During the funeral Mass of Cardinal Opilio Rossi, Pope John Paul II recalled the years of World War II and said that the late Cardinal learned that hatred and exagerated nationalism only brings “tears and blood.”
Cardinal Rossi, a skilled Vatican diplomat who served under five pontificates died on Monday at age 93.
The Pope underscored that it was “faith which animated the long and fecund priestly ministry of Cardinal Opilio Rossi. How many times did he celebrate the divine Sacrifice, drawing from the Eucharist the light and inner strength needed for his daily choices and for his apostolate!”
Noting that his episcopal motto was “Omnia in Christo” (“All in Christ”), the Pope said: “We can say that, even within the limits of human fragility, this total tension towards Christ was behind the tireless service he gave to the Holy See in the pontifical representations in diverse countries in America and Europe, and again within the milieu of the Roman Curia.”
“During the dramatic moments of World War II,” the Pontiff continued, “Fr. Opilio Rossi, then an auditor at the pontifical representative’s offices in Berlin, gave everything he had, along with the late Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Orsenigo, to assist many suffering brothers and sisters, giving them courage and nourishing in them faith and Christian hope.”
“It was an enriching experience of humanity and solidarity towards the weakest. He then sought, over the course of his life, to transmit this experience to new generations,” he added.
According to the Pope, Cardinal Rossi “was in fact convinced that young people must draw from the history of the 20th century an important lesson: that is, that hatred, disdain for others, violence, and exasperated nationalism bring forth only tears and blood.”
John Paul II then recalled that Cardinal Rossi returned to the Roman Curia where he became the first president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and that he himself called the Cardinal to preside over the Permanent Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
“Wherever he undertook his pastoral and diplomatic ministry,” concluded the Pope, Cardinal Rossi “knew how to become close to everyone.”