Milan daily, Corriere della Sera, the cardinal said the Church was “200 years behind the times”, weighed down by “pompous” liturgies and vestments and that it was “fearful instead of courageous”.
It emerged on Tuesday, the day after his funeral in Milan’s cathedral, that Cardinal Martini intended the interview – conducted on 8 August – to be included in his final testament. “The idea was that the text would be part of his testamentary legacy,” said Federica Radice Fossati Confalonieri, a close friend of the cardinal who helped facilitate the final interview. “Fr Damiano [Modena SJ, the late cardinal’s assistant] had already given it to the executor,” she said in an article in Corriere della Sera.
Ms Radice, a mother of three children, said the late cardinal and biblical scholar offered the critical remarks as an act of love towards the Church. She said the interview was actually a “conversation” between Cardinal Martini and Fr Georg Sporschill, an Austrian Jesuit confrère with whom he published a book some years ago. “We thought we would talk for about 10 minutes and we went on for two hours,” she said. “Fr Sporschill in German, the cardinal in Italian, and I – a lay woman – was translating and found myself witnessing a dialogue between two great Jesuits,” she said. Ms Radice last visited the dying cardinal on 23 August when she learnt that Fr Modena had given the interview to the executor of the cardinal’s estate as his testament.
Vatican media, including L’Osservatore Romano, downplayed or ignored the interview. And at the cardinal’s funeral on Monday the current Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, appeared to reject the idea that he left it as a written testament. “Cardinal Martini did not leave us a spiritual testament, in the strict sense of the word,” he said. “His legacy is his entire life and Magisterium.” [More]