November 23, 2012. (Romereports.com)
One of the most charismatic cardinals, Italian Renato Martino, turned 80 on Friday.
With a strong background in Middle East diplomacy, he served as the Vatican's Permanent Observer to the United Nations. Since 2002, he has been the prefect of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Martino has participated in UN conferences on population and sustainability, as well as women's equality. He also collaborated with Benedict XVI to draft the social-minded encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.”
Over the years, Martino has focused on getting countries to set aside 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product
(GDP) to fight poverty, promoting disarmament around the world and to protect the environment.
Upon turning 80 years old, Martino loses the right to vote during a conclave to choose the next Pope. As a result, the number of papal electors decreased to 114
. However, that number will change once more on Saturday, when Benedict XVI creates six new cardinals.