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Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re: It was unthinkable that someone fired at the Pope

2016-05-12


Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re was one of the closest collaborators to John Paul II. If there's one thing he will never forget during the long pontificate, it would be the phone call he received by the Secretary of State on the afternoon of May 13, 1981.

CARD. BATTISTA RE GIOVANNI
"They called and said: someone has shot the Pope. For us, it was a deep shock. It was unthinkable that someone fired at the Pope."

Giovanni Battista Re recalled that John Paul II always attributed his healing to the Virgin Mary. In fact, in 1982 he went to the shrine of Fatima to thank her for the intervention.

The cardinal said that what impressed him most about the Polish Pope was not his people skills or leadership.

CARD. BATTISTA RE GIOVANNI
"Living near him, he impressed us with many things. But what always impressed me the most was the intensity with which he prayed. He was a man who prayed a lot. The world respected him for his ideas, his dynamism, what he has done; but above all, he was a man of prayer."

In the last conclave, Cardinal Giovanni was commissioned to ask the new pope his name.

CARD. BATTISTA RE GIOVANNI
"What do you want to be called? And immediately he replied Francis. But it was not like journalists reported, who said someone asked him, 'Which Francis?' No. He immediately specified. Francis in memory of St. Francis of Assisi.”

The Italian Cardinal worked in the Curia since the time of Paul VI and was appointed cardinal in the same consistory as Pope Francis.


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