Upon learning that Cardinal Carlo Caffarra passed away suddenly this morning, Wednesday 6 September, I hastened to pray for his birth into heaven. My prayers for the repose of his soul were accompanied by an act of thanksgiving to God for this great figure of disciple and master that Providence had given to the men and women of our time.
During his life on earth Cardinal Carlo Caffarra had garnered the profound human and Christian esteem of so many, many persons. People were attracted to him and driven by him with his intelligence ever able to shed light on problems in the light coming from God. A man of deep thought, he was also able to open peoples’ loving hearts to him in his pastoral experiences at the helm of several major Italian diocese.
Much indeed does the Church owe to him, especially in the field of moral theology relative to human love, procreation, the family and the defense of life. He was considered a close and trusted collaborator and advisor on such themes by the latest popes. Special and profound was his harmony of views with John Paul II, whom he had always defended, and whose teachings on the themes of conjugal love and the family he had always championed.
Everyone could sense in him a great love for the Church in all his endeavors and choices, including the most recent ones. Love for the Church and love for the Truth.
In the most recent past his public statements and positions had been marked by a tone of greater concern. In one of such statements he had revealed the confession made by Sr. Lucia of Fatima in a letter indicating the family as the next major battlefield between good and evil. Not always heeded, he had given voice to the needs, dangers, and resources of the Church today.
In my work within the realm of the Social Doctrine of the Church I considered the cardinal a point of reference for me regarding the relationship between conjugal love and the social and political engagement of Catholics in the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In particular, I concurred with him in looking upon the encyclical letter Humanae vitae of Paul VI as the original point of encounter between these two dimensions, and thought, as he did, that revisiting the theological-moral framework of Humanae vitae would have had negative consequences also in the field of social and political engagement in the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
At this time when the human and theological themes so close to Cardinal Caffarra’s heart are so strongly threatened we will miss having him by our side, but do trust in his help from heaven above because not all decisions are made down here on earth alone.
+ Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi
Bishop of Trieste and President of the
Observatory Cardinal Van Thuân on the Social Doctrine of the Church