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Biographical notes

[Updated: 01.09.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


MARTINI Card. Carlo Maria, S.I.




Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.I., Archbishop emeritus of Milan, (Italy), was born on 15 February 1927 in Turin. He entered the Society of Jesus on 25 September 1944 at the age of 17. He completed his studies in philosophy at the Jesuits House of Studies in Gallarate, in the province of Milan, and theology at the faculty of theology in Chieri, where he was ordained a priest on 13 July 1952 at only 25 years of age.

In 1958, he received his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, with a thesis entitled Il problema storico della Risurrezione negli studi recenti. After some years of teaching at the faculty of Chieri he returned to Rome and earned a doctorate in Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, always summa cum laude, with a thesis on Il problema della recensionalità del codice B alla luce del papiro Bodmer XIV. Dean of the Faculty of Scripture at the Biblical Institute, he became rector in 1969 to 1978 when he was nominated chancellor of the Pontifical Gregorian University, succeeding Father Carrier.

His became active in the scientific field by publishing various books and articles. One must remember that he was the only Catholic member of the ecumenical committee that prepared the new Greek edition of the New Testament. His books on spiritual exercises are very much appreciated for originality and style, adding new light to the traditional Ignatian model. Among these, Gli esercizi ignaziani alla luce di San Giovanni; L’itinerario spirituale dei Dodici nel Vangelo di San Marco; Gli esercizi ignaziani alla luce di San Matteo; Gli esercizi spirituali alla luce di San Luca; Vita di Mosé, vita di Gesù, esistenza pasquale. In 1978 Paul VI invited him to preach the annual retreat in the Vatican, where one of his predecessors in this exceptional ministry was Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II and elected him Archbishop of Milan on 29 December 1979 and personally consecrated him on 6 January 1980.

Relator of the 6th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1983).

He was also president of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences from 1987 until 15 April 1993.

Doctorate honoris causa from the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, 17 January 1989
ad honorem from the Russian Academy of Sciences, 5 October 1999 
Awarded Prince des Asturies 2000 of Social Sciences, Spain, 27 October 2000
Awarded Europeo dell’anno 2000, Frances, December 2000
Doctorate honoris causa in Education Sciences from the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, 11 April 2002
Doctorate honoris causa in Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 11 June 2006

Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, November 2000.

Archbishop emeritus of Milan, 11 July 2002. 
Since his resignation, Cardinal Martini has resided primarily in Jerusalem dedicating himself to biblical studies. 
In 2008, for health reasons (Parkinson's disease), he return to Italy, at the Aloisianum in Gallarate. 

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 2 February 1983, of the Title of S. Cecilia (St. Cecilia).

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini died on 31 August 2012.

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