2012-09-21 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) - Pope Benedict has sent a telegram to Piero Baldelli on the occasion of the death of his brother, Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
The cardinal died yesterday at the age of 77. In the telegram the Pope recalls his “exemplary witness of Christian and priestly life,” and his “dedicated and faithful service to the Holy See, especially in various diplomatic posts, always arousing appreciation for his fervent apostolic zeal and his faithfulness to the Gospel.”
Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli was born August 6, 1935, in Valfabbrica, Italy. Having discerned a vocation to the priesthood, he was ordained in Assisi in 1961.
After his ordination, he entered in to the diplomatic service of the Holy See. During a long career, he held posts in Cuba and Egypt, was a special observer to the Council of Europe, and served as a representative of the Holy See to Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru and France.
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named Baldelli the new Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary. He retired as Penitentiary in January of 2012.
Fortunato Baldelli was created a Cardinal by Pope Benedict on November 20, 2012.
With the death of Cardinal Baldelli, the College of Cardinals now consists of 205 cardinals, of whom 117 are electors, and 88 non-electors.
Read the full text of Pope Benedict’s telegram on the death of Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli:
The news of the holy death of your beloved brother, Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary, inspires in me deep sadness, and a desire to express my feelings of profound condolence to you and to the other members of his family, and to the many who have known the beloved Cardinal and esteemed him for his exemplary witness to the Christian and priestly life. Calling to mind his dedicated and faithful service to the Holy See, especially in various diplomatic posts, always arousing appreciation for his fervent apostolic zeal and his faithfulness to the Gospel, I lift up prayers of suffrage so that, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin and of St. Francis of Assisi, the Lord might bring his elect soul into the eternal kingdom of light and peace. At the same time I cordially impart to you and to your whole family, and to all those who mourn his passing, the special comfort of the Apostolic Benediction.