May 30, 2023

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Death of Cardinal Sodano, former right-hand man of John Paul II and Benedict XVI

The former secretary of state for the Vatican from 1991 to 2001 died on Friday at the age of 94.

The Vatican announced on Saturday that Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the second-in-command of the Vatican under Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, had died in Rome on Friday at the age of 94.

Pope Francis pays tribute “This esteemed man of the Church, who lived with generosity (…) in the service of the Holy See.The Vatican said in a telegram to his family. His funeral will be held Tuesday in the presence of the Pope at St. Peter’s Cathedral.

John Paul II made him his number two by appointing him Secretary of State after making him Cardinal in 1991. In this capacity, he went on fifty foreign trips with the Pope. Benedict XVI confirmed him in office shortly after his election in 2005, where he remained until September 2006. So Cardinal Sodano was second in the Vatican for almost 15 years.

In 2005, he became dean of the College of Cardinals, so he directed in February 2013, when Benedict XVI resigned. But over the age of 80, the Cardinal lost the quality of the electorate and he could not. To attend the conference in charge of electing the new pope.

Many controversies

Born November 23, 1927, he was the second of six children in a rural family in Piedmont. A graduate in theology and canon law in Rome, he first began a diplomatic career and held many positions, especially in South America.

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In 1977, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Chile by Paul VI, where he advocated a conciliatory approach to the military rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Returning to Rome in 1988, he became the right-hand man of Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casserole and in 1989 was appointed Secretary of State for Relations with the same position as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Cardinal Sodano was at the center of many controversies. It is noteworthy that he is one of the central characters of the book.Sodoma: An Inquiry into the Heart of the VaticanFrederick Martell writes, in which the French journalist denounces his way of life in Rome and his connection with Pinochet when he was ambassador to Chile.

Finally, according to the weekly National Catholic Reporter, Angelo Sodano would have defended the founder of the Legionnaires of Christ, Marshall Masil Decolato, who lived for many years with a woman who had given birth to a child. Marcial Maciel is suspected of sexually abusing children and seminars.