Benedict XVI remembers recently deceased Catholic leaders

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Francesco Cossiga, Nicola Cabibbo and Guido de Marco

In a series of telegrams sent out over several days, the Holy Father has remembered three European Catholic leaders who each left a lasting legacy in their respective environments. The deceased include former presidents of Malta and Italy, and an Italian physicist.

Recalling former Maltese president Guido de Marco "with esteem," after his death on Aug. 13, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone wrote, "Mindful of the deceased's clear and constant witness to his faith in Christ in the conduct of political life, the Holy Father prays that many who serve in public office will draw inspiration from his example."

In addition to being president of Malta from 1999-2004, de Marco also served as the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1990.

The Holy Father also remembered the lives of two prominent Italians, who died this week, with telegrams to their loved ones.

Writing personally to the family of the former president of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, he sent his "deepest condolences," remembering "with affection and gratitude this illustrious Catholic statesman, renowned scholar of rights and Christian spirituality" who was generously committed to promoting the common good within his public responsibilities.

The ex-president, who died on Aug. 17, was described in Wednesday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano as a prominent Italian Catholic politician, characterized by great vision and a knack for being pragmatic and realistic.

He was president for seven years after his election in 1985.

The Pope also remembered the Italian physicist Nicola Cabibbo, president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 1993, who died on Aug. 16. In a letter to Cabibbo's wife, written by Cardinal Bertone, the Holy Father recalled the physicist's "generous service" to the Holy See.

For all three men, the Pope expressed his condolences and prayers for the repose of their souls.

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