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Cardinals pay tribute to late Cardinal Costantini upon publication of diary

May 31, 2010

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, and Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, paid tribute to the Cardinal Celso Costantini upon the publication of his World War II-era diary. Born in 1876, the late cardinal served as apostolic delegate to China (1922-35) and secretary of the Congregation for Propagation of the Faith (1935-53). He died in 1958.

“During the period narrated in the diary of Cardinal Celso Costantini, we should note the constant, unselfish, and determined efforts of Pope Pius XII, the Roman Curia, and every priest, bishop, priest or religious, for the purposes of charity and certainly not for propaganda,” said Cardinal Bertone in a message sent on behalf of Pope Benedict. “Promoting peace, promoting respect for universal rights, supporting equity, avoiding evil, offering shelter, meeting the needs of others, excluding participation in violent political passions: such are the demands that Cardinal Costantini, a partner and true friend of Pope Pius XII, daily recorded in his memoirs with great accuracy and great detail.”

“After 1939, he had the courage of proposing the convening of an ecumenical council to reform the Church, and finally, he undertook with vision the creation of a united, cohesive community of nations,” added Cardinal Dias at a May 28 press conference. “Born in the same year, [Pope Pius XII and Cardinal Constantini] were ordained the same year, both served in the diplomacy of the Holy See, lived side by side in the Roman Curia, and worked closely together in perfect harmony and synergy. They even died the same year and same month. All this may seem a mere coincidence, but I think it is rather a design of Providence, which saw them so committed to peace, to helping the dispossessed of any faith or ethnic group, to building a new world upon the ruins caused by World War II.”


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