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."