For he who is without faith, death would be mean the loss of everything, said Pope Benedict during the eulogy for the late Cardinal Luigi Poggi. For the Christian, he continued, hope in resurrection brightens and gives meaning to every moment of our lives.
Cardinal Poggi's funeral Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on Friday afternoon was concelebrated by the Dean of the Cardinal's College, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and 27 other cardinals. The Holy Father gave the eulogy and presided over the Ultima Commendatio and the Valedictio .
Speaking about the sad occasion of the cardinal's death, the Holy Father referred to a passage from the Gospel of John used in the Mass: "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day."
Highlighting these words, the Holy Father noted that this hope in the resurrection mitigates the loss and helps one to live the moment more intensely.
"In front of the mystery of death," he added, "for the man who has no faith, everything would seem to be irremediably lost. It is the word of Christ, then, to brighten the road of life and confer value on every one of its moments."
The Pope also referred to the words of Paul to the Romans that if "we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." The cardinal, he commented, is now living what the Apostle writes about the union between baptism and the risen Christ, uninhibited by the conditions imposed by sin of human nature.
Cardinal Poggi was remembered by the Pope in his earthly life as one who was dedicated in his priestly mission to the Holy See having worked as a delegate to three continents. Among the positions he held in a long life of service were those of Apostolic Nuncio to Peru, Chief of the Holy See's delegation to communist Poland and eventually Nuncio to Italy.
After being elevated to cardinal in 1994, he became the Vatican's archivist and librarian until his retirement in 1998. He died on May 4 at the age of 92.
The Holy Father ended his address by invoking the maternal intercession of Mary for the cardinal and entrusting his soul to "the Father of life, so that he may be introduced into the prepared place for His friends, faithful servants of the Gospel and the Church."