Cardinal Somalo Remembered at Funeral Mass

Cardinal Dean Giovanni Battista Re Celebrated the Funeral Mass in the Vatican Basilica

Cardinal Somalo
© Vatican Media

The funeral Mass was held Friday, August 13, 2021, for Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, Camerlengo emeritus of the Holy Roman Church, of the Title of the Santissimo Nome di Gesù.

The Cardinal died on August 10 at the age of 94. Pope Francis on August 11 sent a telegram praising the Cardinal’s service to the Church.

Cardinal dean Giovanni Battista Re celebrated the funeral Mass in the Vatican Basilica, describing Cardinal Comalo as someone who lived an entire life spent “at the service of the Pope, the Holy See, and the universal Church”, according to The Osservatore Romano. It was a “laborious and long life”, marked by the “various important tasks” entrusted to him “by the trust of the Popes” and always carried out with a spirit of service, in ” full fidelity to the Pope and generous dedication for the good of the Church and for the salvation of souls ”.

Cardinal Somalo was ordained a priest in 1950, afterward returned to his native diocese of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logroño, and then returned to Rome again, this time to attend courses at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for future diplomats of the Holy See.

In August 1956, he became an official at the Secretariat of State and was made responsible for the Spanish section. For this reason, he was at Pope St. Paul VI’s side in August 1968 during his Apostolic Journey to Colombia for the 39th International Eucharistic Congress.

He spent 14 years in the Vatican, then in April 1970, he was appointed counselor of the Apostolic Delegation to Great Britain.  But just six months later, in October, the Secretariat of State called him back as an assessor and then as a direct collaborator of the then-substitute, Archbishop Giovanni Benelli.

Another five years of service in the Vatican, during which Martinez Somalo always found a way to divide his time between the Vatican offices, where many also appreciated his sense of humor, and his closeness to the people, in particular to those who suffer.

Then, on 12 November 1975, Paul VI appointed him as a titular archbishop and sent him as Apostolic Nuncio to Colombia. He then returned to the Holy See after four years.

The Pope who recalled him in May 1979 was John Paul II, who appointed him as substitute of the Secretariat of State, a position he held until 1988 when the Polish Pope created him a cardinal.

In the same year, he was also appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a post that Cardinal Martínez Somalo left in 1992 to dedicate himself to leading the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, of which he became Prefect Emeritus in 2004.