Pope Francis praises late cardinal’s ‘gentleness of spirit’

viewphoto 1589272413 Cardinal Renato Corti (1936-2020). | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Pope Francis has paid tribute to the Italian Cardinal Renato Corti, who died May 12 aged 84.

In a telegram Tuesday, the pope said the cardinal was "animated in all things by a passionate desire to communicate the Gospel of Christ."

Corti preached the spiritual exercises to the Roman Curia in 2005 in the presence of St. John Paul II, who died later that year. 

In 2015, he wrote the meditations for the Good Friday Way of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome. A year later, he received the red hat from Pope Francis.  

The pope addressed his condolence message to Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla of Novara, the diocese in northwest Italy where Corti was bishop from 1991 to 2011.

He said the cardinal had served the Church "with exemplary dedication and gentleness of spirit."

He praised Corti's "intense spiritual and pastoral ministry," which began in his native Archdiocese of Milan. He was ordained priest in 1959 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini, the future St. Paul VI. 

Corti oversaw the formation of seminarians before serving as a vicar general and then auxiliary bishop alongside Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini in Milan. 

He was vice president of the Italian bishops' conference for 10 years, ending in 2005. He was also a member of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples. 

Pope Francis said that in his last post as Bishop of Novara, Corti distinguished himself as a "meek and wise pastor."

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