File photo of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi File photo of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi 

Pope remembers Bishop Bettazzi’s ‘intrepid witness’ to Vatican II

Pope Francis sends a telegram of condolence upon the death of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi, one of the youngest participants in the Second Vatican Council, and a tireless promoter of non-violence, justice, and peace.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis has expressed spiritual closeness to the family and all those who are mourning the passing of Bishop Luigi Bettazzi, who died on Saturday, 16 July, just months ahead of what would have been his 100th birthday.

In a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of the pontiff and addressed to Bishop Edoardo Aldo Cerrato of Ivrea, the Pope recalled the prelate whom he said was “so loved and appreciated by those he met during his long and fruitful ministry.”

In particular, Pope Francis said he remembers him as “a great lover of the Gospel who distinguished himself for his closeness to the poor, becoming a prophetic sign of justice and peace in particular times in the history of the Church, as well as a man of dialogue and a point of reference for numerous representatives of Italian public and political life.”

Pope Francis and Bishop Bettazzi
Pope Francis and Bishop Bettazzi

Bishop Bettazzi of Ivrea, in Italy's northern Piedmont region, was a long-time friend of Pax Christi International and served as President of the peace movement from 1978 to 1985.

His focus on active nonviolence, disarmament and human rights fuelled by biblical spirituality was evident in the many books he wrote and, in his pledge, to renounce wealth and privilege and to embrace a lifestyle of evangelical poverty.

He played a role in promoting dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Italian political scene and even offered himself – together with two other bishops – as hostage to the Red Brigades terrorists in exchange for kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

Intrepid witness to the Council

The Pope’s message continues with words of gratitude to the Lord “for this intrepid witness to the [Second Vatican] Council,” and the invocation of the eternal reward promised to faithful servants.

Finally, he imparts his apostolic blessing upon Bishop Bettazzi’s Diocesan community and upon “that of Bologna, which saw him esteemed as presbyter and then as auxiliary bishop.”

Bishop Bettazzi during the Second Vatican Council
Bishop Bettazzi during the Second Vatican Council

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18 July 2023, 15:00